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I first came across SWOT when attending a training session in 1992 that was sponsored by the Tyneside office of the DTI, to introduce the concept to business owners and managers.

It was quite radical back in the day but many delegates saw how it could be a useful tool to help them improve their organization, myself included.

As part of our philosophy of continually working hard and objectively to remain in pole position as the Brand Leader within the global marine industry with our SOLASOLV® Type Approved anti-glare roller sunscreens as navigation safety aids and our ROLASOLV® Type Approved bespoke marine grade roller blinds, we all took part in a SWOT Analysis exercise recently.

The objective was to establish what Solar Solve’s employees thought were the company’s main Strengths and Weaknesses, which are influenced by internal factors and the main Opportunities and Threats  that could influence the business as a result of external factors.  We had to identify 10 for each group and then, through a voting system, select the top 3 in each group so that we could discuss them with a view to maximizing the use of our main Strengths and take advantage of the Opportunities.  We also suggested ways to overcome our main Weaknesses and Threats.

Whilst the session was in progress it was pretty obvious that, like most businesses, we think we already do everything brilliantly but the old adage states that ‘there is always room for improvement’.  For the team at Solar Solve it’s hard to know how.

For example; some businesses pack the kind of products that we make, in cardboard boxes and send them all over the world, with a card inside that lets the customer know if anything is damaged when it arrives they will repair or replace them free of charge.  They consider it to be good customer service, completely ignoring the frustration and inconvenience to the customer by not having use of the goods that they ordered as soon as they arrive and having to wait for the repairs or replacements.  

Solar Solve products are impeccably packed in tailor-made wooden boxes, even if they are only destined for a UK address, so that they always arrive in perfect condition ready for immediate use.  We refer to this as Excellent Customer Service.  In addition, so far during the first 6 months of this year, EVERY order has been dispatched from our factory on time and arrived at the destination when required by the customer.

We have our work cut out trying to make improvements but I know we will find some things that can be done.