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StanCorp Financial Group SWOT Analysis / Matrix
Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers
SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by StanCorp Financial Group managers to do a situational analysis of the firm . It is a useful technique to evalauate the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) StanCorp Financial Group is facing in its current business environment.
The StanCorp Financial Group is one of the leading companies in its industry. StanCorp Financial Group maintains its prominent position in market by carefully 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 called SWOT Matrix.
The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix helps the managers of the StanCorp Financial Group 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 core purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect StanCorp Financial Group strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to StanCorp Financial Group SWOT Analysis
Strengths of StanCorp Financial Group – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading organizations in its industry, StanCorp Financial Group 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 StanCorp Financial Group are –
- Superb Performance in New Markets – StanCorp Financial Group 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.
- Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
- Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
- Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. StanCorp Financial Group 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 StanCorp Financial Group has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
- Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to StanCorp Financial Group products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the 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 StanCorp Financial Group – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where StanCorp Financial Group 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.
- 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. StanCorp Financial Group has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
- The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of StanCorp Financial Group are below the industry average.
- Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though StanCorp Financial Group is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
- Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, StanCorp Financial Group 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 StanCorp Financial Group 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 StanCorp Financial Group has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
- 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 StanCorp Financial Group
Opportunities for StanCorp Financial Group – 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 StanCorp Financial Group to capture new customers and increase its market share.
- Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of StanCorp Financial Group.
- 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 StanCorp Financial Group in other product categories.
- New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the StanCorp Financial Group . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
- Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of StanCorp Financial Group products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
- The new technology provides an opportunity to StanCorp Financial Group 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 StanCorp Financial Group’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.
Threats StanCorp Financial Group Facing - External Strategic Factors
- Rising raw material can pose a threat to the StanCorp Financial Group profitability.
- Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
- Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
- 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.
- Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of StanCorp Financial Group
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for StanCorp Financial Group
- 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 StanCorp Financial Group
Weighted SWOT Analysis of StanCorp Financial Group
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 StanCorp Financial Group 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 StanCorp Financial Group
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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)
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