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3M SWOT & PESTLE Analysis

ID : 52112453| Sep 2020| 15 pages


Business Sector :Industrial Manufacturing, Diversified

Operating Geography :North America, United States, Global

About 3M :

The 3M Company (earlier known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company) founded in 1902, is an industrial conglomerate based in Minnesota, United States. 3M is one of the leading manufacturers of several products like adhesives, tapes, abrasives, films, filtration, advanced materials, etc. suitable for various markets. 3M owns top brands like Post-It, Scotch, Scotch Brite, Command, ScotchBlue, Nexcare, Filtrete, etc. 3M's operations are governed by five key business segments, viz., Industrial, Safety and Graphics, Health Care, Electronics and Energy, and Consumer. It employs close to 93,516 people globally as of early 2019 with direct operations in more than 70 countries, sales in nearly 200 countries and manufactures more than 60,000 products. 3M has been listed as one of the 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere for the sixth year in a row.
3M’s corporate vision as per the company annual report is “3M Technology Advancing Every Company, 3M Products Enhancing Every Home, 3M Innovation Improving Every Life.”
3M’s USP or Unique Selling Proposition sprawls in being one of the leading names in the conglomerate's sector. Advancement in Technology and Innovation are not only its USP but key success factors that have led to its rapid organic growth.

3M Revenue :

USD 32.765 billion- FY ending 31st December 2018 (y-o-y growth of +3.4%)
USD 31.657 billion- FY ending 31st December 2017

Ownership / Major shareholders :

As of September 2018, the major shareholders of the company are as follows –
1) Vanguard Group (8.33%)
2) State Street (7.35%)
3) BlackRock Fund Advisors (6.67%)

Competitive Analysis of 3M

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company started as a small-scale mining venture in Northern Minnesota. Today, 3M through its Scientific, technical and marketing innovations has become a constant name on the Fortune 500 list. With more than 60,000 3M products being used in homes, businesses, factories, institutions, hospitals, and other industries 3M is one of the leading brands in the conglomerates' sector. The SWOT analysis is therefore essential to identify the internal strengths and external opportunities that lead to the saturation of the company. The analysis also presents information on the weaknesses and threats to the company that can hinder its growth.
The cutting edge technology platforms, innovative manufacturing capabilities, renowned brands under its umbrella, operations in over 70 countries and sales in nearly 200 countries are the core competencies of 3M that present this conglomerate mammoth with a competitive advantage. Likewise, internal factors like robust financial position, strong R&D capacity, diversified business models, broad product portfolio, strong employee base etc., are also the most prominent strengths of 3M.
Operating in multiple diverse industries, markets, and sectors attract challenges like litigation matters, environmental issues, a constant requirement for investment, lack of focus and a wide range of competitors. These weaknesses can lead to mistakes that can hurt the brand image of 3M globally.
Acquisitions, tie-ups, new product development, diversification in businesses, emerging markets, natural improvements in various industries etc., are devising growth opportunities for 3M. Rapidly wavering technology is a threat to the company as technology is 3M's core priority and it directly impacts the manufacturing and supply process. 3M faces stringent competition threat from a broad range of rivals across various industries and markets, leading to loss of market share.
The SWOT analysis for 3M is presented below in a matrix followed by the detailed analysis:
1. Diverse product portfolio and global reach
2. Business model linked to key megatrends
3. Consistently strong financials
4. Supply chain provides a strong competitive advantage
5. Strong focus on research and development (R&D) driving innovation
6. Corporate restructuring and product portfolio optimization
1. Multiple focus areas
2. Involvement in various litigations
1. Electric vehicles a high growth market area, given 3M’s business presence
2. Business transformation to bring in long-term benefits
3. Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) in strategic high growth areas
1. Strong US Dollar may impact sales
2. United States trade relations and protectionism
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of 3M



1. Diverse product portfolio and global reach: 3M manufactures more than 55,000 products across diverse industry segments such as healthcare, industrial and safety equipment, electronics and consumer goods. It has direct operations in more than 65 countries and indirectly sells its products in over 200 countries globally. 3M’s global capabilities include its front-and back-office footprint which enables the effective development, transformation and marketing of its products. Strategic acquisitions such as Scott Safety, a premier safety solutions company in 2017 and of Elution Technologies in food testing, also in 2017 will help 3M strengthen its existing portfolio and make it more relevant to its customers. Further 3M is a globally respected and renowned organization known for quality and innovative products which translates into a major strength for the company.

2. Business model linked to key megatrends: 3M’s business model is linked to key global megatrends in order to develop relevant solutions. Sustainability, digital economy, urbanization and global middle class are the megatrends created as a result of technology conversion and demographic shift. With diversified business units spanning across areas such as healthcare, industrial and safety equipment, electronics and consumer goods, 3M uniquely positioned to win in all types of economies.

