SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. SWOT Analysis / Matrix

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SWOT analysis is a vital strategic planning tool that can be used by SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. managers to do a situational analysis of the firm . It is an important technique to analyze the present Strengths (S), Weakness (W), Opportunities (O) & Threats (T) SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. is facing in its current business environment.

The SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. is one of the leading firms in its industry. SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. maintains its dominant 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 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 known as SWOT Matrix.

The Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis / Matrix enables the managers of the SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. to develop four types of strategies:

  • SO (strengths-opportunities) Strategies
  • WO (weaknesses-opportunities) Strategies
  • ST (strengths-threats) Strategies
  •  WT (weaknesses-threats) Strategies
SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. swot analysis / matrix

SWOT Matrix Strategies Objective

The main purpose of SWOT matrix is to identify the strategies that a company can use to exploit external opportunities, counter threats, and build on & protect SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. strengths, and eradicate its weaknesses.

Step by Step Guide to SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. SWOT Analysis

Strengths of SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. – Internal Strategic Factors

As one of the leading organizations in its industry, SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. 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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. are –

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  • Good Returns on Capital Expenditure – SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. is relatively successful at execution of new projects and generated good returns on capital expenditure by building new revenue streams.
  • 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 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.
  • Successful track record of developing new products – product innovation.
  • Strong distribution network – Over the years SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. has built a reliable distribution network that can reach majority of its potential market.
  • Highly successful at Go To Market strategies for its products.
  • Strong Free Cash Flow – SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. has strong free cash flows that provide resources in the hand of the company to expand into new projects.
  • Highly skilled workforce through successful training and learning programs. SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. 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.

Weakness of SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. – Internal Strategic Factors

Weakness are the areas where SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. 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.

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  • Limited success outside core business – Even though SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. is one of the leading organizations in its industry it has faced challenges in moving to other product segments with its present culture.
  • The profitability ratio and Net Contribution % of SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. are below the industry average.
  • 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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. is not very good at demand forecasting thus end up keeping higher inventory both in-house and in channel.
  • Organization structure is only compatible with present business model thus limiting expansion in adjacent product segments.
  • 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.
  • High attrition rate in work force – compare to other organizations in the industry SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. 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.

Opportunities for SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. – External Strategic Factors

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  • 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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P.. In the next few years the company can leverage this opportunity by knowing its customer better and serving their needs using big data analytics.
  • The new technology provides an opportunity to SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. 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.
  • 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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. in other product categories.
  • The new taxation policy can significantly impact the way of doing business and can open new opportunity for established players such as SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. to increase its profitability.
  • 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.
  • Decreasing cost of transportation because of lower shipping prices can also bring down the cost of SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P.’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.
  • 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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. to drive home its advantage in new technology and gain market share in the new product category.
  • Economic uptick and increase in customer spending, after years of recession and slow growth rate in the industry, is an opportunity for SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. to capture new customers and increase its market share.

Threats SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. Facing - External Strategic Factors

  • Imitation of the counterfeit and low quality product is also a threat to SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P.’s product especially in the emerging markets and low income markets.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce in certain global market represents a threat to steady growth of profits for SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P.   in those markets.
  • 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.
  • Increasing trend toward isolationism in the American economy can lead to similar reaction from other government thus negatively impacting the international sales.
  • The company can face lawsuits in various markets given - different laws and continuous fluctuations regarding product standards in those markets.
  • Rising raw material can pose a threat to the SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. profitability.
  • Growing strengths of local distributors also presents a threat in some markets as the competition is paying higher margins to the local distributors.
  • New environment regulations under Paris agreement (2016) could be a threat to certain existing product categories .

Limitations of SWOT Analysis for SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P.

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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P.
  • 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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P.

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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P. 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 SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P.

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)