US based technology firm, Zebra Technologies, is known for its solutions particularly aligned to the retail, e-commerce and logistics sectors. The company has been in consistent innovative mode vis-à-vis its popular offerings like barcode scanners, hand held devices and printers. Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director (Indian sub-continent) explains the broader business trends and company’s strategy to make a mark in India in a conversation with Ritwik Sinha. Edited excerpts …
A recent report by a research agency on bar code scanners and printers maintain that the sales volume of these products in India will grow from $44 million in 2018 to over $110 million by 2024. You have a large portfolio of these products. Are you noticing this kind of uptick as presented in the report?
I have heard of this report though have not seen it. But we have not contributed to this report and we can’t confirm the veracity of the numbers given there. We have our own surveys done by our Business Market Intelligence team. And they syndicate our research to global research firm called VDC. In our reckoning, that is the most authentic report on our industry. So while the absolute numbers may not tally but there is a growth potential in terms of the scanner markets. And we have seen that kind of growth in the last few years.
After the immediate implementation of GST, did you have to face a sluggish sales period for quite sometime?
We operate in four-five verticals – retail, manufacturing, logistics, etc. It really is not possible that all verticals will grow at the same time. There are patches when some industries will grow well which may not be the case with others. So in an overall sense, we have not seen a dip in our business. I wouldn’t say GST had impacted our business.
How would you explain your own sales growth trajectory in India in the recent years? A report suggests the business for bar code scanners has been growing by 16 percent.
In 2017-18, we had clearly exceeded this percentage growth benchmark and in the first half of the current year, we have seen similar trends.
Your company is known for innovation to help the back-end management of businesses like e-commerce, retail, logistics, etc. On this front, what is the latest happening at your end?
We have indeed been a very innovative company. We meet with our customers regularly across the verticals we play in, take their feedback and accordingly innovate in offering them solutions. Our approach is simple- its not about selling you hardware device but how to solve your problem better through a combination of hardware, software and other solutions. For e-commerce and retail, we have already launched a very innovative, first of its kind solution recently. It’s called smart lense which is ceiling mounted, has multiple sensors (camera, RFID, locationing) and it allows users real-time visibility of their inventory within the space that this is deployed in. We have many such innovative solutions in our portfolio.
A recent report by JLL India says there has been a tremendous surge in the demand for Grade-A warehousing. This must be a good news for you.
Of course. If warehousing is growing, it means more customers would like to adopt sensing solutions which is our forte.
Have you managed to go beyond metro markets in India?
We are penetrating into non-metro markets also. It is our stated objective to reach out to tier-2 and tier- 3 markets. And the percentage growth of our businesses in these markets has shown a considerable uptick in the last 12-18 months.
What is near-run outlook you have for your business in India?
We see a growing adoption of our core technologies – scanners, hand held devices and printers. We also have an expansive portfolio now – rugged tablets, bio-optic scanners, RFID and momentum is also building up in these offerings. And the third layer where we are talking to some customers is the cloud based solutions. We have a platform called SAVANA that essentially manages all the data on the devices that are deployed on the cloud. And then we are able to generate dashboards and analytics specific to the customers.
From group’s perspective, has India become a leading market in Asia ?
I wouldn’t indulge in any ranking of the Asian markets. As far as India is concerned, it has indeed become one of the fastest growing markets for us.