Order custom Harvard Business Case Study Analysis & Solution. Starting just $19
International Paper SWOT Analysis / Matrix
Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by International Paper managers to do a situational analysis of the firm . It is a handy technique to understand the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) International Paper is facing in its current business environment.
The International Paper is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. International Paper maintains its prominent position in market by carefully analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis an immensenly 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 helps 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 International Paper 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 core purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect International Paper strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to International Paper SWOT Analysis
Strengths of International Paper – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading firms in its industry, International Paper 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 International Paper are –
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years International Paper has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of International Paper just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
- Strong Free Cash Flow – International Paper has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
- Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – International Paper is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
- 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 International Paper – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where International Paper can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a company can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.
- Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though International Paper 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.
- High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry International Paper has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
- Limited success outside core business – Even though International Paper is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
- 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 International Paper is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 International Paper
Opportunities for International Paper – 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.
- The new technology provides an opportunity to International Paper 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 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 International Paper. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
- The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable International Paper to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
- Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of International Paper.
- Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of International Paper products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
- 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 International Paper to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
- 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 International Paper in other product categories.
Threats International Paper Facing - External Strategic Factors
- 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.
- Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
- New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
- Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
- New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
- Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to International Paper’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
- Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for International Paper in those markets.
- 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.
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for International Paper
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 International Paper
- 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 International Paper
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 International Paper 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 International Paper
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.
Buy Custom Essay and Term Paper on SWOT Analysis / Matrix , Weighted SWOT Analysis of International Paper
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)
Previous 5 SWOT Analysis
- Arconic SWOT Analysis
- Community Health Systems SWOT Analysis
- Centene SWOT Analysis
- AbbVie SWOT Analysis
- US Foods Holding SWOT Analysis