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Cardinal Health (CAH) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Cardinal Health (United States)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Cardinal Health is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, increasing transportation and logistics costs, technology disruption, competitive advantages are harder to sustain because of technology dispersion, wage bills are increasing, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, there is backlash against globalization, increasing commodity prices, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Cardinal Health


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




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

The strengths of Cardinal Health are -

High brand equity

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

Successful track record of launching new products

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

Ability to recruit top talent

– Cardinal Health is one of the leading players in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry in United States. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in United States. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Cardinal Health 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.

Learning organization

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

Diverse revenue streams

– Cardinal Health is present in almost all the verticals within the Biotechnology & Drugs industry. This has provided Cardinal Health 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.

Organizational Resilience of Cardinal Health

– The covid-19 pandemic has put organizational resilience at the centre of everthing Cardinal Health 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

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

Innovation driven organization

– Cardinal Health is one of the most innovative firm in Biotechnology & Drugs sector.

Superior customer experience

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

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Cardinal Health has built up over years in its products and services combo offer has resulted in high retention of customers, lower marketing costs, and greater ability of the firm to focus on its customers.






Weaknesses of Cardinal Health | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Cardinal Health are -

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Cardinal Health 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.

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

Employees’ less understanding of Cardinal Health strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Cardinal Health 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 Cardinal Health is dominated by functional specialists. It is not different from other players in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry, but Cardinal Health needs to de-silo the office environment to harness the true potential of its workforce. Secondly the de-silo will also help Cardinal Health to focus more on services in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry rather than just following the product oriented approach.

Need for greater diversity

– Cardinal Health 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.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Cardinal Health, 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.

Skills based hiring in Biotechnology & Drugs industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Cardinal Health 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.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Cardinal Health 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. Cardinal Health 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.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

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

Low market penetration in new markets

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

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

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




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


The opportunities of Cardinal Health are -

Manufacturing automation

– Cardinal Health 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 Cardinal Health 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.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

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

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Cardinal Health 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.

Loyalty marketing

– Cardinal Health 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.

Reforming the budgeting process

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

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

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

Better consumer reach

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

Creating value in data economy

– The success of analytics program of Cardinal Health has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Biotechnology & Drugs industry. This can help Cardinal Health to build a more holistic ecosystem for Cardinal Health products in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.

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. Cardinal Health can tie-up with other value chain partners to explore new opportunities regarding meeting customer demands and building a rewarding and engaging relationship.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

– Cardinal Health 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 Cardinal Health to build a competitive advantage using analytics. The analytics driven competitive advantage can help Cardinal Health to build faster Go To Market strategies, better consumer insights, developing relevant product features, and building a highly efficient supply chain.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Cardinal Health can take advantage of these changes in consumer behavior to build a far more efficient business model. For example consumer regular ordering of products can reduce both last mile delivery costs and market penetration costs. Cardinal Health can further use this consumer data to build better customer loyalty, provide better products and service collection, and improve the value proposition in inflationary times.




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


The threats of Cardinal Health are -

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

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Cardinal Health in Biotechnology & Drugs industry. The Biotechnology & Drugs industry is already at various protected from local competition in China, with the rise of trade war the protection levels may go up. This presents a clear threat of current business model in Chinese market.

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. Cardinal Health can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.

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.

Barriers of entry lowering

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

Environmental challenges

– Cardinal Health 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. Cardinal Health can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Biotechnology & Drugs industry.

Increasing wage structure of Cardinal Health

– 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 Cardinal Health.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Cardinal Health is facing in Biotechnology & Drugs sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Learning curve for new practices

– As the technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning platform is getting complex, Cardinal Health may face longer learning curve for training and development of existing employees. This can open space for more nimble competitors in the field of Biotechnology & Drugs sector.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Cardinal Health 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.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Cardinal Health 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.

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 Cardinal Health in the Biotechnology & Drugs sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

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




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Cardinal Health Template, Example


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



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