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Ballard (BLDP) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Ballard (Canada)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Ballard is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, increasing commodity prices, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, increasing transportation and logistics costs, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Ballard


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




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

The strengths of Ballard are -

Organizational Resilience of Ballard

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Ballard comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Electronic Instr. & Controls 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.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Ballard in Electronic Instr. & Controls industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Innovation driven organization

– Ballard is one of the most innovative firm in Electronic Instr. & Controls sector.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Ballard is one of the leading players in the Electronic Instr. & Controls industry in Canada. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in Canada. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Electronic Instr. & Controls industry

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

Analytics focus

– Ballard 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 Electronic Instr. & Controls industry. The technology infrastructure of Canada 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.

Learning organization

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

Ability to lead change in Electronic Instr. & Controls

– Ballard is one of the leading players in the Electronic Instr. & Controls industry in Canada. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Electronic Instr. & Controls industry in Canada but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Ballard in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

Training and development

– Ballard has one of the best training and development program in Technology 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.

Successful track record of launching new products

– Ballard has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Ballard 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 Ballard | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Ballard are -

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, Ballard 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.

Products dominated business model

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

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

Skills based hiring in Electronic Instr. & Controls industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Ballard 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.

High operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, Ballard has high operating costs in the Electronic Instr. & Controls industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract Ballard lucrative customers.

Aligning sales with marketing

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

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Ballard 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 Electronic Instr. & Controls industry using digital technology.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Ballard has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Electronic Instr. & Controls industry over the last five years. Ballard 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.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

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

Employees’ less understanding of Ballard strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Ballard 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.

Lack of clear differentiation of Ballard products

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




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


The opportunities of Ballard are -

Creating value in data economy

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

Reconfiguring business model

– The expansion of digital payment system, the bringing down of international transactions costs using Bitcoin and other blockchain based currencies, etc can help Ballard 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.

Developing new processes and practices

– Ballard can develop new processes and procedures in Electronic Instr. & Controls industry using technology such as automation using artificial intelligence, real time transportation and products tracking, 3D modeling for concept development and new products pilot testing etc.

Increase in government spending

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

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Ballard in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Electronic Instr. & Controls industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

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

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

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

Finding new ways to collaborate

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

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Ballard 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.

Buying journey improvements

– Ballard can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Electronic Instr. & Controls 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.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Ballard 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 Electronic Instr. & Controls industry.

Better consumer reach

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




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


The threats of Ballard are -

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Ballard has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Electronic Instr. & Controls industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Ballard needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Electronic Instr. & Controls 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.

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

Regulatory challenges

– Ballard 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 Electronic Instr. & Controls industry regulations.

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.

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 Ballard.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Ballard 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.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Ballard is facing in Electronic Instr. & Controls sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Ballard in Electronic Instr. & Controls industry. The Electronic Instr. & Controls 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.

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. Ballard 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.

Easy access to finance

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

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Ballard 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 Electronic Instr. & Controls industry.

Environmental challenges

– Ballard 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. Ballard can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Electronic Instr. & Controls industry.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Ballard 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 Electronic Instr. & Controls industry and other sectors.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Ballard Template, Example


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



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