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Farmers Insurance Exchange SWOT Analysis / Matrix
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SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by Farmers Insurance Exchange managers to do a situational analysis of the organization . It is a useful technique to evalauate the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Farmers Insurance Exchange is facing in its current business environment.
The Farmers Insurance Exchange is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. Farmers Insurance Exchange 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 firm 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 Farmers Insurance Exchange 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 utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Farmers Insurance Exchange strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to Farmers Insurance Exchange SWOT Analysis
Strengths of Farmers Insurance Exchange – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading companies in its industry, Farmers Insurance Exchange 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 Farmers Insurance Exchange are –
- 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.
- Strong Free Cash Flow – Farmers Insurance Exchange has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
- Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to Farmers Insurance Exchange products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
- Strong distribution network – Over the years Farmers Insurance Exchange has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
- Superb Performance in New Markets – Farmers Insurance Exchange 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 Brand Portfolio – Over the years Farmers Insurance Exchange has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of Farmers Insurance Exchange just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
- Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
- Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
Weakness of Farmers Insurance Exchange – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where Farmers Insurance Exchange can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where an organization can improve using SWOT analysis and build on its competitive advantage and strategic positioning.
- 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.
- High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Farmers Insurance Exchange has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
- 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 Farmers Insurance Exchange is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
- Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though Farmers Insurance Exchange 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.
- Limited success outside core business – Even though Farmers Insurance Exchange is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
- The company has not being able to tackle the challenges present by the new entrants in the segment and has lost small market share in the niche categories. Farmers Insurance Exchange has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
- 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.
Opportunities for Farmers Insurance Exchange – 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 taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Farmers Insurance Exchange to increase its profitability.
- The new technology provides an opportunity to Farmers Insurance Exchange 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 environmental policies – The new opportunities will create a level playing field for all the players in the industry. It represent a great opportunity for Farmers Insurance Exchange to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
- Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Farmers Insurance Exchange an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
- New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Farmers Insurance Exchange . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
- Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Farmers Insurance Exchange’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 Farmers Insurance Exchange in other product categories.
Threats Farmers Insurance Exchange Facing - External Strategic Factors
- Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
- Liability laws in different countries are different and Farmers Insurance Exchange may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.
- 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.
- Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
- New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for Farmers Insurance Exchange in those markets.
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Farmers Insurance Exchange
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 Farmers Insurance Exchange
- 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 Farmers Insurance Exchange
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 Farmers Insurance Exchange 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 Farmers Insurance Exchange
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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SWOT Worksheet & Template
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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)
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