A SWOT analysis is used for businesses to determine their current internal and external positions within their industry. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The internal factors are strengths and weaknesses while the external factors include opportunities and threats. This article serves as a general SWOT analysis for certified organizations. While many of these factors are applicable, it is important to know that each individual business will have different internal and external factors.
The strength section analyzes the internal organization environment. This is used for businesses to understand what strengths that are already in place that can be utilized for future opportunities. Strengths for certified organizations include:
- Higher level of assurance with quality products and services due to the rigorous international standards set by the International Organization for Standardization.
- Improved systems as a result of annual and bi-annual audits to ensure that processes for the development of products and services are up to ISO standards.
- Cost-reduction long-term due to improved systems. This reduces the amount of cost needed for refund or repair services.
The weaknesses section examines the shortcomings of the organization that has the potential to hinder future endeavors. Weaknesses can include:
- Product or service processes can suffer from not personalizing methods to meet the organization’s personal goals and objectives. This can often be the result of using online forms to copy and paste an organization’s information. Often, this leads to restrictive processes that can hinder an organization due to the lack of personalized objectives or processes.
- The long process of certification. While times may vary depending on the number of non-conformances, the size of the organization, the amount and size of sites belonging to said organization (among other factors), the certification process can take a varying amount of time.
The opportunity section highlights the potential endeavors in which a business could invest or expand. Opportunities could include the creation of new products, the formation of partnerships with other organizations, and expansion into other industries. Other opportunities include:
- Marketing enhancement that focuses on the company’s certification standard. Due to its widely known standards, customers associate premier quality with businesses that are certified, creating an opportunity for a larger audience base, if marketed correctly.
- Capacity for innovation due to constant audits. With the certification body continuously checking for standard requirements, the organization has the opportunity to expand upon and refine its processes.
The final section, threats, evaluates the external factors that could affect the organization’s ability to engage in new opportunities. Threats can include:
- An ever-changing economy. While it is difficult to fully predict the economy, using a strategic foresight team to predict patterns can alleviate the shock of an instable economy.
- Failure to keep up with technological advances. Similar to the economy, technology continues to be constantly changing. If an organization is able to predict trends and gaps within their industry, it won’t pose a threat; rather, the organization could create new innovations within their industry.