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Only (3376) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Only (Japan)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Only is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, geopolitical disruptions, there is backlash against globalization, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, wage bills are increasing, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, technology disruption, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Only


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Only can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Only, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Only operates in.

According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of the managers use SWOT analysis for various purposes such as – evaluating current scenario, strategic planning, new venture feasibility, personal growth goals, new market entry, Go To market strategies, portfolio management and strategic trade-off assessment, organizational restructuring, etc.




SWOT Objectives / Importance of SWOT Analysis and SWOT Matrix


SWOT analysis of Only can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Only
2. Improving business portfolio management of Only
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in Japan
4. Making a Apparel/Accessories sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Only




Strengths of Only | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Only are -

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Only are driving operational speed, building greater agility, and keeping the organization nimble to compete with new competitors. It helps are organization to ideate new ideas, and execute them swiftly in the marketplace.

Successful track record of launching new products

– Only has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Only has effective processes in place that helps in exploring new product needs, doing quick pilot testing, and then launching the products quickly using its extensive distribution network.

Highly skilled collaborators

– Only has highly efficient outsourcing and offshoring strategy. It has resulted in greater operational flexibility and bringing down the costs in highly price sensitive Apparel/Accessories industry. Secondly the value chain collaborators of Only have helped the firm to develop new products and bring them quickly to the marketplace.

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Apparel/Accessories industry

– Only has clearly differentiated products in the market place. This has enabled Only to fetch slight price premium compare to the competitors in the Apparel/Accessories industry. The sustainable margins have also helped Only to invest into research and development (R&D) and innovation.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Only comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Apparel/Accessories industry, building diversified operations across different geographies so that disruption in one part of the world doesn’t impact the overall performance of the firm, and integrating the various business operations and processes through its digital transformation drive.

Analytics focus

– Only is putting a lot of focus on utilizing the power of analytics in business decision making. This has put it among the leading players in the Apparel/Accessories industry. The technology infrastructure of Japan is also helping it to harness the power of analytics for – marketing optimization, demand forecasting, customer relationship management, inventory management, information sharing across the value chain etc.

Diverse revenue streams

– Only is present in almost all the verticals within the Apparel/Accessories industry. This has provided Only a diverse revenue stream that has helped it to survive disruptions such as global pandemic in Covid-19, financial disruption of 2008, and supply chain disruption of 2021.

Strong track record of project management in the Apparel/Accessories industry

– Only is known for sticking to its project targets. This enables the firm to manage – time, project costs, and have sustainable margins on the projects.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Only is one of the leading players in the Apparel/Accessories industry in Japan. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in Japan. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Only in Apparel/Accessories industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Learning organization

- Only is a learning organization. It has inculcated three key characters of learning organization in its processes and operations – exploration, creativity, and expansiveness. The work place at Only is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at Only emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Only has built up over years in its products and services combo offer has resulted in high retention of customers, lower marketing costs, and greater ability of the firm to focus on its customers.






Weaknesses of Only | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Only are -

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Only is just above the Apparel/Accessories industry average. It needs to redesign the compensation structure and incentives to increase the revenue per employees. Some of the steps that it can take are – hiring more specialists on project basis, etc.

Lack of clear differentiation of Only products

– To increase the profitability and margins on the products, Only needs to provide more differentiated products than what it is currently offering in the marketplace.

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Only has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Apparel/Accessories industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

– The organizational structure of Only is dominated by functional specialists. It is not different from other players in the Apparel/Accessories industry, but Only needs to de-silo the office environment to harness the true potential of its workforce. Secondly the de-silo will also help Only to focus more on services in the Apparel/Accessories industry rather than just following the product oriented approach.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Only has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Apparel/Accessories industry over the last five years. Only even though has strong showing on digital transformation primary two stages, it has struggled to capitalize the power of digital transformation in marketing efforts and new venture efforts.

Employees’ less understanding of Only strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Only don’t have comprehensive understanding of the firm’s strategy. This is reflected in number of promotional campaigns over the last few years that had mixed messaging and competing priorities. Some of the strategic activities and services promoted in the promotional campaigns were not consistent with the organization’s strategy.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of Japan, Only needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

High dependence on existing supply chain

– The disruption in the global supply chains because of the Covid-19 pandemic and blockage of the Suez Canal illustrated the fragile nature of Only supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Only is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Only vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

– As Only is one of the leading players in the Apparel/Accessories industry, it takes time to assess the upcoming competitions. This has led to missing out on atleast 2-3 big opportunities in the Apparel/Accessories industry in last five years.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Only, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Apparel/Accessories industry. But it has very little resources allocation to manage the risks emerging from events such as natural disasters, climate change, melting of permafrost, tacking the rise of artificial intelligence, opportunities and threats emerging from commercialization of space etc.

High dependence on Only ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Only still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Apparel/Accessories industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Only has relatively successful track record of launching new products.




Only Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Only are -

Reconfiguring business model

– The expansion of digital payment system, the bringing down of international transactions costs using Bitcoin and other blockchain based currencies, etc can help Only to reconfigure its entire business model. For example it can used blockchain based technologies to reduce piracy of its products in the big markets such as China. Secondly it can use the popularity of e-commerce in various developing markets to build a Direct to Customer business model rather than the current Channel Heavy distribution network.

Loyalty marketing

– Only has focused on building a highly responsive customer relationship management platform. This platform is built on in-house data and driven by analytics and artificial intelligence. The customer analytics can help the organization to fine tune its loyalty marketing efforts, increase the wallet share of the organization, reduce wastage on mainstream advertising spending, build better pricing strategies using personalization, etc.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Apparel/Accessories industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Only can take advantage of these changes in consumer behavior to build a far more efficient business model. For example consumer regular ordering of products can reduce both last mile delivery costs and market penetration costs. Only can further use this consumer data to build better customer loyalty, provide better products and service collection, and improve the value proposition in inflationary times.

