Ryerson Holding SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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

The Ryerson Holding is one of the leading companies in its industry. Ryerson Holding 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 firm 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 Ryerson Holding to develop four types of strategies:

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

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

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

Step by Step Guide to Ryerson Holding SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Ryerson Holding – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading firms in its industry, Ryerson Holding 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 Ryerson Holding are –

  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. Ryerson Holding 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.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years Ryerson Holding has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – Ryerson Holding 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.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Ryerson Holding is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • 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 – Ryerson Holding has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • 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.


Weakness of Ryerson Holding – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where Ryerson Holding 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.

  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry Ryerson Holding has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • 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 Ryerson Holding is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of Ryerson Holding are below the industry average.
  • Limited success outside core business – Even though Ryerson Holding 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.
  • Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though Ryerson Holding 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 Ryerson Holding – External Strategic Factors

  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Ryerson Holding’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.
  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Ryerson Holding . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Ryerson Holding to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • 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 Ryerson Holding. 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 Ryerson Holding to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
  • Opening up of new markets because of government agreement – the adoption of new technology standard and government free trade agreement has provided Ryerson Holding an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of Ryerson Holding products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of Ryerson Holding.

Threats Ryerson Holding Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
  • 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.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the Ryerson Holding profitability.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for Ryerson Holding   in those markets.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards 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.
  • 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.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Ryerson Holding

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 Ryerson Holding
  • 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 Ryerson Holding

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 Ryerson Holding 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 Ryerson Holding

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)