Page 4: Identifying the challenge
A key business tool for planning an appropriate strategy for an organisation is a SWOT analysis which identifies the internal strengths and weaknesses of a company and/or its products and the external opportunities and threats facing the organisation.
In developing a Joinery Strategy for its Woodcare Division, business planners at Akzo Nobel needed to look carefully at the key elements in the SWOT. One of the Woodcare Division’s weaknesses in the 1990’s was its focus. It concentrated on providing traditional solutions to people’s needs for windows and doors in houses - i.e. coatings for timber when many householders were replacing the wooden frames of their parents’ and grandparents’ houses with PVC-u substitutes. Competitors posed a threat by supplying PVC-u solutions to householders through direct selling techniques.
However, by investing in ongoing product development, Akzo Nobel’s Woodcare Division was building on its reputation for launching technologically advanced coating systems and products. This reputation has passed the test of time. Wooden windows and doors are associated with the UK’s history of quality craftsmanship.
However, more and more people began to understand the importance of sustainable business practice. Pressure groups, governments and informed sources within the construction industry began to question practices that were harmful to the environment. This opened a new window of opportunity for sustainable products such as Sikkens and Sadolin.
One of the most powerful arguments in favour of using timber for windows and doors is the environmental one. Timber is a natural product and a truly renewable resource, the production and processing of which when carefully managed can have no negative and many positive effects on our environment.