Aleris SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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

The Aleris is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. Aleris 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 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 Aleris to develop four types of strategies:

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

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The main purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a firm can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Aleris strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Aleris SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Aleris – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading firms in its industry, Aleris 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 Aleris 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.
  • Strong Free Cash Flow – Aleris has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – Aleris 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.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years Aleris has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of Aleris just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Aleris is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Aleris 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 Aleris products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.


Weakness of Aleris – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where Aleris 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.

  • Limited success outside core business – Even though Aleris is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
  • 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.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Aleris has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Aleris are below the industry average.
  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Aleris 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 Aleris is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.

Opportunities for Aleris – External Strategic Factors

  • Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of Aleris.
  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Aleris . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • 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 market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Aleris to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • 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 Aleris to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Aleris 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.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Aleris an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • 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 Aleris. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.

Threats Aleris Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Aleris profitability.
  • 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 Aleris’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.
  • New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Aleris

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 Aleris
  • 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 Aleris

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 Aleris 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 Aleris

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)