As companies reflect on the past year’s successes and failures, the SWOT analysis provides an ideal framework for discussion. A thorough examination of a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats can uncover aspects of customer relationships, product strategies and other areas than will help or hinder growth in the new year.
One area distributors can’t afford to ignore in their SWOT analyses this year is technology, which affects diverse business areas, including warehouse management, sales, customer service, logistics and e-commerce, says author Brent Grover in The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors. “For distributors, well-executed technology investments make a real difference.” As such, it’s a good idea to consider the benefits of upgrading current systems.
Distributors’ ability to support and leverage current systems, whether new or legacy, also warrants scrutiny. Even the most state-of-the-art internal systems are useless if employees don’t know how to use them, and insufficient training can cause both employee and customer dissatisfaction. Using the SWOT analysis, distributors should ask themselves whether the level of technology training they provide could use improvement.
Having the right technological tools and being able to use them well will be a differentiator in 2013. Distributors who are honest with themselves about how poor technology can threaten business goals will have a clear view of potential opportunities to turn those weaknesses into strengths.