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 – digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, there is backlash against globalization, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, geopolitical disruptions, increasing energy prices, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, 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 -

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Furniture & Fixtures industry

– La-Z-Boy has clearly differentiated products in the market place. This has enabled La-Z-Boy to fetch slight price premium compare to the competitors in the Furniture & Fixtures industry. The sustainable margins have also helped La-Z-Boy to invest into research and development (R&D) 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.

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.

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.

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.

Ability to recruit top talent

– La-Z-Boy is one of the leading players in the Furniture & Fixtures 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.

Organizational Resilience of La-Z-Boy

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

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that La-Z-Boy 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.

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.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the La-Z-Boy 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.

Innovation driven organization

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

Analytics focus

– La-Z-Boy 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 Furniture & Fixtures 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.

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 -

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.

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.

Employees’ less understanding of La-Z-Boy strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of La-Z-Boy 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.

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

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.

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.

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 decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, La-Z-Boy has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Furniture & Fixtures industry over the last five years. La-Z-Boy 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.

Skills based hiring in Furniture & Fixtures industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at La-Z-Boy 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 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.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of La-Z-Boy, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Furniture & Fixtures 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.

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 -

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Furniture & Fixtures industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. La-Z-Boy 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. La-Z-Boy 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.

Leveraging digital technologies

– La-Z-Boy 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.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help La-Z-Boy to increase its market reach. La-Z-Boy 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Increase in government spending

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

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

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

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.

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.

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 -

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Regulatory challenges

– La-Z-Boy 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 Furniture & Fixtures industry regulations.

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.

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.

Environmental challenges

– La-Z-Boy 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. La-Z-Boy can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Furniture & Fixtures industry.

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.

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.

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 dependence on third party suppliers

– La-Z-Boy 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.

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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