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Huntsman (HUN) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Huntsman (United States)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Huntsman is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, wage bills are increasing, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Huntsman


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




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

The strengths of Huntsman are -

Analytics focus

– Huntsman 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 Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber 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.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Huntsman in Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Strong track record of project management in the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry

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

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Huntsman 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.

Ability to lead change in Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber

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

Learning organization

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

Innovation driven organization

– Huntsman is one of the most innovative firm in Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber sector.

Training and development

– Huntsman 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.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Huntsman is one of the leading players in the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber 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.

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry

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

Successful track record of launching new products

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

The weaknesses of Huntsman are -

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Huntsman is just above the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber 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 operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, Huntsman has high operating costs in the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract Huntsman lucrative customers.

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Huntsman has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Need for greater diversity

– Huntsman 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.

Ability to respond to the competition

– As the decision making is very deliberative at Huntsman, in the dynamic environment of Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry it has struggled to respond to the nimble upstart competition. Huntsman has reasonably good record with similar level competitors but it has struggled with new entrants taking away niches of its business.

Products dominated business model

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

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Huntsman has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry over the last five years. Huntsman 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.

Employees’ less understanding of Huntsman strategy

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

Slow to harness new channels of communication

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

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

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

Skills based hiring in Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Huntsman 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.




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


The opportunities of Huntsman are -

Developing new processes and practices

– Huntsman can develop new processes and procedures in Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber 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.

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 Huntsman 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.

Increase in government spending

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

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Huntsman 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 Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry.

Creating value in data economy

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

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

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

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

Reforming the budgeting process

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

Low interest rates

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

Leveraging digital technologies

– Huntsman 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.

Lowering marketing communication costs

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

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Huntsman 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. Huntsman 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.

Loyalty marketing

– Huntsman 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.




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


The threats of Huntsman are -

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

Regulatory challenges

– Huntsman 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 Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry regulations.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Huntsman has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Huntsman needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber 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.

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 Huntsman.

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.

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.

Easy access to finance

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

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Huntsman 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.

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. Huntsman needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Learning curve for new practices

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

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Huntsman 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 Huntsman prominent markets.

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. Huntsman 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 Huntsman in Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber industry. The Chemicals - Plastics & Rubber 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.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Huntsman Template, Example


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



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