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Ameren SWOT Analysis / Matrix
Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by Ameren managers to do a situational analysis of the company . It is a useful technique to understand the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Ameren is facing in its current business environment.
The Ameren is one of the leading firms in its industry. Ameren maintains its prominent 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 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 known as SWOT Matrix.
The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix helps the managers of the Ameren 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 central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Ameren strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to Ameren SWOT Analysis
Strengths of Ameren – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading firms in its industry, Ameren 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 Ameren are –
- Strong distribution network – Over the years Ameren has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
- Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years Ameren has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of Ameren 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.
- Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Ameren 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.
- Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Ameren is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
- 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 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 – Ameren 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.
Weakness of Ameren – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where Ameren 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.
- Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Ameren 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.
- 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 Ameren
- Limited success outside core business – Even though Ameren 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. Ameren has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
- 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 Ameren is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
- High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Ameren has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
Opportunities for Ameren – External Strategic Factors
- The new technology provides an opportunity to Ameren 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.
- Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Ameren’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.
- Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Ameren an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
- 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 trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Ameren . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
- 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 Ameren. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
- 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 Ameren to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
- Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Ameren to capture new customers and increase its market share.
Threats Ameren Facing - External Strategic Factors
- 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.
- 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.
- Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Ameren’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
- Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
- 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.
- 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.
- New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
- The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Ameren
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 Ameren
- 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 Ameren
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 Ameren 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 Ameren
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)
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