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Plantronics (PLT) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Plantronics (United States)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Plantronics is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – technology disruption, there is increasing trade war between United States & China, increasing energy prices, geopolitical disruptions, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Plantronics


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




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

The strengths of Plantronics are -

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Learning organization

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

Training and development

– Plantronics 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.

Strong track record of project management in the Communications Equipment industry

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

Organizational Resilience of Plantronics

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

High brand equity

– Plantronics has strong brand awareness and brand recognition among both - the exiting customers and potential new customers. Strong brand equity has enabled Plantronics to keep acquiring new customers and building profitable relationship with both the new and loyal customers.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Plantronics 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.

Sustainable margins compare to other players in Communications Equipment industry

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

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Plantronics 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.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Plantronics comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Communications Equipment 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.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Plantronics in Communications Equipment industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Innovation driven organization

– Plantronics is one of the most innovative firm in Communications Equipment sector.






Weaknesses of Plantronics | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Plantronics are -

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, Plantronics 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.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

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

High bargaining power of channel partners in Communications Equipment industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in United States, Plantronics 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 Communications Equipment industry.

Aligning sales with marketing

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

High dependence on Plantronics ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Plantronics still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Communications Equipment industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Plantronics has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

Products dominated business model

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

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Plantronics 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 Communications Equipment industry using digital technology.

Ability to respond to the competition

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

Low market penetration in new markets

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

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Plantronics has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Communications Equipment industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Communications Equipment industry, Plantronics 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.




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


The opportunities of Plantronics are -

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Finding new ways to collaborate

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

Developing new processes and practices

– Plantronics can develop new processes and procedures in Communications Equipment 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 Communications Equipment industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Plantronics in the Communications Equipment industry. Now Plantronics can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.

Manufacturing automation

– Plantronics can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Communications Equipment 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.

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. Plantronics 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 Plantronics 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 Plantronics to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Plantronics 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 Communications Equipment industry.

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 Plantronics 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.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Plantronics 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.

Buying journey improvements

– Plantronics can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Communications Equipment 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.

Low interest rates

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

Creating value in data economy

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




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


The threats of Plantronics are -

Environmental challenges

– Plantronics 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. Plantronics can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Communications Equipment industry.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Plantronics is facing in Communications Equipment sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Regulatory challenges

– Plantronics 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 Communications Equipment industry regulations.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Plantronics 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 Communications Equipment industry.

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.

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.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Plantronics 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 Communications Equipment industry and other sectors.

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. Plantronics needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Communications Equipment industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Communications Equipment industry are lowering. It can presents Plantronics with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Communications Equipment sector.

Learning curve for new practices

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

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

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 Plantronics in the Communications Equipment sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

Increasing wage structure of Plantronics

– 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 Plantronics.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Plantronics Template, Example


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



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