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Southwest Gas SWOT Analysis / Matrix
Essays, Term Papers & Research Papers
SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by Southwest Gas managers to do a situational analysis of the company . It is a handy technique to map out the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) Southwest Gas is facing in its current business environment.
The Southwest Gas is one of the leading firms in its industry. Southwest Gas 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 Southwest Gas 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 central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that an organization can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect Southwest Gas strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.
Step by Step Guide to Southwest Gas SWOT Analysis
Strengths of Southwest Gas – Internal Strategic Factors
As one of the leading companies in its industry, Southwest Gas 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 Southwest Gas are –
- Strong Free Cash Flow – Southwest Gas has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
- Superb Performance in New Markets – Southwest Gas 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.
- Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
- Strong distribution network – Over the years Southwest Gas has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Southwest Gas is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
Weakness of Southwest Gas – Internal Strategic Factors
Weakness are the areas where Southwest Gas can improve upon. Strategy is about making choices and weakness are the areas where a firm 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 Southwest Gas has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
- 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.
- 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.
- Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Southwest Gas 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.
- Limited success outside core business – Even though Southwest Gas is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
- Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
- 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 Southwest Gas
Opportunities for Southwest Gas – External Strategic Factors
- 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 Southwest Gas to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
- 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 new technology provides an opportunity to Southwest Gas 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.
- 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 Southwest Gas. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
- Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for Southwest Gas to capture new customers and increase its market share.
- New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Southwest Gas . 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 Southwest Gas in other product categories.
- Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of Southwest Gas products by the state as well as federal government contractors.
Threats Southwest Gas Facing - External Strategic Factors
- No regular supply of innovative products – Over the years the company has developed numerous products but those are often response to the development by other players. Secondly the supply of new products is not regular thus leading to high and low swings in the sales number over period of time.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rising pay level especially movements such as $15 an hour and increasing prices in the China can lead to serious pressure on profitability of Southwest Gas
- 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.
- Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for Southwest Gas in those markets.
- Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Southwest Gas
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 Southwest Gas
- 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 Southwest Gas
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 Southwest Gas 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 Southwest Gas
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)
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