U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. 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) U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. is facing in its current business environment.

The U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. is one of the leading companies in its industry. U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. 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.


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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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The central purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. SWOT Analysis

Strengths of U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. – Internal Strategic Factors


As one of the leading companies in its industry, U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. 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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. are –


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  • Strong Brand Portfolio – Over the years U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. has invested in building a strong brand portfolio. The SWOT analysis of U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. just underlines this fact. This brand portfolio can be extremely useful if the organization wants to expand into new product categories.
  • 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.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Automation of activities brought consistency of quality to U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. products and has enabled the company to scale up and scale down based on the demand conditions in the market.
  • Strong Free Cash Flow – U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. 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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential 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.
  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.


Weakness of U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. – Internal Strategic Factors


Weakness are the areas where U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. 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.


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  • 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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • Not highly successful at integrating firms with different work culture. As mentioned earlier even though U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. is successful at integrating small companies it has its share of failure to merge firms that have different work culture.
  • 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.
  • Investment in Research and Development is below the fastest growing players in the industry. Even though U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. 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.
  • 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.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. are below the industry average.

Opportunities for U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. – External Strategic Factors


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  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.’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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. in other product categories.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. 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.
  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. to capture new customers and increase its market share.
  • The market development will lead to dilution of competitor’s advantage and enable U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. to increase its competitiveness compare to the other competitors.
  • New trends in the consumer behavior can open up new market for the U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. . It provides a great opportunity for the organization to build new revenue streams and diversify into new product categories too.
  • 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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • Government green drive also opens an opportunity for procurement of U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. products by the state as well as federal government contractors.

Threats U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • 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.
  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. profitability.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.   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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.
  • New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .
  • 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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.

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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.
  • 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.

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Weighted SWOT Analysis of U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.

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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. 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 U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc.

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

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)