Sirius Minerals (SXX) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Sirius Minerals (United Kingdom)

Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Sirius Minerals is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, wage bills are increasing, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, geopolitical disruptions, etc

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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Sirius Minerals

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

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

The strengths of Sirius Minerals are -

Ability to lead change in Non-Metallic Mining

– Sirius Minerals is one of the leading players in the Non-Metallic Mining industry in United Kingdom. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Non-Metallic Mining industry in United Kingdom but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Sirius Minerals in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

Organizational Resilience of Sirius Minerals

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

Analytics focus

– Sirius Minerals 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 Non-Metallic Mining industry. The technology infrastructure of United Kingdom 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.

Innovation driven organization

– Sirius Minerals is one of the most innovative firm in Non-Metallic Mining sector.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Diverse revenue streams

– Sirius Minerals is present in almost all the verticals within the Non-Metallic Mining industry. This has provided Sirius Minerals 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.

Digital Transformation in Non-Metallic Mining industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For Sirius Minerals digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. Sirius Minerals has successfully integrated the four key components of digital transformation – digital integration in processes, digital integration in marketing and customer relationship management, digital integration into the value chain, and using technology to explore new products and market opportunities.

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Non-Metallic Mining industry

– Sirius Minerals has clearly differentiated products in the market place. This has enabled Sirius Minerals to fetch slight price premium compare to the competitors in the Non-Metallic Mining industry. The sustainable margins have also helped Sirius Minerals to invest into research and development (R&D) and innovation.

High brand equity

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Sirius Minerals comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Non-Metallic Mining 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.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Sirius Minerals 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.

Highly skilled collaborators

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

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

The weaknesses of Sirius Minerals are -

Need for greater diversity

– Sirius Minerals 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.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of United Kingdom, Sirius Minerals needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Sirius Minerals is just above the Non-Metallic Mining 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.

Products dominated business model

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

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Sirius Minerals is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Sirius Minerals to provide better information regarding Non-Metallic Mining 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 Sirius Minerals is dominated by functional specialists. It is not different from other players in the Non-Metallic Mining industry, but Sirius Minerals needs to de-silo the office environment to harness the true potential of its workforce. Secondly the de-silo will also help Sirius Minerals to focus more on services in the Non-Metallic Mining industry rather than just following the product oriented approach.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Sirius Minerals, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Non-Metallic Mining 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.

Ability to respond to the competition

– As the decision making is very deliberative at Sirius Minerals, in the dynamic environment of Non-Metallic Mining industry it has struggled to respond to the nimble upstart competition. Sirius Minerals has reasonably good record with similar level competitors but it has struggled with new entrants taking away niches of its business.

Aligning sales with marketing

– From the outside it seems that Sirius Minerals needs to have more collaboration between its sales team and marketing team. Sales professionals in the Non-Metallic Mining industry have deep experience in developing customer relationships. Marketing department at Sirius Minerals can leverage the sales team experience to cultivate customer relationships as Sirius Minerals is planning to shift buying processes online.

Skills based hiring in Non-Metallic Mining industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Sirius Minerals 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.

Lack of clear differentiation of Sirius Minerals products

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

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

The opportunities of Sirius Minerals are -

Buying journey improvements

– Sirius Minerals can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Non-Metallic Mining industry by using analytics and artificial intelligence. It can provide automated chats to help consumers solve their own problems, provide online suggestions to get maximum out of the products and services, and help consumers to build a community where they can interact with each other to develop new features and uses.

Developing new processes and practices

– Sirius Minerals can develop new processes and procedures in Non-Metallic Mining 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.

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 Sirius Minerals 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.

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Sirius Minerals in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Non-Metallic Mining industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, Sirius Minerals 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 Sirius Minerals to buy more products closer to the markets, and it can leverage its size and influence to get better deal from the local markets.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Finding new ways to collaborate

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

Creating value in data economy

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

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Sirius Minerals 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.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Non-Metallic Mining industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Sirius Minerals in the Non-Metallic Mining industry. Now Sirius Minerals 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. Sirius Minerals can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Manufacturing automation

– Sirius Minerals can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Non-Metallic Mining 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

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

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

The threats of Sirius Minerals are -

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 Sirius Minerals in the Non-Metallic Mining sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

Environmental challenges

– Sirius Minerals 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. Sirius Minerals can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Non-Metallic Mining industry.

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.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Sirius Minerals is facing in Non-Metallic Mining sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Easy access to finance

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

Consumer confidence and its impact on Sirius Minerals 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 Non-Metallic Mining industry and other sectors.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Sirius Minerals 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 Non-Metallic Mining industry.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Sirius Minerals 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 Sirius Minerals prominent markets.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Sirius Minerals 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.

Barriers of entry lowering

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

Increasing wage structure of Sirius Minerals

– 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 Sirius Minerals.

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

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Sirius Minerals has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Non-Metallic Mining industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Sirius Minerals needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Non-Metallic Mining 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.

Weighted SWOT Analysis of Sirius Minerals Template, Example

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

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