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Aspen Pharmacare Holdings (APNJ) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings (South Africa)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Aspen Pharmacare Holdings is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, geopolitical disruptions, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , technology disruption, increasing transportation and logistics costs, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings


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




Strengths of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings are -

Innovation driven organization

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings is one of the most innovative firm in Biotechnology & Drugs sector.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings in Biotechnology & Drugs industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Ability to lead change in Biotechnology & Drugs

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings is one of the leading players in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry in South Africa. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry in South Africa but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Aspen Pharmacare Holdings in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Biotechnology & Drugs industry

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

High brand equity

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

Digital Transformation in Biotechnology & Drugs industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For Aspen Pharmacare Holdings digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings is one of the leading players in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry in South Africa. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in South Africa. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Analytics focus

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Biotechnology & Drugs 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.

Organizational Resilience of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings

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

Strong track record of project management in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry

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

Successful track record of launching new products

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






Weaknesses of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings are -

Low market penetration in new markets

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

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry over the last five years. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Biotechnology & Drugs industry using digital technology.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Biotechnology & Drugs 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 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, in the dynamic environment of Biotechnology & Drugs industry it has struggled to respond to the nimble upstart competition. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings has reasonably good record with similar level competitors but it has struggled with new entrants taking away niches of its business.

High bargaining power of channel partners in Biotechnology & Drugs industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in South Africa, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Biotechnology & Drugs industry.

Employees’ less understanding of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

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

High dependence on Aspen Pharmacare Holdings ‘s star products

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

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




Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings are -

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Biotechnology & Drugs industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry. Now Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.

Increase in government spending

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

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help Aspen Pharmacare Holdings to increase its market reach. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Biotechnology & Drugs industry.

Reforming the budgeting process

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

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Manufacturing automation

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Biotechnology & Drugs 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.

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 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

– As the trade war between US and China heats up in the coming years, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Biotechnology & Drugs industry, but it has also influenced the consumer preferences. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings can tie-up with other value chain partners to explore new opportunities regarding meeting customer demands and building a rewarding and engaging relationship.




Threats Aspen Pharmacare Holdings External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings are -

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

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Biotechnology & Drugs industry and other sectors.

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 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Easy access to finance

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

Environmental challenges

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Biotechnology & Drugs 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.

Regulatory challenges

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Biotechnology & Drugs industry regulations.

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 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings.

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. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Biotechnology & Drugs industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Increasing wage structure of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings

– 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 Aspen Pharmacare Holdings.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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 Biotechnology & Drugs industry.

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. Aspen Pharmacare Holdings 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.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Template, Example


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



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