Zebra Technologies SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used by Zebra Technologies managers to do a situational analysis of the firm . It is a handy technique to analyze the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Zebra Technologies is facing in its current business environment.

The Zebra Technologies is one of the leading firms in its industry. Zebra Technologies 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 organization 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 enables the managers of the Zebra Technologies to develop four types of strategies:

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

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 Zebra Technologies strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Zebra Technologies SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Zebra Technologies – Internal Strategic Factors

As one of the leading companies in its industry, Zebra Technologies 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 Zebra Technologies are –

  • 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.
  • 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 Free Cash Flow – Zebra Technologies has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years Zebra Technologies has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Zebra Technologies is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to Zebra Technologies products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Zebra Technologies 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.

Weakness of Zebra Technologies – Internal Strategic Factors

Weakness are the areas where Zebra Technologies 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.

  • 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 Zebra Technologies
  • Limited success outside core business – Even though Zebra Technologies is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Zebra Technologies 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 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 Zebra Technologies is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • 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. Zebra Technologies has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Zebra Technologies are below the industry average.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Zebra Technologies 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 Zebra Technologies – External Strategic Factors

  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Zebra Technologies to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Zebra Technologies to increase its profitability.
  • Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of Zebra Technologies.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Zebra Technologies to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of Zebra Technologies products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Zebra Technologies . 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 Zebra Technologies. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Zebra Technologies an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.

Threats Zebra Technologies Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
  • 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.
  • New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Zebra Technologies’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 Zebra Technologies   in those markets.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Zebra Technologies profitability.
  • Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of Zebra Technologies

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Zebra Technologies

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 Zebra Technologies
  • 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 Zebra Technologies

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 Zebra Technologies 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 Zebra Technologies

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

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)