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Black Iron Inc. (BKI) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Black Iron Inc. (Canada)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Black Iron Inc. is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – technology disruption, there is backlash against globalization, increasing commodity prices, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, geopolitical disruptions, wage bills are increasing, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Black Iron Inc.


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




Strengths of Black Iron Inc. | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Black Iron Inc. are -

Diverse revenue streams

– Black Iron Inc. is present in almost all the verticals within the Metal Mining industry. This has provided Black Iron Inc. 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.

Learning organization

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

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Black Iron Inc. 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.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Black Iron Inc. 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.

Ability to lead change in Metal Mining

– Black Iron Inc. is one of the leading players in the Metal Mining industry in Canada. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Metal Mining industry in Canada but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Black Iron Inc. in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

Digital Transformation in Metal Mining industry

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

Strong track record of project management in the Metal Mining industry

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

Ability to recruit top talent

– Black Iron Inc. is one of the leading players in the Metal Mining industry in Canada. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in Canada. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Organizational Resilience of Black Iron Inc.

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Black Iron Inc. comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Metal Mining 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.

Training and development

– Black Iron Inc. 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.

Innovation driven organization

– Black Iron Inc. is one of the most innovative firm in Metal Mining sector.






Weaknesses of Black Iron Inc. | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Black Iron Inc. are -

Workers concerns about automation

– As automation is fast increasing in the Metal Mining industry, Black Iron Inc. 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 bargaining power of channel partners in Metal Mining industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in Canada, Black Iron Inc. 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 Metal Mining industry.

Lack of clear differentiation of Black Iron Inc. products

– To increase the profitability and margins on the products, Black Iron Inc. needs to provide more differentiated products than what it is currently offering in the marketplace.

High operating costs

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

Aligning sales with marketing

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

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

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Black Iron Inc. has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Metal Mining industry over the last five years. Black Iron Inc. 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 Black Iron Inc. strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Black Iron Inc. 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.

Need for greater diversity

– Black Iron Inc. 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.

No frontier risks strategy

– From the 10K / annual statement of Black Iron Inc., it seems that company is thinking out the frontier risks that can impact Metal Mining 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.

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Black Iron Inc. 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 Metal Mining industry using digital technology.




Black Iron Inc. Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Black Iron Inc. are -

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Black Iron Inc. in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Metal Mining industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Black Iron Inc. 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.

Reforming the budgeting process

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

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Black Iron Inc. 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 Metal Mining industry.

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. Black Iron Inc. can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

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

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Manufacturing automation

– Black Iron Inc. can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Metal Mining 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.

Creating value in data economy

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

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Black Iron Inc. 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.

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 Black Iron Inc. 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.

Buying journey improvements

– Black Iron Inc. can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Metal Mining 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.




Threats Black Iron Inc. External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Black Iron Inc. are -

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 Black Iron Inc. in the Metal Mining sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Black Iron Inc. 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 Metal Mining industry and other sectors.

Regulatory challenges

– Black Iron Inc. 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 Metal Mining industry regulations.

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. Black Iron Inc. 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.

Learning curve for new practices

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

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Black Iron Inc. 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.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Black Iron Inc. 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 Metal Mining industry.

Environmental challenges

– Black Iron Inc. 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. Black Iron Inc. can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Metal Mining industry.

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.

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Black Iron Inc. 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 Black Iron Inc. prominent markets.

Increasing wage structure of Black Iron Inc.

– 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 Black Iron Inc..

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Black Iron Inc. is facing in Metal Mining sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Black Iron Inc. Template, Example


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



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