Benefits of SWOT Analysis in the Sanitation Industry

Conducting a SWOT analysis benefits the sanitation industry by identifying its internal Strengths (S), Weaknesses (W) and its external Opportunities (O) and Threats (T). Companies use SWOT analyses to evaluate their competitiveness within their industry as well as to identify strategies for the future.

Let’s dive into how to conduct a SWOT analysis and examine its benefits and limitations. A SWOT analysis should be data-and team-driven to reduce subjectivity. Consider using an agile approach to conduct the analysis as it will not only best utilize brainstorming but will chunk out the analysis within a specific set of iterations. An iteration is a one-to-four-week time frame to develop a project like a SWOT analysis. This means that you can expect a detailed SWOT analysis to take four to 16 weeks to complete since there are four sub-factors to discern.

Key takeaway: SWOTs taking 10 minutes to throw together will present no real benefit to your organization. Data matters.

Why Understanding SWOT Analysis Matters

SWOT analysis is a tool that helps companies visualize where they stand strategically within an industry. Usually written as a 4-quadrant matrix, SWOTs list internal factors on the left and external factors on the right. Underneath the internal factors is a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses. Under the external factors are the opportunities and threats to the company.

Internal Factors

Examine both your sanitation company’s tangible and intangible resources like profitability, employee culture, and branding. Capabilities include functions, goals, and SMART objectives. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Such objectives can determine if a SWOT analysis is necessary and why.

Start with your sanitation company’s strengths and weaknesses. Strengths help your company, while weaknesses harm your company.

Examples of strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths: Helpful

  • How does your sanitation company excel in the sanitation industry?
  • What separates your sanitation company from its competition?

Weaknesses: Harmful

  • How can your sanitation company improve itself to remain competitive in the industry?
  • What limitations does your sanitation company face that inhibits developing a strategy for remaining competitive?

External Factors

Customer analysis, competition, marketing, demographics, and trends factor into external uncertainties. Opportunities help your company, while threats harm your company.

Examples of opportunities and threats:

Opportunities: Helpful

  • How can your sanitation company convert existing strengths into opportunities?
  • What sanitation industry trends can you use to your advantage?

Threats: Harmful

  • What are external barriers to reaching company objectives?
  • What negative sanitation industry trends are harming your sanitation company?

The key takeaway is that internal factors are controllable and external factors are not controllable.

Understanding the SWOT Analysis Process

What’s your objective for doing a SWOT analysis? Remember that objectives are short-term initiatives that you meet in order to reach your longer-term goals. A SWOT analysis without clarity and focus won’t help your sanitation company’s strategy for reaching its goals. Once you define your objective for conducting the analysis, you need to understand the SWOT process.

  • Approach: who will be involved in the analysis, and why were they chosen?
  • Facilitator: who will facilitate the process?
  • Context: why are you conducting the analysis?
  • Brainstorming: getting ideas down on paper for later discussion.
  • Filter out like ideas: hone the ideas into manageable talking points. Each quadrant should list only 3 to 5 points.
  • Deep dive:  discuss meaning, relevance and facilitate cohesiveness
  • Connection: how does the SWOT connect to your sanitation company’s goals?
  • Implementation: how will you use your analysis?

It’s best practice to address objectives and priorities first, assess your competitive advantage, and know where to find your quantitative information within your sanitation company and its people. For efficiency’s sake, those contributing to the SWOT analysis need to understand its importance and the benefits of its undertaking.

Understanding the Benefits of a SWOT Analysis

By conducting your sanitation company’s SWOT analysis, you essentially get four assessments at once. This renders a holistic company view, allowing companies to identify strategies that will capitalize on and protect strengths and eradicate weaknesses while, exploiting external opportunities and countering threats. Strengths and weaknesses work in tandem with opportunities as well as threats. You don’t want to isolate any quadrant or your SWOT analysis will be at best subjective with an incomplete picture of future strategies and company needs.

SWOT benefits include:

  • An easy-to-understand framework of information
  • Flexibility
  • A highly visual matrix
  • Quantitative and qualitative data
  • Any organization or individual can use it
  • Synthesized and integrated data
  • Cost-efficiency: no need to hire external analysts
  • Simple or detailed assessments depending on the need
  • Continuous improvement
  • Strategies for future growth

Key takeaway: whether you analyze your company within the sanitation industry as a whole, or specify whether a project is worth furthering, or want to identify product competitiveness within your strategic market, a detailed, well-advised SWOT analysis will benefit planning.

Turning SWOT Limitations Into Benefits

SWOTs are only as effective as the leadership that examines and implements it. Some limitations include:

  • Oversimplifying issues
  • Lack of clarity
  • No hierarchy dictating focus 
  • Doesn’t help companies to prioritize or strategize
  • Subjectivity can skew analysis without data 

Turn limitations into benefits by understanding that the integrity of your SWOT analysis depends on creating a multidimensional approach to informed decision-making. 

SWOT Synthesis and Integration

SWOT analysis organizes your sanitation company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats into a straightforward, cost-effective framework that allows collaborative synthesis and integration of both quantitative and qualitative data. The diverse information, previously known or recently acquired, becomes part of an open exchange of ideas among various functional and operational areas in a sanitation company seeking its competitive edge within the sanitation industry.

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