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GNC Holdings SWOT Analysis / Matrix
Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers
SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by GNC Holdings managers to do a situational analysis of the company . It is an important technique to understand the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) GNC Holdings is facing in its current business environment.
The GNC Holdings is one of the leading organizatations in its industry. GNC Holdings 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 known as SWOT Matrix.
The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix helps the managers of the GNC Holdings 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 an organization can utilize to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect GNC Holdings strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to GNC Holdings SWOT Analysis
Strengths of GNC Holdings – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading firms in its industry, GNC Holdings 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 GNC Holdings are –
- Strong Free Cash Flow – GNC Holdings has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
- Strong distribution network – Over the years GNC Holdings has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
- Superb Performance in New Markets – GNC Holdings 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.
- Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to GNC Holdings 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. GNC Holdings 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 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.
- Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
- Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
Weakness of GNC Holdings – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where GNC Holdings 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 GNC Holdings is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
- Financial planning is not done properly and efficiently. The current asset ratio and liquid asset ratios suggest that the company can use the cash more efficiently than what it is doing at present.
- 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 GNC Holdings is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
- Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though GNC Holdings 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.
- 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 GNC Holdings
- Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though GNC Holdings is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work 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. GNC Holdings has to build internal feedback mechanism directly from sales team on ground to counter these challenges.
Opportunities for GNC Holdings – External Strategic Factors
- New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the GNC Holdings . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
- Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for GNC Holdings 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 GNC Holdings.
- The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as GNC Holdings to increase its profitability.
- The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable GNC Holdings to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
- The new technology provides an opportunity to GNC Holdings 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.
- 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.
- Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of GNC Holdings products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
Threats GNC Holdings Facing - External Strategic Factors
- New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
- 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.
- Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
- Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
- The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.
- 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.
- 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.
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for GNC Holdings
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 GNC Holdings
- 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 GNC Holdings
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 GNC Holdings 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 GNC Holdings
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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