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Tohbu Network (9036) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Tohbu Network (Japan)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Tohbu Network is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, increasing transportation and logistics costs, increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Tohbu Network


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Tohbu Network can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Tohbu Network, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Tohbu Network 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 Tohbu Network can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Tohbu Network
2. Improving business portfolio management of Tohbu Network
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in Japan
4. Making a Trucking sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Tohbu Network




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

The strengths of Tohbu Network are -

Training and development

– Tohbu Network has one of the best training and development program in Transportation industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Tohbu Network is one of the leading players in the Trucking 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.

Highly skilled collaborators

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

Low bargaining power of suppliers

– Suppliers of Tohbu Network in the Transportation sector have low bargaining power. Tohbu Network has further diversified its suppliers portfolio by building a robust supply chain across various countries. This helps Tohbu Network to manage not only supply disruptions but also source products at highly competitive prices.

Analytics focus

– Tohbu Network 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 Trucking 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.

Strong track record of project management in the Trucking industry

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Tohbu Network comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Trucking 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.

Innovation driven organization

– Tohbu Network is one of the most innovative firm in Trucking sector.

Ability to lead change in Trucking

– Tohbu Network is one of the leading players in the Trucking industry in Japan. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Trucking industry in Japan but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Tohbu Network in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

High brand equity

– Tohbu Network has strong brand awareness and brand recognition among both - the exiting customers and potential new customers. Strong brand equity has enabled Tohbu Network to keep acquiring new customers and building profitable relationship with both the new and loyal customers.

Learning organization

- Tohbu Network 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 Tohbu Network is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at Tohbu Network emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

– Tohbu Network has innovation driven culture where significant part of the revenues are spent on the research and development activities. This has resulted in – Tohbu Network staying ahead in the Trucking industry in terms of – new product launches, superior customer experience, highly competitive pricing strategies, and great returns to the shareholders.






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

The weaknesses of Tohbu Network are -

High cash cycle compare to competitors

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

High bargaining power of channel partners in Trucking industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in Japan, Tohbu Network is facing high bargaining power of the channel partners. So far it has not able to streamline the operations to reduce the bargaining power of the value chain partners in the Trucking industry.

Skills based hiring in Trucking industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Tohbu Network has created an environment where the organization is dominated by functional specialists rather than management generalist. This has resulted into product oriented approach rather than marketing oriented approach or consumers oriented approach.

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

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

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Trucking industry, Tohbu Network needs to come up with a strategy to reduce the workers concern regarding automation. Without a clear strategy, it could lead to disruption and uncertainty within the organization.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Tohbu Network is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Tohbu Network to provide better information regarding Trucking products and services. It can also build an online community to further reach out to potential customers.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

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

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Tohbu Network has not been able to do capital spending to the tune of the competition. This has resulted into fewer innovations and company facing stiff competition from both existing competitors and new entrants who are disrupting the Trucking industry using digital technology.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Tohbu Network is just above the Trucking 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.

High dependence on Tohbu Network ‘s star products

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

Need for greater diversity

– Tohbu Network has taken concrete steps on diversity, equity, and inclusion. But the efforts so far has resulted in limited success. It needs to expand the recruitment and selection process to hire more people from the minorities and underprivileged background.




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


The opportunities of Tohbu Network are -

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Loyalty marketing

– Tohbu Network 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.

Lowering marketing communication costs

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

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Tohbu Network to expand its talent hiring zone. According to McKinsey Global Institute, 20% of the high end workforce in fields such as finance, information technology, can continously work from remote local post Covid-19. This presents a really great opportunity for Tohbu Network to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Tohbu Network 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.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Trucking industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Tohbu Network 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. Tohbu Network 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.

Finding new ways to collaborate

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

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Tohbu Network can still utilize the low interest rates to borrow money for capital investment. Secondly it can also use the increase of government spending in infrastructure projects to get new business.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Trucking industry

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

Identify volunteer opportunities

– Covid-19 has impacted working population in two ways – it has led to people soul searching about their professional choices, resulting in mass resignation. Secondly it has encouraged people to do things that they are passionate about. This has opened opportunities for businesses to build volunteer oriented socially driven projects. Tohbu Network can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Creating value in data economy

– The success of analytics program of Tohbu Network has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Trucking industry. This can help Tohbu Network to build a more holistic ecosystem for Tohbu Network products in the Trucking industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Increase in government spending

– As the United States and other governments are increasing social spending and infrastructure spending to build economies post Covid-19, Tohbu Network can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that Tohbu Network operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Trucking sector.




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


The threats of Tohbu Network are -

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Tohbu Network 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 Tohbu Network prominent markets.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Tohbu Network 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 Trucking industry and other sectors.

Technology disruption because of hacks, piracy etc

– The colonial pipeline illustrated, how vulnerable modern organization are to international hackers, miscreants, and disruptors. The cyber security interruption, data leaks, etc can seriously jeopardize the future growth of the organization.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Tohbu Network has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Trucking industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Tohbu Network needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Trucking sector. According to Mckinsey study top managers believe that the adoption of technology in operations, communications is 20-25 times faster than what they planned in the beginning of 2019.

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. Tohbu Network 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.

Shortening product life cycle

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

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Tohbu Network can face lack of demand in the market place because of Fed actions to reduce inflation. This can lead to sluggish growth in the economy, lower demands, lower investments, higher borrowing costs, and consolidation in the Trucking industry.

High level of anxiety and lack of motivation

– the Great Resignation in United States is the sign of broader dissatisfaction among the workforce in United States. Tohbu Network needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Trucking industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Barriers of entry lowering

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

Environmental challenges

– Tohbu Network needs to have a robust strategy against the disruptions arising from climate change and energy requirements. EU has identified it as key priority area and spending 30% of its 880 billion Euros European post Covid-19 recovery funds on green technology. Tohbu Network can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Trucking industry.

New competition

– After the dotcom bust of 2001, financial crisis of 2008-09, the business formation in US economy had declined. But in 2020 alone, there are more than 1.5 million new business applications in United States. This can lead to greater competition for Tohbu Network in the Trucking sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

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 Tohbu Network.

Learning curve for new practices

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




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Tohbu Network Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Tohbu Network 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 Tohbu Network 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 Tohbu Network 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 Tohbu Network 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 Tohbu Network needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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