INTL FCStone SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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

The INTL FCStone is one of the leading companies in its industry. INTL FCStone 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 firm such as – marketing, finance, operations, management information systems and strategic planning.

The SWOT Analysis framework enables 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 INTL FCStone to develop four types of strategies:

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

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

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

Step by Step Guide to INTL FCStone SWOT Analysis

Strengths of INTL FCStone – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading companies in its industry, INTL FCStone 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 INTL FCStone are –

  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – INTL FCStone is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years INTL FCStone has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of INTL FCStone just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years INTL FCStone has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to INTL FCStone products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – INTL FCStone 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.
  • Strong Free Cash Flow – INTL FCStone has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.


Weakness of INTL FCStone – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where INTL FCStone 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.

  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry INTL FCStone has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • There are gaps in the product range sold by the company. This lack of choice can give a new competitor a foothold in the market.
  • 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.
  • Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though INTL FCStone 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.
  • Limited success outside core business – Even though INTL FCStone 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.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though INTL FCStone is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.

Opportunities for INTL FCStone – External Strategic Factors

  • 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 INTL FCStone. 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 INTL FCStone an opportunity to enter a new emerging market.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of INTL FCStone’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.
  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for INTL FCStone to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of INTL FCStone products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable INTL FCStone to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the INTL FCStone . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • 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 INTL FCStone in other product categories.

Threats INTL FCStone Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • 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.
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to INTL FCStone’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and INTL FCStone may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies 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.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for INTL FCStone   in those markets.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.
  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for INTL FCStone

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 INTL FCStone
  • 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 INTL FCStone

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 INTL FCStone 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 INTL FCStone

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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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)