Harman International Industries SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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

The Harman International Industries is one of the leading companies in its industry. Harman International Industries maintains its prominent position in market by critically analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis a highly 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 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 Harman International Industries to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
Harman International Industries swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The primary purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Harman International Industries strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Harman International Industries SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Harman International Industries – Internal Strategic Factors

As one of the leading firms in its industry, Harman International Industries 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 Harman International Industries are –

  • Strong Free Cash Flow – Harman International Industries 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 Harman International Industries products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • 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 skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Harman International Industries 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.
  • 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.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Harman International Industries 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 Harman International Industries 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.

Weakness of Harman International Industries – Internal Strategic Factors

Weakness are the areas where Harman International Industries 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.

  • 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 Harman International Industries is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Harman International Industries are below the industry average.
  • 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 Harman International Industries
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though Harman International Industries is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.

Opportunities for Harman International Industries – External Strategic Factors

  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Harman International Industries’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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Harman International Industries 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 Harman International Industries in other product categories.
  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Harman International Industries to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Harman International Industries an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Harman International Industries 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 Harman International Industries . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.

Threats Harman International Industries Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
  • 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 Harman International Industries 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.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Harman International Industries profitability.
  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards 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 Harman International Industries

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 Harman International Industries
  • 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 Harman International Industries

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 Harman International Industries 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 Harman International Industries

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)