3. Consistently strong financials: 3M has consistently delivered strong financial performance over the years. The company reported an EPS of $7.93 and a record dividend of $4.70 in FY2017, which was the 59th consecutive year of increase in dividend. The company also has delivered strong returns to its shareholders, with $2.8 billion paid through cash dividends and another $2.1 billion through buyback of 3M’s shares.

4. Supply chain provides a strong competitive advantage: 3M’s supply chain provides it a strong competitive advantage. The company has built an agile supply chain through initiatives such as optimized global processes, accelerated disruptive technology deployment and regionalized supply chains. The supply chain which is data driven with real-time process and product control will help in superior quality and shortest lead times for 3M’s customers. Some of the company’s disruptive technologies which has been leveraged in the optimization of the supply chain include robotics and automation, automated web inspection, micro tribology web transport systems and artificial intelligence and machine learning. The implementation of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) has also added on to 3M’s strong process culture with more than 77,000+ trained employees in the LSS method since 2001.

5. Strong focus on research and development (R&D) driving innovation: 3M has continued its strong focus on R&D with spend of $1.7 billion in 2016 and $1.9 billion in FY17 which translates to about 6 percent of its revenues for both the years. This helps it to expand its scientific capabilities across business lines on a global scale. 3M Company has created a culture which encourages risk-taking, collaboration and big thinking which helps its employees which includes 8,000 scientists to strive to do things not just better, but also differently. The broad technology portfolio enables 3M to leverage the diverse elements to produce unique, innovative products which help it to gain premium market share.

6. Corporate restructuring and product portfolio optimization: 3M completed a corporate restructuring exercise which will result in savings of 4,130 million in 2016 and beyond. The focus of the exercise was on overall structure and slow-growth markets like U.S., Latin America and the Europe. 3M also consolidated Health Care business portfolio in 2015 merging dental and orthodontics into one oral care solutions unit. In the last four years, since 2012, 3M has realigned from 40 businesses to 26 and from six business groups to five.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.

Major Competitors :

Major Brands :

  • 3M
  • Scotch
  • Scotch-Brite
  • Post-it
  • Nexcare
  • 3M Thinsulate

Key Business Segments / Diversification :

Safety and Graphics Health Care Electronics and Energy
Industrial Consumer

Recent Acquisition / Mergers / Alliance / Joint Ventures / Divestitures :

Open Table Preview
Business Segment
Objective/Synergy Achieved
Scott SafetySafety products2017AcquisitionThe acquisition of Scott Safety’s combines its well-regarded safety products, with 3M’s products, brands and global capabilities in personal protective equipment. This will provide 3M a broader array of safety products and solutions.
Elution TechnologiesFoot testing equipment 2017AcquisitionThe acquisition strengthens 3M’s presence food safety product segment.
Capital Safety Group S.A.R.LSafety products2015AcquisitionThe acquisition strengthens 3M’s presence in fall protection equipment.
Source: Company website and other reliable sources. The detailed table is available in the Complete Report.
SWOT & PESTLE (combined)
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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies


1. The SWOT and PESTLE analysis report of 3M Company presents an understanding of the complex internal and external factors affecting the brand and its operations
2. The SWOT report presents an in-depth analysis of the internal factors like the strengths and weakness of 3M and provides strategic intelligence on opportunities and threats prevailing in the external environment
3. The summary of strategic initiatives that were taken by 3M to stay ahead of its peers and competitors and attain a competitive advantage
4. The PESTLE analysis of the manufacturing industry helps to recognize the current trends and factors that impact the industrial manufacturing market.
5. Employment of the PESTLE/ PESTEL/ STEEPL analysis for the overall analysis of all external factors namely, political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental and highlighting their outcome on the operation of 3M
6. An extensive view of the business model of 3M with further categorization and examination of key business segments and business case study
7. Intelligence on 3M’s mergers and acquisition, its subsidiaries, capital raising and equity, partnership and alliances that were subscribed by 3M to achieve its milestones, business aims, and synergies.
8. Comprehensive company analysis to obtain company information, company profile, business model, marketing and growth strategy.
9. A glimpse of 3M's USP or unique selling proposition, mission statement, and vision statement
10. Exposure to 3M's value proposition, key performance indicators, success factors, and core competencies that contributed to the fullness of the company
References used in 3M Analysis Report

1. Annual report 2017-

2. Revenue 2018-

3. Nike Website-

4. Sustainability-

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SWOT & (2020). 3M SWOT & PESTLE Analysis - SWOT & [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Nov, 2020].

In-text: (SWOT &, 2020)

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