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By Dr. Shruti Bhat, PhD (Tech), MBA, Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
Success of a Continuous Improvement campaign in any organization depends on several factors such as- change leader, strategy, implementation, tools etc.
One such valuable tool is SWOT.
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threat.
A SWOT analysis helps one figure out which advantages and disadvantages are currently present in an organization as well as the environment outside of the organization. It is a helpful tool in developing better understanding of the overall condition and to make the best choices in terms of making decisions and strategizing. While it is commonly used in business and similar industries for market analysis, SWOT can actually be used excellently for continuous improvement campaigns.
SWOT analysis is used as a method of assessment and is a commonly integrated tool that is used with project management as well. Ideally, SWOT analysis should be used at the earliest stages of decision making for improving strategies or a continuous improvement program. It is meant to be the first stage of action since it helps determine the subsequent stages. Ideas that can come after SWOT analysis include new ideas, decision-making capabilities, strategies, and identification of problematic areas, redefining current processes and potential change.
It is up to the organization as to who to choose to take part in SWOT analysis. The owner, CEO of the organization should be included in the process along with grass-root stage employees. SWOT analysis can be performed as often as necessary. Many companies find it beneficial to perform SWOT analysis on a quarterly basis in order to keep up to date with the problems and high points of the processes and to get rid of the problems before they affect/ effect the organization in a substantial manner.
SWOT analysis draws attention to the four points labeled in the name. In order to improve an organization, the advantages and disadvantages need to be recognized and analyzed in order to come with up with a good plan of action. Those involved in the SWOT analysis are required to come up with individual tables that are divided into four columns (relating to each element). This makes it easier to make comparisons.
The Strengths and Weaknesses are internal elements in the organization. This can include resources such as capital, financial and human resources, as well processes that are currently used in the organization. In order to get the most out of the SWOT analysis, those filling in the strengths and weaknesses should be as honest as possible. The external elements covered by SWOT analysis include trends, such as economic or market, demographics and funding.
There are over 100 Continuous Improvement tools, some more important than others. For more information about Continuous Improvement Tools, please do checkout my book '30 Proven tools to drive Profitability, Quality and Operational Efficiency in Manufacturing & Service Industry'.
Shruti Bhat, PhD (Tech.), MBA, Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is Continuous Improvement mastermind for Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Industry. She is often called "Profitability expert'. More about Shruti at http://www.shrutibhat.com/
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Dr. Shruti U. Bhat
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Continuous Improvement and Business Transformation Consultant
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