Want to find NCR? Follow the money. A leading maker of ATMs, the company also makes point-of-sale (POS) terminals and bar code scanners and associated consumables. Other retail and financial systems offerings include check image processing systems and self-service kiosks for hospitality, health care, retail, and travel applications and for dispensing DVDs. NCR's services unit provides maintenance and support, as well as professional services, such as systems integration and managed services. The company's target markets include entertainment, financial services, public sector, retail and hospitality, travel and gaming, and technology services. More than half of NCR's sales are outside the US.
NCR has come a long way since its incorporation in 1884 when it was known as National Cash Register, and the company continues to broaden its product line and move into new markets. Expansion of its self-service systems has included self-checkout kiosks in hotels and casinos, as well as ordering and payment systems for restaurants.
NCR uses periodic acquisitions to expand its holdings. The company purchased Radiant Systems in 2011 for $1.2 billion to expand its presence in the hospitality and retail industries. NCR is forming a new division devoted to those markets around the Radiant Systems business. NCR bought Scotland-based mobile content provider Mobiqa in 2010 as part of its effort to build out its mobile software platform, and expand its business in the UK. Mobiqa specializes in mobile boarding passes for airlines.
In 2009 NCR acquired TNR Holdings, an operator of DVD rental kiosks. It made the purchase to expand its SelfServ Entertainment line, and installed the units in supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide. The kiosks operate under the Blockbuster Express brand. NCR's alliance with Blockbuster began in 2008 with a pilot kiosk program. Self-service and retail kiosks, which reduce the need for personnel, became important business segments as financial firms tightened budgets and spent less on new ATMs.
The company further expanded the Blockbuster partnership in 2009 with its acquisition of DVDPlay, which operated about 1,300 DVD rental kiosks in North America. Those kiosks were rebranded as Blockbuster Express outlets. NCR continues to deploy Blocbuster Express kiosks in venues such as supermarkets and convenience stores across the country, with more than 7,000 machines in place in 2011. Blockbuster competitor Redbox Automated Retail has more than 30,000 DVD rental kiosks across the US.
Though NCR has been active in acquisitions, it sold its healthcare operations to QuadraMed in early 2012, but has partnered with QuadraMed as a reseller of hardware and self-service products for check-in and identification management.
With a direct sales force handling about 90% of its sales, NCR markets its products worldwide. The company reorganized its operational structure in 2008, shifting from product-based business units to geographic divisions. The restructuring allowed NCR to reduce redundancies and process inefficiencies. Continuing to struggle with profitability in 2009, due to the global economic downturn, the company cut about 10% of its workforce. Sales fell by 13% during the year. Customers in the financial services industry were affected by the credit crisis, while retailers experienced a harsh environment during 2009 as well. The company's cost-cutting and restructuring paid off as both revenue and cash flow improved for 2010 in the midst of a slowly improving business climate that increased demand.
While many companies continue the trend of outsourcing manufacturing to third-party contractors, NCR is going in the opposite direction, opening two new plants for making ATMs in Brazil and the US during 2009 and new POS plants in the US and Hungary the following year. The moves ended its outsourcing agreement with Flextronics International, the giant contract electronics manufacturer. NCR continues to rely on transaction processing services from Accenture; it purchases microprocessors and other semiconductors from Intel and computer operating system software from Microsoft.
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