Zebra Technologies helps customers keep track of inventory,
supplies, trucks, and even football players. The company makes a
range technologies for identifying and tracking corporate assets as
and capturing and analyzing information gained from the tracking.
Zebra's customers can use that data to better deploy their assets.
Zebra 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. The company
is engaged in a pilot program with the National Football League to
track players on the gridiron from sensors placed in shoulder
Zebra Technologies' Enterprise 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 Legacy Zebra 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
The final assembly of Zebra's hardware products is done by
third-parties, including electronics manufacturing services
companies and joint design manufacturers.
Zebra Technologies is headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois,
and has laboratory and warehouse facilities 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 80 countries.
About half of Zebra's sales are to customers in the North
American region and about a third are bought by users in the
Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region. Asia accounts for about
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.
About 45% of the company's sales are to three customers, with the
biggest accounting for a fifth of the company's revenue.
The company reaches customers through its direct sales force as
well as distributors, value added resellers, independent software
vendors, direct marketers, and original equipment
Zebra Technologies had moved up to about $1.6 billion in revenue
by 2014 and then it added about $2 billion in revenue when it
acquired Motorola Solutions, which became its Enterprise
Zebra Technologies reported a 2% revenue drop to about $3.6
billion in 2016 from about $3.7 billion in 2015. Lower sales were
recorded for the Legacy segment's barcode printer and data capture
products and the Enterprise unit's wireless LAN and location
products in North America, EMEA, and Latin America. A 4% increase
in hardware sales in Asia took some of the sting out of the lower
sales elsewhere. The company reported improved sales of supplies
and mobile computing products in 2016.
Zebra's net income didn't budge year-to-year, remaining at $137
million in 2016. Costs were mostly lower in 2016, compared to those
of 2015. But in 2016 the company took a $62 million write-down on
goodwill related to the divestiture of the wireless LAN business
and spent more on selling, general, and administrative costs.
Zebra's cash flow from operations rose to $372 million in 2016
from $111 million in 2015. The increase was aided by a lower
deferred income tax benefit of about $98 million and asset
impairment for goodwill, intangibles and other assets of $69
million. Further, the company had improved working capital of $85
million in 2016.
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 is designing its
product to analyze the information for its customers so they can
get it to the people who need it in the office or in the field.
In 2016 Zebra offered new generations of smart devices in mobile
computing, data capture, and printing that are deployed in the
field, warehouses, and stores. The TC51, a hand-held computing that
runs on the Android operating system, was well received by
customers in the company's retail and ecommerce and healthcare
businesses. On a broader note, Zebra is shifting its mobile
products to the Android OS and away from Microsoft Windows (which
Microsoft is due to stop supporting). Zebra sees itself ahead of
the competition in the shift to Android.
Zebra is working on a pilot program with the National Football
League, outfitting shoulder pads with sensors that record
information about players and how they move in action. In another
test program, the company has inserted sensors in footballs. The
data collected from the devices could inform teams - and fans -
about the effectiveness of players.
In 2016 Zebra sold its wireless LAN business to Extreme Networks
for about $55 million. The deal helps Zebra management better focus
on its core businesses and removes a drag on sales.
The acquisition of Motorola Solutions added about $2 billion in
sales and a wealth of technology to Zebra. But the company must
integrate processes and cultures. It plans to conclude the process
in 2017 with the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning
(ERP) system that serves the whole company.
The acquisition also saddled Zebra with a load of debt. In 2016
the company paid down $382 million of debt, getting more than
halfway to its goal of reducing debt by $650 million in 2016 and
2017. Reducing debt would free up capital and improve its credit
rating, allowing the company to borrow at lower interest rates.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2015, Zebra Technologies bought ITR Group's mobile consulting
and software development firm, ITR Mobility and its mobile
platform, iFactr. ITR Group provides strategic staffing services to
regional, national, and international organizations.