About Symbol Technologies, LLC

Zebra Technologies knows where your stripes are and what that means. The company's array of technologies, which includes bar codes readers, help customers keep track of inventory, supplies, trucks, and even football players. Zebra brings that information together for analysis so customers can better deploy their assets. The company also makes and sells devices that print and read bar codes, ATM cards, drivers' licenses, labels, tickets, and receipts. Zebra's customers are in the retail, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality industries. Another customer is the National Football League, which uses tags placed on shoulder pads to track players around the field.

Operations

Zebra Technologies' Enterprise Visibility & Mobility segment accounts for almost two-thirds of the company's revenue. The unit makes mobile computing data capture and radio frequency identification devices (RFID) and provides services for installing and using those products. Common applications include asset identification and tracking and workflow management.

The Asset Intelligence & Tracking segment, about a third of revenue, offers barcode and card printers, location-based products and services, supplies, and services. Customers employ the products to locate, track, manage, and improve utilization of assets, equipment, and people.

The final assembly of Zebra's hardware products is done by third-parties, including electronics manufacturing services companies and joint design manufacturers.

Geographic Reach

Zebra Technologies is headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois, and has laboratory and warehouse facilities in the US, the UK, and Canada. The company's hardware products are made primarily in facilities in China, Mexico, and Brazil. Overall, it has facilities in more than 50 countries.

About half of Zebra's sales are to customers in the North American region and about a third are to customers in the Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region. Asia accounts for about 15% of sales.

Sales and Marketing

Zebra Technologies' customers are in retail, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, health care, hospitality, warehouse and distribution, energy and utilities, education, and government. The company is heavily invested in the three customers that account for more than 45% of its sales. Further, the biggest customer generates about 20% of sales.

The company reaches customers through its direct sales force as well as distributors, value added resellers, independent software vendors, direct marketers, and original equipment manufacturers.

Financial Performance

Over the past five years, Zebra Technologies' revenue has grown more than 250%, turbocharged in 2015 with the acquisition of Motorola Solutions' enterprise business, which tacked on about $2 billion of sales.

The company's revenue rose 4% to $3.7 billion in 2017 from 2016 with higher sales in both segments; sales in Enterprise Visibility & Mobility rose 3% and Asset Intelligence Tracking sales were up 4%. Zebra posted increased sales of mobile computing, data capture, and barcode printing products. The impact of the divestiture of the wireless LAN business in 2016 pushed services sales lower. Asia was the only region with lower revenue (down 4%) in 2017, due to lower hardware sales.

Zebra's net income popped into the black in 2017, sporting a $17 million profit following losses of $137 million in 2016 and $158 million in 2015. The company had lower operating costs (as a percentage of revenue) in 2017 as it zeroed out expenses related to the Motorola acquisition and the sale of the LAN business.

Cash on hand dropped to $62 million in 2017 from $156 million in 2016. The big change was a $512 million difference in debt reduction over new borrowing.

Strategy

Zebra Technologies believes it has the tools to help its customers extract and analyze information from their physical assets and translate it into digital data for making better decisions. The company is focused on combining mobility, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and smart devices as an information generation-and-collection engine. It designs products to give customers a unified digital view of their companies, which Zebra has termed Enterprise Asset Intelligence.

Zebra has shifted its mobile products to the Android OS from Microsoft and the company sees itself leading that switch. Target Corp. uses Zebra's TC51 Android mobile computer in stores and distribution centers to better track products in its supply chain.

Zebra works with the National Football League to outfit equipment and footballs to track player performance. RFID tags placed on shoulder pads capture location, speed, and acceleration of players. The tags are tracked by sensors throughout the stadium to chart movements within inches.

The acquisition of Motorola Solutions added about $2 billion in sales and a wealth of technology to Zebra. The company concluded integration of Motorola in 2017, including the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that serves the whole company.

Zebra had fortified itself financially, paying down more than $450 million of its debt principal while restructuring debt to reduce interest rates and save more than $45 million a year in interest.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2018 Zebra Technologies agreed to acquire Xplore Technologies Corp., a manufacturer of rugged tablets and laptop computers based in Austin, Texas, for about $66 million. Xplore's products are used in Zebra's markets such as retail, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and health care. The deal also gives Zebra exposure the oil and gas, utility, and public sector areas, where Xplore has customers. The transaction was expected to close in the 2018 third quarter.

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Symbol Technologies, LLC

1 Zebra Plz
Holtsville, NY 11742-1300
Phone: 1 (631) 737-6851
Fax: 1 (631) 738-3824

Stats

  • Employer Type: Public
  • Employees: 4,500

Major Office Locations

  • Holtsville, NY

Other Locations

  • Alameda, CA
  • Centennial, CO
  • Conifer, CO
  • Denver, CO
  • Coral Springs, FL
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Bohemia, NY
  • Holbrook, NY
  • Plymouth Meeting, PA
  • Memphis, TN
  • Mcallen, TX
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