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Shanxi Antai (600408) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Shanxi Antai (China)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Shanxi Antai is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – geopolitical disruptions, there is backlash against globalization, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, increasing energy prices, supply chains are disrupted by pandemic , challanges to central banks by blockchain based private currencies, wage bills are increasing, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Shanxi Antai


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




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

The strengths of Shanxi Antai are -

Diverse revenue streams

– Shanxi Antai is present in almost all the verticals within the Iron & Steel industry. This has provided Shanxi Antai 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.

Innovation driven organization

– Shanxi Antai is one of the most innovative firm in Iron & Steel sector.

Training and development

– Shanxi Antai 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.

Analytics focus

– Shanxi Antai 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 Iron & Steel 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.

Low bargaining power of suppliers

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

Ability to lead change in Iron & Steel

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

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

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

Organizational Resilience of Shanxi Antai

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

High brand equity

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

Highly skilled collaborators

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

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Shanxi Antai comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Iron & Steel 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.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Shanxi Antai is one of the leading players in the Iron & Steel industry in China. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in China. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.






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

The weaknesses of Shanxi Antai are -

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Shanxi Antai has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Iron & Steel industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Lack of clear differentiation of Shanxi Antai products

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

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of China, Shanxi Antai needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

Skills based hiring in Iron & Steel industry

– The stress on hiring functional specialists at Shanxi Antai 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.

Compensation and incentives

– The revenue per employee of Shanxi Antai is just above the Iron & Steel 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.

Slow to harness new channels of communication

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

Ability to respond to the competition

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

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

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Shanxi Antai 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 Iron & Steel industry using digital technology.

Aligning sales with marketing

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

Employees’ less understanding of Shanxi Antai strategy

– From the outside it seems that the employees of Shanxi Antai 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.




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


The opportunities of Shanxi Antai are -

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Iron & Steel industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Shanxi Antai 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. Shanxi Antai 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.

Using analytics as competitive advantage

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

Better consumer reach

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

Reforming the budgeting process

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

Manufacturing automation

– Shanxi Antai can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Iron & Steel 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

– Shanxi Antai can develop new processes and procedures in Iron & Steel 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.

Increase in government spending

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

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

Use of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies for transactions in Iron & Steel industry

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

Low interest rates

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

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

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

Creating value in data economy

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

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 Shanxi Antai 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.




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


The threats of Shanxi Antai are -

Increasing international competition and downward pressure on margins

– Apart from technology driven competitive advantage dilution, Shanxi Antai 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 Shanxi Antai prominent markets.

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. Shanxi Antai needs to understand the core reasons impacting the Iron & Steel industry. This will help it in building a better workplace.

Environmental challenges

– Shanxi Antai 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. Shanxi Antai can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Iron & Steel industry.

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

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.

Shortening product life cycle

– it is one of the major threat that Shanxi Antai is facing in Iron & Steel sector. It can lead to higher research and development costs, higher marketing expenses, lower customer loyalty, etc.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Shanxi Antai 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 Iron & Steel industry.

Learning curve for new practices

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

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 Shanxi Antai in the Iron & Steel sector and impact the bottomline of the organization.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Shanxi Antai 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.

Increasing wage structure of Shanxi Antai

– 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 Shanxi Antai.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Shanxi Antai in Iron & Steel industry. The Iron & Steel 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.

Barriers of entry lowering

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




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Shanxi Antai Template, Example


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



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