Manufacturing automation

– Only can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Apparel/Accessories sector. It can use CAD and 3D printing to build a quick prototype and pilot testing products. It can leverage automation using machine learning and artificial intelligence to do faster production at lowers costs, and it can leverage the growth in satellite and tracking technologies to improve inventory management, transportation, and shipping.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

– Only has spent a significant amount of money and effort to integrate analytics and machine learning into its operations in Apparel/Accessories sector. This continuous investment in analytics has enabled Only to build a competitive advantage using analytics. The analytics driven competitive advantage can help Only to build faster Go To Market strategies, better consumer insights, developing relevant product features, and building a highly efficient supply chain.

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Only in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Apparel/Accessories industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Only can leverage digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the production process, customer analytics to get better insights into consumer behavior, realtime digital dashboards to get better sales tracking, logistics and transportation, product tracking, etc.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, Only can build a diversified supply chain model across various countries in - South East Asia, India, and other parts of the world. This reconfiguration of global supply chain can help Only to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.

Developing new processes and practices

– Only can develop new processes and procedures in Apparel/Accessories industry using technology such as automation using artificial intelligence, real time transportation and products tracking, 3D modeling for concept development and new products pilot testing etc.

Finding new ways to collaborate

– Covid-19 has not only transformed business models of companies in Apparel/Accessories industry, but it has also influenced the consumer preferences. Only can tie-up with other value chain partners to explore new opportunities regarding meeting customer demands and building a rewarding and engaging relationship.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

– As explained in the weaknesses section, Only is facing challenges because of the dominance of functional experts in the organization. Only can utilize new technology in the field of Apparel/Accessories industry to build more coordinated teams and streamline operations and communications using tools such as CAD, Zoom, etc.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help Only to increase its market reach. Only will be able to reach out to new customers. Secondly 5G will also provide technology framework to build new tools and products that can help more immersive consumer experience and faster consumer journey.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Apparel/Accessories industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Only in the Apparel/Accessories industry. Now Only can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.




Threats Only External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Only are -

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Only can face downward pressure on margins from increasing competition from international players. The international players have stable revenue in their home market and can use those resources to penetrate Only prominent markets.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Only high dependence on third party suppliers can disrupt its processes and delivery mechanism. For example -the current troubles of car makers because of chip shortage is because the chip companies started producing chips for electronic companies rather than car manufacturers.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Only in Apparel/Accessories industry. The Apparel/Accessories industry is already at various protected from local competition in China, with the rise of trade war the protection levels may go up. This presents a clear threat of current business model in Chinese market.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Apparel/Accessories industry are lowering. It can presents Only with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Apparel/Accessories sector.

Aging population

– As the populations of most advanced economies are aging, it will lead to high social security costs, higher savings among population, and lower demand for goods and services in the economy. The household savings in US, France, UK, Germany, and Japan are growing faster than predicted because of uncertainty caused by pandemic.

Learning curve for new practices

– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, Only may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Apparel/Accessories sector.

Capital market disruption

– During the Covid-19, Dow Jones has touched record high. The valuations of a number of companies are way beyond their existing business model potential. This can lead to capital market correction which can put a number of suppliers, collaborators, value chain partners in great financial difficulty. It will directly impact the business of Only.

Easy access to finance

– Easy access to finance in Apparel/Accessories industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. Only can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.

Backlash against dominant players

– US Congress and other legislative arms of the government are getting tough on big business especially technology companies. The digital arm of Only business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Only is facing in Apparel/Accessories sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Instability in the European markets

– European Union markets are facing three big challenges post Covid – expanded balance sheets, Brexit related business disruption, and aggressive Russia looking to distract the existing security mechanism. Only will face different problems in different parts of Europe. For example it will face inflationary pressures in UK, France, and Germany, balance sheet expansion and demand challenges in Southern European countries, and geopolitical instability in the Eastern Europe.

Regulatory challenges

– Only needs to prepare for regulatory challenges as consumer protection groups and other pressure groups are vigorously advocating for more regulations on big business - to reduce inequality, to create a level playing field, to product data privacy and consumer privacy, to reduce the influence of big money on democratic institutions, etc. This can lead to significant changes in the Apparel/Accessories industry regulations.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Only demand

– There is a high probability of declining consumer confidence, given – high inflammation rate, rise of gig economy, lower job stability, increasing cost of living, higher interest rates, and aging demography. All the factors contribute to people saving higher rate of their income, resulting in lower consumer demand in Apparel/Accessories industry and other sectors.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Only Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Only needs to zero down on the relative importance of each factor mentioned in the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants. We can provide the relative importance to each factor by assigning relative weights. Weighted SWOT analysis process is a three stage process –

First stage for doing weighted SWOT analysis of Only is to rank the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you to assess the most important strengths and weaknesses of the firm and which one of the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the initial lists are marginal and can be left out.

Second stage for conducting weighted SWOT analysis of Only is to give probabilities to the external strategic factors thus better understanding the opportunities and threats arising out of macro environment changes and developments.

Third stage of constructing weighted SWOT analysis of Only to provide strategic recommendations includes – joining likelihood of external strategic factors such as opportunities and threats to the internal strategic factors – strengths and weaknesses. You should start with external factors as they will provide the direction of the overall industry. Secondly by joining probabilities with internal strategic factors can help the company not only strategic fit but also the most probably strategic trade-off that Only needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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