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Shanghai M&G Stationery (603899) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Shanghai M&G Stationery (China)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Shanghai M&G Stationery is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – central banks are concerned over increasing inflation, increasing energy prices, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, there is backlash against globalization, increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, banking and financial system is disrupted by Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Shanghai M&G Stationery


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




Strengths of Shanghai M&G Stationery | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Shanghai M&G Stationery are -

Diverse revenue streams

– Shanghai M&G Stationery is present in almost all the verticals within the Office Supplies industry. This has provided Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

Analytics focus

– Shanghai M&G Stationery 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 Office Supplies industry. The technology infrastructure of China 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.

Organizational Resilience of Shanghai M&G Stationery

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

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Shanghai M&G Stationery 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 Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

Strong track record of project management in the Office Supplies industry

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

Successful track record of launching new products

– Shanghai M&G Stationery has launched numerous new products in last few years, keeping in mind evolving customer preferences and competitive pressures. Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

Superior customer experience

– The customer experience strategy of Shanghai M&G Stationery in Office Supplies industry is based on four key concepts – personalization, simplification of complex needs, prompt response, and continuous engagement.

Training and development

– Shanghai M&G Stationery has one of the best training and development program in Consumer/Non-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.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Shanghai M&G Stationery comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Office Supplies 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.

Highly skilled collaborators

– Shanghai M&G Stationery has highly efficient outsourcing and offshoring strategy. It has resulted in greater operational flexibility and bringing down the costs in highly price sensitive Office Supplies industry. Secondly the value chain collaborators of Shanghai M&G Stationery have helped the firm to develop new products and bring them quickly to the marketplace.






Weaknesses of Shanghai M&G Stationery | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Shanghai M&G Stationery are -

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Shanghai M&G Stationery is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Shanghai M&G Stationery to provide better information regarding Office Supplies products and services. It can also build an online community to further reach out to potential customers.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Shanghai M&G Stationery is just above the Office Supplies industry average. It needs to redesign the compensation structure and incentives to increase the revenue per employees. Some of the steps that it can take are – hiring more specialists on project basis, etc.

Products dominated business model

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

High dependence on Shanghai M&G Stationery ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Shanghai M&G Stationery still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Office Supplies industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Shanghai M&G Stationery has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

High bargaining power of channel partners in Office Supplies industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in China, Shanghai M&G Stationery 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 Office Supplies industry.

Need for greater diversity

– Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Shanghai M&G Stationery has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Office Supplies industry over the last five years. Shanghai M&G Stationery 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 Shanghai M&G Stationery strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

Skills based hiring in Office Supplies industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Shanghai M&G Stationery 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 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 Shanghai M&G Stationery supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Shanghai M&G Stationery is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Shanghai M&G Stationery vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.

Interest costs

– Compare to the competition, Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.




Shanghai M&G Stationery Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Shanghai M&G Stationery are -

Finding new ways to collaborate

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

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Shanghai M&G Stationery 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 Shanghai M&G Stationery to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Office Supplies industry

– The popularity of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as asset class and medium of transaction has opened new opportunities for Shanghai M&G Stationery in the Office Supplies industry. Now Shanghai M&G Stationery can target international markets with far fewer capital restrictions requirements than the existing system.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Office Supplies industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Shanghai M&G Stationery 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. Shanghai M&G Stationery 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

– Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

Increase in government spending

– As the United States and other governments are increasing social spending and infrastructure spending to build economies post Covid-19, Shanghai M&G Stationery can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that Shanghai M&G Stationery operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Office Supplies sector.

Harnessing reconfiguration of the global supply chains

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

Manufacturing automation

– Shanghai M&G Stationery can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Office Supplies 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

– Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

Developing new processes and practices

– Shanghai M&G Stationery can develop new processes and procedures in Office Supplies 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.

Creating value in data economy

– The success of analytics program of Shanghai M&G Stationery has opened avenues for new revenue streams for the organization in Office Supplies industry. This can help Shanghai M&G Stationery to build a more holistic ecosystem for Shanghai M&G Stationery products in the Office Supplies industry by providing – data insight services, data privacy related products, data based consulting services, etc.




Threats Shanghai M&G Stationery External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Shanghai M&G Stationery 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. Shanghai M&G Stationery 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.

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 Shanghai M&G Stationery business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Office Supplies industry are lowering. It can presents Shanghai M&G Stationery with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Office Supplies sector.

Environmental challenges

– Shanghai M&G Stationery 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. Shanghai M&G Stationery can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Office Supplies industry.

Consumer confidence and its impact on Shanghai M&G Stationery 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 Office Supplies industry and other sectors.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Shanghai M&G Stationery in Office Supplies industry. The Office Supplies 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.

Easy access to finance

– Easy access to finance in Office Supplies industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. Shanghai M&G Stationery can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Shanghai M&G Stationery is facing in Office Supplies sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Shanghai M&G Stationery has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Office Supplies industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Shanghai M&G Stationery needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Office Supplies 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.

Increasing wage structure of Shanghai M&G Stationery

– 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 Shanghai M&G Stationery.

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 Shanghai M&G Stationery in the Office Supplies sector and impact the bottomline 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.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Shanghai M&G Stationery Template, Example


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



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