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Anglo American (AGLJ) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Anglo American (South Africa)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Anglo American is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – wage bills are increasing, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, there is backlash against globalization, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, geopolitical disruptions, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, increasing transportation and logistics costs, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , increasing commodity prices, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Anglo American


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




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

The strengths of Anglo American are -

Learning organization

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

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Anglo American in Metal Mining industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Anglo American comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Metal 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.

Innovation driven organization

– Anglo American is one of the most innovative firm in Metal Mining sector.

Highly skilled collaborators

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

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Anglo American 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.

Successful track record of launching new products

– Anglo American has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Anglo American 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.

Organizational Resilience of Anglo American

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

Analytics focus

– Anglo American 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 Metal Mining industry. The technology infrastructure of South Africa 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.

Training and development

– Anglo American has one of the best training and development program in Basic Materials 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.






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

The weaknesses of Anglo American are -

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

High dependence on Anglo American ‘s star products

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

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Anglo American, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Metal 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.

High operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, Anglo American has high operating costs in the Metal Mining industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract Anglo American lucrative customers.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of South Africa, Anglo American needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, Anglo American has borrowed money from the capital market at higher rates. It needs to restructure the interest payment and costs so that it can compete better and improve profitability.

Employees’ less understanding of Anglo American strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Anglo American 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.

High bargaining power of channel partners in Metal Mining industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in South Africa, Anglo American 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 Metal Mining industry.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Anglo American is just above the Metal 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.

Need for greater diversity

– Anglo American 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, Anglo American 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 Metal Mining industry using digital technology.




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


The opportunities of Anglo American are -

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help Anglo American to increase its market reach. Anglo American 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.

Buying journey improvements

– Anglo American can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Metal 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.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Anglo American 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.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Anglo American 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 Metal Mining industry.

Increase in government spending

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

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Anglo American 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

– Anglo American 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.

Manufacturing automation

– Anglo American can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Metal 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.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Metal Mining industry

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

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Anglo American 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.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

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

Finding new ways to collaborate

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




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


The threats of Anglo American are -

Increasing wage structure of Anglo American

– 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 Anglo American.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Anglo American 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 Metal Mining industry and other sectors.

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 Anglo American in the Metal Mining 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 Anglo American.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Anglo American 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 Metal Mining industry.

Environmental challenges

– Anglo American 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. Anglo American can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Metal Mining industry.

Barriers of entry lowering

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

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. Anglo American 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.

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. Anglo American needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Metal Mining industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Anglo American has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Metal Mining industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Anglo American needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Metal 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.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Anglo American 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 Anglo American prominent markets.

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.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Anglo American 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.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Anglo American Template, Example


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



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