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Dell SWOT Analysis / Matrix
Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers
SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by Dell managers to do a situational analysis of the organization . It is a handy technique to understand the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Dell is facing in its current business environment.
The Dell is one of the leading companies in its industry. Dell maintains its dominant position in market by critically analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis an immensenly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the organization such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.
The SWOT Analysis framework facilitates 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 known as SWOT Matrix.
The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix enables the managers of the Dell to develop four types of strategies:
- SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
- WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
- ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
- WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective
The primary purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Dell strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to Dell SWOT Analysis
Strengths of Dell – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading firms in its industry, Dell has numerous strengths that help 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 Dell are –
- Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Dell is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
- Strong distribution network – Over the years Dell has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
- 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.
- Superb Performance in New Markets – Dell has built expertise at entering new markets and making success of them. The expansion has helped the organization to build new revenue stream and diversify the economic cycle risk in the markets it operates in.
- Strong Free Cash Flow – Dell has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
- Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
- Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to Dell products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
- Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
Weakness of Dell – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where Dell 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.
- Days inventory is high compare to the competitors – making the company raise more capital to invest in the channel. This can impact the long term growth of Dell
- Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though Dell is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
- Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
- The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Dell are below the industry average.
- 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.
- Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though Dell is spending above the industry average on Research and Development, it has not been able to compete with the leading players in the industry in terms of innovation. It has come across as a mature firm looking forward to bring out products based on tested features in the market.
- Not very good at product demand forecasting leading to higher rate of missed opportunities compare to its competitors. One of the reason why the days inventory is high compare to its competitors is that Dell is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
Opportunities for Dell – External Strategic Factors
- The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Dell to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
- Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Dell an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
- Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of Dell.
- 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.
- Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Dell’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.
- The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Dell to increase its profitability.
- 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 Dell in other product categories.
- New environmental policies – The new opportunities will create a level playing field for all the players in the industry. It represent a great opportunity for Dell to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
Threats Dell Facing - External Strategic Factors
- Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Dell’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
- 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.
- 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.
- Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
- Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
- New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
- Liability laws in different countries are different and Dell may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.
- Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Dell
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 Dell
- 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 Dell
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 Dell 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 Dell
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.
Example of Weighted SWOT Analysis
You can email us to get an example document of Weighted SWOT analysis.
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)