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Seiko (6286) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Seiko (Japan)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Seiko is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, increasing transportation and logistics costs, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, geopolitical disruptions, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Seiko


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




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

The strengths of Seiko are -

Diverse revenue streams

– Seiko is present in almost all the verticals within the Retail (Specialty) industry. This has provided Seiko 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.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Seiko in Retail (Specialty) industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Training and development

– Seiko has one of the best training and development program in Services 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.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Seiko 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.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Seiko is one of the leading players in the Retail (Specialty) 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.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Highly skilled collaborators

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

Organizational Resilience of Seiko

– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing Seiko does. Organizational resilience comprises - Financial Resilience, Operational Resilience, Technological Resilience, Organizational Resilience, Business Model Resilience, and Reputation Resilience.

Ability to lead change in Retail (Specialty)

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

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Seiko comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Retail (Specialty) 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.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Seiko 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 Seiko | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Seiko are -

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Retail (Specialty) industry, Seiko 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 decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Seiko has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Retail (Specialty) industry over the last five years. Seiko 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.

Low market penetration in new markets

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

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

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

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Seiko is just above the Retail (Specialty) 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.

Need for greater diversity

– Seiko 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.

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Seiko 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 Retail (Specialty) industry using digital technology.

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 Seiko supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Seiko is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Seiko vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.

Products dominated business model

– Even though Seiko has some of the most successful models in the Retail (Specialty) industry, this business model has made each new product launch extremely critical for continuous financial growth of the organization. Seiko should strive to include more intangible value offerings along with its core products and services.

Ability to respond to the competition

– As the decision making is very deliberative at Seiko, in the dynamic environment of Retail (Specialty) industry it has struggled to respond to the nimble upstart competition. Seiko has reasonably good record with similar level competitors but it has struggled with new entrants taking away niches of its business.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

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




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


The opportunities of Seiko are -

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Seiko to conduct training and development for its employees across the world. This will result in not only reducing the cost of training but also help employees in different part of the world to integrate with the headquarter work culture, ethos, and standards.

Loyalty marketing

– Seiko 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.

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 Seiko 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.

Reforming the budgeting process

- By establishing new metrics that will be used to evaluate both existing and potential projects Seiko can not only reduce the costs of the project but also help it in integrating the projects with other processes within the organization.

Developing new processes and practices

– Seiko can develop new processes and procedures in Retail (Specialty) 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.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Retail (Specialty) industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Seiko 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. Seiko 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.

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. Seiko can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Increase in government spending

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

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Seiko 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 Retail (Specialty) industry

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

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Seiko can make experimentation a productive activity and build a culture of innovation using approaches such as – mining transaction data, A/B testing of websites and selling platforms, engaging potential customers over various needs, and building on small ideas in the Retail (Specialty) industry.

Lowering marketing communication costs

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




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


The threats of Seiko are -

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Seiko is facing in Retail (Specialty) 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. Seiko 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.

Easy access to finance

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

Increasing wage structure of Seiko

– Post Covid-19 there is a sharp increase in the wages especially in the jobs that require interaction with people. The increasing wages can put downward pressure on the margins of Seiko.

Learning curve for new practices

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

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. Seiko needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Retail (Specialty) industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Seiko in Retail (Specialty) industry. The Retail (Specialty) 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.

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.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Seiko 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 Retail (Specialty) industry.

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 Seiko business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

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.

Regulatory challenges

– Seiko 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 Retail (Specialty) industry regulations.

Barriers of entry lowering

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




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Seiko Template, Example


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



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