In-country supply chain assessment

The in-country supply chain assessment makes use of the findings from the Assess Step and shows how to use them to support decision-making around outsourcing and vendor selection.

In this section you will learn:

  • The implications and expected outcomes of a supply chain assessment and SWOT analysis
  • How the SWOT analysis can support decision-making
  • The typical inputs required to build the SWOT analysis

How does a SWOT analysis provide a baseline view of supply chain gaps and opportunities for outsourcing?

After completing one of the supply chain assessment approaches in Assess you should have quantified and qualified results captured and reviewed for each functional area, geography and/or level in the supply chain. You should also have begun to identify which functions are underperforming and require further analysis. In this step, you will now use that data to undertake a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a widely used organisational tool which refers to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

You can use a SWOT analysis to analyse organisational strengths and weaknesses in relation to performance against your supply chain mandate and objectives. A SWOT analysis will help you answer questions like:

  • What capacity exists to improve performance?
  • What opportunities and/or threats exist to retain in-house services versus the consideration for outsourcing?

The evaluation process for outsourcing should leverage and build on existing strengths, improve weaknesses, of the organisation and take advantage of opportunities and plan how to mitigate threats. Inputs from the supply chain assessment, the organisational SWOT analysis and the functional key performance indicator (KPIs) scores can be used to determine what functional gaps exist and the potential for outsourcing.

The SWOT analysis framework from UNICEF

SWOT helps identify both positive and negative influences that are either under control of the organisation (strengths and weaknesses) or beyond its control (opportunities and threats).

Most SWOT analyses start with internal factors, however, it is recommended to first examine the external factors — opportunities and threats — and then proceed to the internal ones. This helps keep a stronger focus on results and helps you identify which threats are ‘critical threats’ (i.e. those that are compounded by corresponding weaknesses) and which opportunities are ‘promising opportunities’ (i.e. those that are matched by corresponding strengths).

The SWOT analysis framework below includes the typical inputs required to build the SWOT analysis.

Favourable for achieving objectives

Unfavourable for achieving objectives

External origin


Opportunities are external factors. They are found in the operational context within which the project, initiative or decision will be implemented.

Examples include:

  • Relationships or partnerships that can be applied or drawn upon
  • New information that has become available
  • Practices adopted by other organisations/actors in addressing similar challenges, which suggest opportunities
  • Potential funding sources; efficiency gains from reallocation of resources
  • Events or trends that offer opportunities: Political (government policies), economic (rising prosperity), social (behavioural or demographic change), technological (innovations)


Like opportunities, threats are external factors in the operating context for the project, initiative or decision.

Examples include:

  • Events or trends that could threaten the project/initiative or that put progress at risk: Political, economic, social, technological, environmental, legal
  • Risks and disadvantages that could be incurred: risks to staff and/or partners, to populations, reputational risk, financial risk, political risk, costs, additional responsibilities, etc.
  • Time, including deadlines, unrealistic timelines
  • Other actors (harmful competition, contrary interests)

Internal origin


Strengths are internal to the organisation. They include any kinds of capabilities or resources that the organisation has (and potentially any partner or stakeholders involved).

Examples include:

  • Political: power, influence, connectedness
  • Economic or financial resources; Cost/competitiveness advantages
  • Capital assets, infrastructure, equipment
  • Skills, experience, knowledge (including academic or theoretical, and practical or applied knowledge)
  • Data, especially if it is unique or hard-to-replicate
  • Comparative advantages in systems, processes, quality standards
  • Geographical advantages


Similar to strengths, weaknesses are internal factors within the organisation (or partnership) that would undermine the project/initiative.

Examples include:

  • Existing gaps in capabilities or resources in the implementing organisation(s). Weaknesses which will take effect in the future, e.g. departure of key staff, expiry of funds, etc.
  • Known vulnerabilities: what the organisation does not do well - every organisation has such vulnerabilities to inform planning process
  • Other competing priorities (which may be core activities), pressures and internally imposed timelines that detract from available capacity