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PQ (PQG) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for PQ (United States)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , PQ is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, increasing transportation and logistics costs, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, geopolitical disruptions, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, increasing commodity prices, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of PQ


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




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

The strengths of PQ are -

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the PQ 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.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Analytics focus

– PQ 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 Chemical Manufacturing 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 Chemical Manufacturing

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

Organizational Resilience of PQ

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

Successful track record of launching new products

– PQ has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. PQ 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.

Innovation driven organization

– PQ is one of the most innovative firm in Chemical Manufacturing sector.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of PQ comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Chemical Manufacturing 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.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that PQ 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.

Superior customer experience

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

Highly skilled collaborators

– PQ has highly efficient outsourcing and offshoring strategy. It has resulted in greater operational flexibility and bringing down the costs in highly price sensitive Chemical Manufacturing industry. Secondly the value chain collaborators of PQ have helped the firm to develop new products and bring them quickly to the marketplace.






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

The weaknesses of PQ are -

High cash cycle compare to competitors

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

Low market penetration in new markets

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

Need for greater diversity

– PQ 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.

Employees’ less understanding of PQ strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of PQ 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 strategic competitive environment developments

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

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of PQ, it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Chemical Manufacturing 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.

High dependence on PQ ‘s star products

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

High operating costs

– Compare to the competitors, PQ has high operating costs in the Chemical Manufacturing industry. This can be harder to sustain given the new emerging competition from nimble players who are using technology to attract PQ lucrative customers.

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, PQ 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.

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

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, PQ has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Chemical Manufacturing industry over the last five years. PQ 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.




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


The opportunities of PQ are -

Increase in government spending

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

Manufacturing automation

– PQ can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Chemical Manufacturing 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.

Developing new processes and practices

– PQ can develop new processes and procedures in Chemical Manufacturing 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.

Finding new ways to collaborate

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

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

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

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Low interest rates

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

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at PQ 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 Chemical Manufacturing industry.

Better consumer reach

– The expansion of the 5G network will help PQ to increase its market reach. PQ 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.

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 PQ 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.

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

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Chemical Manufacturing industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. PQ 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. PQ 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.




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


The threats of PQ are -

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.

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 PQ.

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

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, PQ 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 PQ 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. PQ 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.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– PQ 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 Chemical Manufacturing industry.

Regulatory challenges

– PQ 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 Chemical Manufacturing industry regulations.

Increasing wage structure of PQ

– 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 PQ.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for PQ in Chemical Manufacturing industry. The Chemical Manufacturing 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.

Environmental challenges

– PQ 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. PQ can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Chemical Manufacturing industry.

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. PQ needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Chemical Manufacturing industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Barriers of entry lowering

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

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– PQ has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Chemical Manufacturing industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, PQ needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Chemical Manufacturing 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.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of PQ Template, Example


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



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