General Electric SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by General Electric managers to do a situational analysis of the firm . It is an important technique to analyze the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) General Electric is facing in its current business environment.

The General Electric is one of the leading firms in its industry. General Electric maintains its dominant position in market by carefully analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis a highly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the firm such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.

The SWOT Analysis framework enables an organization to identify the internal strategic factors such as -strengths and weaknesses, & external strategic factors such as - opportunities and threats. It leads to a 2X2 matrix – also called SWOT Matrix.

The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix helps the managers of the General Electric to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
General Electric swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The main purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect General Electric strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to General Electric SWOT Analysis

Strengths of General Electric – Internal Strategic Factors

As one of the leading organizations in its industry, General Electric has numerous strengths that enable it to thrive in the market place. These strengths not only help it to protect the market share in existing markets but also help in penetrating new markets. Based on Fern Fort University extensive research – some of the strengths of General Electric are –

  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
  • Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to General Electric products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Successful track record of integrating complimentary firms through mergers & acquisition. It has successfully integrated number of technology companies in the past few years to streamline its operations and to build a reliable supply chain.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years General Electric has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of General Electric just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • Strong dealer community – It has built a culture among distributor & dealers where the dealers not only promote company’s products but also invest in training the sales team to explain to the customer how he/she can extract the maximum benefits out of the products.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • High level of customer satisfaction – the company with its dedicated customer relationship management department has able to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction among present customers and good brand equity among the potential customers.

Weakness of General Electric – Internal Strategic Factors

Weakness are the areas where General Electric can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a firm can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.

  • Limited success outside core business – Even though General Electric is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
  • Financial planning is not done properly and efficiently. The current asset ratio and liquid asset ratios suggest that the company can use the cash more efficiently than what it is doing at present.
  • There are gaps in the product range sold by the company. This lack of choice can give a new competitor a foothold in the market.
  • The marketing of the products left a lot to be desired. Even though the product is a success in terms of sale but its positioning and unique selling proposition is not clearly defined which can lead to the attacks in this segment from the competitors.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry General Electric has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, General Electric needs to put more money in technology to integrate the processes across the board. Right now the investment in technologies is not at par with the vision of the company.

Opportunities for General Electric – External Strategic Factors

  • Organization’s core competencies can be a success in similar other products field. A comparative example could be - GE healthcare research helped it in developing better Oil drilling machines.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of General Electric products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided General Electric an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to General Electric to practices differentiated pricing strategy in the new market. It will enable the firm to maintain its loyal customers with great service and lure new customers through other value oriented propositions.
  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the General Electric . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • New customers from online channel – Over the past few years the company has invested vast sum of money into the online platform. This investment has opened new sales channel for General Electric. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of General Electric’s products thus providing an opportunity to the company - either to boost its profitability or pass on the benefits to the customers to gain market share.
  • Stable free cash flow provides opportunities to invest in adjacent product segments. With more cash in bank the company can invest in new technologies as well as in new products segments. This should open a window of opportunity for General Electric in other product categories.

Threats General Electric Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
  • Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of General Electric
  • No regular supply of innovative products – Over the years the company has developed numerous products but those are often response to the development by other players. Secondly the supply of new products is not regular thus leading to high and low swings in the sales number over period of time.
  • The demand of the highly profitable products is seasonal in nature and any unlikely event during the peak season may impact the profitability of the company in short to medium term.
  • Intense competition – Stable profitability has increased the number of players in the industry over last two years which has put downward pressure on not only profitability but also on overall sales.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and General Electric may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.
  • As the company is operating in numerous countries it is exposed to currency fluctuations especially given the volatile political climate in number of markets across the world.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for General Electric

Although the SWOT analysis is widely used as a strategic planning tool, the analysis does have its share of limitations.

  • Certain capabilities or factors of an organization can be both a strength and weakness at the same time. This is one of the major limitations of SWOT analysis . For example changing environmental regulations can be both a threat to company it can also be an opportunity in a sense that it will enable the company to be on a level playing field or at advantage to competitors if it able to develop the products faster than the competitors.
  • SWOT does not show how to achieve a competitive advantage, so it must not be an end in itself.
  • The matrix is only a starting point for a discussion on how proposed strategies could be implemented. It provided an evaluation window but not an implementation plan based on strategic competitiveness of General Electric
  • SWOT is a static assessment - analysis of status quo with few prospective changes. As circumstances, capabilities, threats, and strategies change, the dynamics of a competitive environment may not be revealed in a single matrix.
  • SWOT analysis may lead the firm to overemphasize a single internal or external factor in formulating strategies. There are interrelationships among the key internal and external factors that SWOT does not reveal that may be important in devising strategies.

Weighted SWOT Analysis of General Electric

In light of the above mentioned limitations of the SWOT analysis / matrix, corporate managers decided to provide weightage to each internal strength and weakness of the firm. Organizations also assess the likelihood of events taking place in the coming future and how strong their impact could be on company's performance.

This method is called Weighted SWOT analysis. It is better than doing simplistic SWOT analysis because with Weighted SWOT Analysis General Electric managers can focus on the most critical factors and discount the non-important one. It also solves the long list problem where organizations ends up making a long list but none of the factors deemed too critical.

Limitation of Weighted SWOT analysis of General Electric

This approach also suffers from one major drawback - it focus on individual importance of factor rather than how they are collectively important and impact the business holistically.

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Example of Weighted SWOT Analysis

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SWOT Worksheet & Template

If you like to do your own SWOT analysis or want to make your own Weighted SWOT SWOT matrix then feel free to download Fern Fort University SWOT Analysis Template.

References / Citations & Bibliography

  • M. E. Porter, Competitive Strategy(New York: Free Press, 1980)
  • A. D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962)
  • O. E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies(New York: Free Press, 1975);
  • L. Wrigley, Divisional Autonomy and Diversification (PhD, Harvard Business School, 1970)
  • R. E. White, Generic Business Strategies, Organizational Context and Performance: An Empirical Investigation, Strategic Management Journal7 (1986)