La-Z-Boy (LZB) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for La-Z-Boy (United States)

Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , La-Z-Boy is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – technology disruption, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, geopolitical disruptions, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, there is backlash against globalization, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, increasing commodity prices, etc

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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of La-Z-Boy

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

Strengths of La-Z-Boy | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of La-Z-Boy are -

Innovation driven organization

– La-Z-Boy is one of the most innovative firm in Furniture & Fixtures sector.

Successful track record of launching new products

– La-Z-Boy has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. La-Z-Boy 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 Furniture & Fixtures industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For La-Z-Boy digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. La-Z-Boy 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.

Learning organization

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

Training and development

– La-Z-Boy has one of the best training and development program in Consumer Cyclical 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.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of La-Z-Boy in Furniture & Fixtures industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Highly skilled collaborators

– La-Z-Boy has highly efficient outsourcing and offshoring strategy. It has resulted in greater operational flexibility and bringing down the costs in highly price sensitive Furniture & Fixtures industry. Secondly the value chain collaborators of La-Z-Boy have helped the firm to develop new products and bring them quickly to the marketplace.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of La-Z-Boy comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Furniture & Fixtures 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.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Diverse revenue streams

– La-Z-Boy is present in almost all the verticals within the Furniture & Fixtures industry. This has provided La-Z-Boy 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.

Strong track record of project management in the Furniture & Fixtures industry

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

Weaknesses of La-Z-Boy | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of La-Z-Boy are -

High operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, La-Z-Boy has high operating costs in the Furniture & Fixtures industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract La-Z-Boy lucrative customers.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of United States, La-Z-Boy needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

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

Ability to respond to the competition

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

Slow to harness new channels of communication

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

High cash cycle compare to competitors

La-Z-Boy has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Furniture & Fixtures industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Slow to strategic competitive environment developments

– As La-Z-Boy is one of the leading players in the Furniture & Fixtures industry, it takes time to assess the upcoming competitions. This has led to missing out on atleast 2-3 big opportunities in the Furniture & Fixtures industry in last five years.

Products dominated business model

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

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Furniture & Fixtures industry, La-Z-Boy 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.

High dependence on La-Z-Boy ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of La-Z-Boy still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Furniture & Fixtures industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though La-Z-Boy has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

Lack of clear differentiation of La-Z-Boy products

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

La-Z-Boy Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The opportunities of La-Z-Boy are -

Buying journey improvements

– La-Z-Boy can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Furniture & Fixtures 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.

Manufacturing automation

– La-Z-Boy can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Furniture & Fixtures 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.

Loyalty marketing

– La-Z-Boy 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.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at La-Z-Boy 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 Furniture & Fixtures industry.

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for La-Z-Boy 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.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

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

Creating value in data economy

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

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Furniture & Fixtures industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for La-Z-Boy in the Furniture & Fixtures industry. Now La-Z-Boy can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.

Lowering marketing communication costs

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

Using analytics as competitive advantage

– La-Z-Boy has spent a significant amount of money and effort to integrate analytics and machine learning into its operations in Furniture & Fixtures sector. This continuous investment in analytics has enabled La-Z-Boy to build a competitive advantage using analytics. The analytics driven competitive advantage can help La-Z-Boy to build faster Go To Market strategies, better consumer insights, developing relevant product features, and building a highly efficient supply chain.

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. La-Z-Boy can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

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 La-Z-Boy 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

– La-Z-Boy can develop new processes and procedures in Furniture & Fixtures 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.

Threats La-Z-Boy External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The threats of La-Z-Boy are -

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. La-Z-Boy 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

– La-Z-Boy has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Furniture & Fixtures industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, La-Z-Boy needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Furniture & Fixtures 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.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for La-Z-Boy in Furniture & Fixtures industry. The Furniture & Fixtures 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.

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 La-Z-Boy business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Learning curve for new practices

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

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 La-Z-Boy.

Easy access to finance

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

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. La-Z-Boy needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Furniture & Fixtures industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

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 La-Z-Boy in the Furniture & Fixtures sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– La-Z-Boy 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 Furniture & Fixtures industry.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, La-Z-Boy 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 La-Z-Boy prominent markets.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Furniture & Fixtures industry are lowering. It can presents La-Z-Boy with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Furniture & Fixtures sector.

Increasing wage structure of La-Z-Boy

– 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 La-Z-Boy.

Weighted SWOT Analysis of La-Z-Boy Template, Example

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

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