Owens-Illinois SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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

The Owens-Illinois is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. Owens-Illinois maintains its dominant 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 company 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 called SWOT Matrix.

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

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

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a firm can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Owens-Illinois strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Owens-Illinois SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Owens-Illinois – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading organizations in its industry, Owens-Illinois 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 Owens-Illinois are –

  • Strong Free Cash Flow – Owens-Illinois has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Owens-Illinois is investing huge resources in training and development of its employees resulting in a workforce that is not only highly skilled but also motivated to achieve more.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to Owens-Illinois products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years Owens-Illinois has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential 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.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – Owens-Illinois 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.
  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.


Weakness of Owens-Illinois – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where Owens-Illinois 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.

  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Owens-Illinois has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • 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.
  • 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 Owens-Illinois is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Owens-Illinois 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.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though Owens-Illinois is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though Owens-Illinois 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.

Opportunities for Owens-Illinois – External Strategic Factors

  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Owens-Illinois . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • 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 Owens-Illinois to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
  • 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 Owens-Illinois 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 Owens-Illinois an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • 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 Owens-Illinois in other product categories.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Owens-Illinois to increase its profitability.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Owens-Illinois 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.

Threats Owens-Illinois Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Owens-Illinois profitability.
  • 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 .
  • 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.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Owens-Illinois’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.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Owens-Illinois

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 Owens-Illinois
  • 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 Owens-Illinois

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 Owens-Illinois 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 Owens-Illinois

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

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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)