As part of ISO9001:2015, companies are expected to identify external and internal factors (Clause 4.1) relevant to the context of the company. Companies are encouraged to only focus on issues that can affect customer satisfaction and delivery of quality product and/or service.
SWOT is a recognised and structured strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses (Internal), Opportunities and Threats (External) that can have an impact on a business.
Internal (Strengths and Weaknesses)
Strengths and weaknesses of a company refer to the internal factors which give a company an advantage or disadvantage in meeting customer requirements, such as its culture, values, processes and organisational structure. Strengths refer to the company’s core competencies which give the company an advantage, whereas weaknesses (as seen from a customer perspective) refer to limitations that a company may encounter in meeting their customers’ needs.
Internal analysis concentrates on two overarching areas: Resources and Capabilities.
External (Opportunities and Threats)
Opportunities and threats are considered to be independent from the company. Opportunities are areas in which the company can look to develop. Threats are barriers preventing the company from reaching objectives.
External Analysis concentrates on 4 primary areas: Customers, competitors, the market and the environment.
According to ISO9001:2015, Internal and External analysis will need to be revisited regularly and any changes communicated to relevant personnel. The standard highlights that internal and external analysis doesn’t have to be documented but the company is expected to show how it’s been considered, for example through a business plan and management review meetings (Clause 9.3).
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