Armstrong World Industries SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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

The Armstrong World Industries is one of the leading companies in its industry. Armstrong World Industries maintains its prominent position in market by critically analyzing and reviewing the SWOT analysis.  SWOT analysis an immensenly interactive process and requires effective coordination among various departments within the organization 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 Armstrong World Industries to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
Armstrong World Industries 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 Armstrong World Industries strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to Armstrong World Industries SWOT Analysis

Strengths of Armstrong World Industries – Internal Strategic Factors

As one of the leading firms in its industry, Armstrong World Industries 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 Armstrong World Industries are –

  • Reliable suppliers – It has a strong base of reliable supplier of raw material thus enabling the company to overcome any supply chain bottlenecks.
  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – Armstrong World Industries is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • Superb Performance in New Markets – Armstrong World Industries 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 Armstrong World Industries products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • 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 – Armstrong World Industries has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years Armstrong World Industries has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of Armstrong World Industries just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • 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 Armstrong World Industries – Internal Strategic Factors

Weakness are the areas where Armstrong World Industries 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.

  • Need more investment in new technologies. Given the scale of expansion and different geographies the company is planning to expand into, Armstrong World Industries 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.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though Armstrong World Industries is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • 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 Armstrong World Industries 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 Armstrong World Industries has a higher attrition rate and have to spend a lot more compare to its competitors on training and development of its employees.
  • 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.
  • Limited success outside core business – Even though Armstrong World Industries is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.

Opportunities for Armstrong World Industries – External Strategic Factors

  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the Armstrong World Industries . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • Lower inflation rate – The low inflation rate bring more stability in the market, enable credit at lower interest rate to the customers of Armstrong World Industries.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to Armstrong World Industries 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.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable Armstrong World Industries to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as Armstrong World Industries to increase its profitability.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of Armstrong World Industries’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.
  • 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 Armstrong World Industries in other product categories.

Threats Armstrong World Industries 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.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for Armstrong World Industries   in those markets.
  • New technologies developed by the competitor or market disruptor could be a serious threat to the industry in medium to long term future.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
  • Changing consumer buying behavior from online channel could be a threat to the existing physical infrastructure driven supply chain model.
  • 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.
  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to Armstrong World Industries’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • Liability laws in different countries are different and Armstrong World Industries may be exposed to various liability claims given change in policies in those markets.

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for Armstrong World Industries

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 Armstrong World Industries
  • 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 Armstrong World Industries

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 Armstrong World Industries 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 Armstrong World Industries

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

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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)