Introduction to SWOT Analysis
SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Greif Bros (United States)
Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Greif Bros is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – geopolitical disruptions, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , technology disruption, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, there is increasing trade war between United States & China,
digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, wage bills are increasing, etc
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- On Time Delivery | 27x7
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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Greif Bros
SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Greif Bros can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Greif Bros, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Greif Bros 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 Greif Bros can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Greif Bros
2. Improving business portfolio management of Greif Bros
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in United States
4. Making a Containers & Packaging sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Greif Bros
Strengths of Greif Bros | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis
The strengths of Greif Bros are -
Effective Research and Development (R&D)
– Greif Bros has innovation driven culture where significant part of the revenues are spent on the research and development activities. This has resulted in – Greif Bros staying ahead in the Containers & Packaging industry in terms of – new product launches, superior customer experience, highly competitive pricing strategies, and great returns to the shareholders.
Training and development
– Greif Bros has one of the best training and development program in Basic Materials industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.
– Greif Bros 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 Containers & Packaging industry. The technology infrastructure of United States 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.
Ability to lead change in Containers & Packaging
– Greif Bros is one of the leading players in the Containers & Packaging industry in United States. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Containers & Packaging industry in United States but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Greif Bros in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.
High brand equity
– Greif Bros has strong brand awareness and brand recognition among both - the exiting customers and potential new customers. Strong brand equity has enabled Greif Bros to keep acquiring new customers and building profitable relationship with both the new and loyal customers.
Strong track record of project management in the Containers & Packaging industry
– Greif Bros is known for sticking to its project targets. This enables the firm to manage – time, project costs, and have sustainable margins on the projects.
– The operational resilience strategy of Greif Bros comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Containers & Packaging 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.
- Greif Bros 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 Greif Bros is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at Greif Bros emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.
Innovation driven organization
– Greif Bros is one of the most innovative firm in Containers & Packaging sector.
Superior customer experience
– The customer experience strategy of Greif Bros in Containers & Packaging industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.
Successful track record of launching new products
– Greif Bros has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Greif Bros 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.
Digital Transformation in Containers & Packaging industry
- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For Greif Bros digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. Greif Bros 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.
Weaknesses of Greif Bros | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis
The weaknesses of Greif Bros are -
Slow to strategic competitive environment developments
– As Greif Bros is one of the leading players in the Containers & Packaging industry, it takes time to assess the upcoming competitions. This has led to missing out on atleast 2-3 big opportunities in the Containers & Packaging industry in last five years.
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 Greif Bros supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Greif Bros is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Greif Bros vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.
Compensation and incentives
– The revenue per employee of Greif Bros is just above the Containers & Packaging 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.
Lack of clear differentiation of Greif Bros products
– To increase the profitability and margins on the products, Greif Bros needs to provide more differentiated products than what it is currently offering in the marketplace.
Skills based hiring in Containers & Packaging industry
– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Greif Bros 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.
Ability to respond to the competition
– As the decision making is very deliberative at Greif Bros, in the dynamic environment of Containers & Packaging industry it has struggled to respond to the nimble upstart competition. Greif Bros has reasonably good record with similar level competitors but it has struggled with new entrants taking away niches of its business.
High cash cycle compare to competitors
Greif Bros has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Containers & Packaging industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.
High dependence on Greif Bros ‘s star products
– The top 2 products and services of Greif Bros still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Containers & Packaging industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Greif Bros has relatively successful track record of launching new products.
High bargaining power of channel partners in Containers & Packaging industry
– because of the regulatory requirements in United States, Greif Bros 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 Containers & Packaging industry.
High operating costs
– Compare to the competitors, Greif Bros has high operating costs in the Containers & Packaging industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract Greif Bros lucrative customers.
Employees’ less understanding of Greif Bros strategy
– From the outside it seems that the employees of Greif Bros 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.
Greif Bros Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis
The opportunities of Greif Bros are -
Buying journey improvements
– Greif Bros can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Containers & Packaging 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.
Learning at scale
– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Greif Bros 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.
Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities
– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Greif Bros 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 Greif Bros to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.
Using analytics as competitive advantage
– Greif Bros has spent a significant amount of money and effort to integrate analytics and machine learning into its operations in Containers & Packaging sector. This continuous investment in analytics has enabled Greif Bros to build a competitive advantage using analytics. The analytics driven competitive advantage can help Greif Bros to build faster Go To Market strategies, better consumer insights, developing relevant product features, and building a highly efficient supply chain.
Better consumer reach
– The expansion of the 5G network will help Greif Bros to increase its market reach. Greif Bros 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.
– Greif Bros 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.
Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19
– consumer behavior has changed in the Containers & Packaging industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Greif Bros 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. Greif Bros 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.
Building a culture of innovation
– managers at Greif Bros 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 Containers & Packaging industry.
Leveraging digital technologies
– Greif Bros 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.
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 Greif Bros 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.
– Greif Bros can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Containers & Packaging 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.
Increase in government spending
– As the United States and other governments are increasing social spending and infrastructure spending to build economies post Covid-19, Greif Bros can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that Greif Bros operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Containers & Packaging sector.
Lowering marketing communication costs
– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Greif Bros in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Containers & Packaging industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.
Threats Greif Bros External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis
The threats of Greif Bros are -
Increasing wage structure of Greif Bros
– 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 Greif Bros.
Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution
– Greif Bros has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Containers & Packaging industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Greif Bros needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Containers & Packaging 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.
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. Greif Bros 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.
Trade war between China and United States
– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Greif Bros in Containers & Packaging industry. The Containers & Packaging 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.
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. Greif Bros needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Containers & Packaging industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.
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 Greif Bros.
Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins
– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Greif Bros can face downward pressure on margins from increasing competition from international players. The international players have stable revenue in their home market and can use those resources to penetrate Greif Bros prominent markets.
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 Greif Bros business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.
Shortening product life cycle
– it is one of the major threat that Greif Bros is facing in Containers & Packaging sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.
– Greif Bros 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. Greif Bros can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Containers & Packaging industry.
Easy access to finance
– Easy access to finance in Containers & Packaging industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. Greif Bros can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.
– 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 Greif Bros in the Containers & Packaging sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.
Barriers of entry lowering
– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Containers & Packaging industry are lowering. It can presents Greif Bros with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Containers & Packaging sector.
Weighted SWOT Analysis of Greif Bros Template, Example
Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Greif Bros 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 Greif Bros 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 Greif Bros 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 Greif Bros 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 Greif Bros needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.