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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 products are made primarily in China, Mexico, and Brazil. Overall, it has facilities in about 45 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 10% of sales and Latin America supplies about 5%.

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 about 50% 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 six years, Zebra Technologies’ revenue has grown more than 250%, turbocharged in 2015 with the acquisition of Motorola Solutions’ enterprise business, which added about $2 billion in sales.

In 2018, Zebra’s sales increased 13% to $4.2 billion, nearly $500 million more than 2017. The company reported growth in all regions on stronger sales of its mobile computing, barcode printing, and data capture products. The impact of currency exchange rates and contributions from Xplore, acquired in 2018, also boosted revenue.

Zebra’s profit jumped to $421 million in 2018 from $17 million in 2017, on higher sales and lower amortization and acquisition costs year-to-year. Overall, Zebra has reduced operating costs to 32.5% of revenue in 2018 from about 44% in 2016.

Zebra’s cash fell to $44 million in 2018 from $62 million in 2017. Cash flow from operations increased $307 million to $785 million in 2018 from 2017 while investing activities used $137 million and financing activities used $661 million/

The company freed cash by cutting its long-term debt to $1.4 billion in 2018 from about $2.2 billion in 2017.

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 $657 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 2019 Zebra acquired Profitect Inc., a privately-held provider of analytics for the retail and consumer packaged goods industries. The purchase expands Zebra's Intelligent Edge Solutions and beefs up its Enterprise Asset Intelligence offerings.

Zebra acquired Temptime Corp., a developer and manufacturer of temperature monitoring devices for medical and healthcare shipments, in 2019. The deal moves Zebra deeper into healthcare and expands the capabilities of its Enterprise Asset Intelligence concept. Terms were not disclosed.

In 2018 Zebra acquired 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.

Company Background

Zebra has changed its name if not its stripes. The company was founded as Data Specialties by Ed Kaplan and Gary Cless in 1969. In 1986, the company introduced the first thermal printer for on–demand barcode labeling, and changed company name to Zebra Technologies. The company went public in 1991. 

 

Symbol Technologies, LLC

1 MOTOROLA PLZ
Holtsville, NY 11742-1300
Phone: 1 (631) 737-6851

Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
Ceo: Edward Fitzpatrick
Office Manager: Beverly Wahl
Sr V Pres Cfo: Timothy T Yates
Employees (This Location): 1,800
Employees (All Locations): 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