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Peabody Energy (BTU) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Peabody Energy (United States)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Peabody Energy is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – there is backlash against globalization, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, increasing energy prices, technology disruption, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Peabody Energy


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




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

The strengths of Peabody Energy are -

Organizational Resilience of Peabody Energy

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

Innovation driven organization

– Peabody Energy is one of the most innovative firm in Coal sector.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Peabody Energy 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.

Highly skilled collaborators

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

Diverse revenue streams

– Peabody Energy is present in almost all the verticals within the Coal industry. This has provided Peabody Energy 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.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Peabody Energy 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.

Training and development

– Peabody Energy has one of the best training and development program in Energy 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.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Ability to lead change in Coal

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Peabody Energy comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Coal 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.

Learning organization

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

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Coal industry

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






Weaknesses of Peabody Energy | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Peabody Energy are -

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Peabody Energy is just above the Coal industry average. It needs to redesign the compensation structure and incentives to increase the revenue per employees. Some of the steps that it can take are – hiring more specialists on project basis, etc.

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

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

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

Aligning sales with marketing

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

Increasing silos among functional specialists

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

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Peabody Energy has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Coal industry over the last five years. Peabody Energy 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.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Peabody Energy, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Coal 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.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of United States, Peabody Energy needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

Need for greater diversity

– Peabody Energy 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.

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Coal industry, Peabody Energy 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.

Skills based hiring in Coal industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Peabody Energy 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.




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


The opportunities of Peabody Energy are -

Leveraging digital technologies

– Peabody Energy 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.

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

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

Better consumer reach

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

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

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Peabody Energy 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 Coal industry.

Loyalty marketing

– Peabody Energy 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.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Manufacturing automation

– Peabody Energy can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Coal 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.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

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

Buying journey improvements

– Peabody Energy can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Coal 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.

Reforming the budgeting process

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

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 Peabody Energy 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 Peabody Energy in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Coal industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.




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


The threats of Peabody Energy 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.

Shortening product life cycle

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

Regulatory challenges

– Peabody Energy 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 Coal industry regulations.

Easy access to finance

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

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 Peabody Energy.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Peabody Energy 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.

Environmental challenges

– Peabody Energy 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. Peabody Energy can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Coal industry.

Barriers of entry lowering

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

Increasing wage structure of Peabody Energy

– 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 Peabody Energy.

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. Peabody Energy needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Coal industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

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. Peabody Energy 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.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Peabody Energy has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Coal industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Peabody Energy needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Coal 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.

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.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Peabody Energy Template, Example


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



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