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Zebra Makes Businesses Smart and Connected through Innovative Products and Solutions

Zebra’s Enterprise Asset Intelligence solutions give operational visibility to gain crucial business, market and customer insight.

Zebra Technologies Corporation is a global leader in providing solutions and services that give enterprises real-time visibility into their operations. With the unparalleled operational visibility Zebra provides, enterprises become as smart and connected as the world we live in. 

As the Regional Sales Director for Zebra Technologies in India, Deep Agarwal is responsible for growing Zebra’s business in India and leading the sales team for the region. He is involved in developing and executing strategies in alignment with Zebra’s goals, and managing sales activities for the market in order to achieve Zebra’s overall business objectives.

In an interaction with Sujata Sangwan of BW Disrupt, Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director – India, Zebra Technologies APAC, talked about Indian eCommerce market.

What are the opportunities that Zebra sees with the ever-growing ecommerce market in India?

According to a recent study by Forrester in 2017, India has been the fastest growing market in online retail sales in 2016, and e-commerce is expected to reach $64 billion by 2021, growing at a five–year CAGR of 31.2 per cent. 

This growth will most likely come from an omni-channel model – a mix of both physical and online retail. To meet the changing expectations of the mobile generation, the physical store needs to evolve, too; to be more like its online counterpart. While physical stores still reign supreme today, the shift to e-commerce is being felt across the industry. Accustomed to the convenience and speed of shopping online, consumers are demanding the same from brands operating physical stores.

Whether you have an e-commerce or a brick-and-mortar operation, you need a supply chain that can handle the complexities of the omni-channel environment. This is where Zebra Technologies can offer visibility solutions comprised of printers, barcode scanners, rugged mobile computers, RFID, and locationing services. Zebra’s solutions optimize the capability, route, proof of delivery and compliance for every delivery-and ensure flawless fulfilment, whether it’s shipped to a customer’s house or picked up in store. 

These technologies are seeing an enormous demand in Indian market which is the direct result of the e-commerce boom and the need to boost e-fulfillment requirements.

What are the challenges faced by the ecommerce/retail industry in India? 

The biggest challenge is customer retention and satisfaction. With the plethora of choices available to the millennial consumers, retailers are under tremendous pressure to be faster, more accurate and efficient. This is despite the labor-intensiveness of each pick-focused fulfillment process, as well as complex fleet and delivery operations. Innovating and excelling in these high-level processes are now mission critical. Downtime can cost crores of rupees in lost transactions, and any delays will directly and negatively impact the customer experience. Retailers need to focus on reaching new levels of personalization, speed and convenience to better serve customers. This is why retailers need operational visibility to help them know where their goods, assets and people are, in real-time.

What are the key technologies which will re-invent the retail industry in the coming years?

As retailers are largely serving the technology-savvy millennials who will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025, adoption of IoT technologies is becoming a business imperative for them to keep pace with the changing shopping habits and expectations. According to the recent Zebra Retail Vision Study: 

  • 68% of retailers will significantly increase their adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies by 2021, in a bid to enhance supply chain visibility and expand revenue opportunities
  • 65% of those surveyed are looking at machine learning and cognitive computing to help personalize customer experiences, and enhance inventory demand, forecasting, and visibility
  • 57% of decision-makers plan to leverage automation for packing and shipping orders, inventory tracking, checking in-store inventory levels, and finding items

What are the technologies/products provided by Zebra in the ecommerce/retail space? 

Zebra’s Enterprise Asset Intelligence (EAI) solutions provide retailers with visibility and actionable information into their customers, inventory and other valued assets from the point of sale to the distribution center and beyond – empowering retailers to understand the evolving needs and preferences of their customers, master their inventory and discover new insights to optimize the performance of the entire retail operation. Zebra provides accurate, real-time visibility into retail operations enabling retailers to perform with maximum operational efficiency with:

  • Visibility anywhere and everywhere through a robust mobile platform enabled by retail-specific scanners, printers and other mobile devices for task management, staff communication, and inventory management;  
  • Purpose-built equipment including sleek, reliable, ergonomic and rugged mobile products to meet all of the tasks required to ensure visibility into inventory housed on the floor, behind a customer service desk or in a warehouse; and 
  • Next-generation analytics to gain greater control over assets, inventory and people, to ultimately make smarter decisions that help retailers grow their business, acquire new customers, and gain a competitive advantage. 

On the e-commerce front, Zebra provides increased supply chain visibility, more efficient operations and improved IT effectiveness for transportation and logistics:

  • Zebra enables professionals both in the field and at facilities with next generation devices and applications that help organizations know where products or packages are in the delivery chain to exceed customers’ expectations and grow revenue and know where trucks and drivers are located to enable safer and more effective operations.
  • Zebra captures more data from more sources allowing workers to automate and streamline workflows, enhance flexibility to respond to customer demand and help manage risk.  Each step reduces the time that parcels and products spend onsite - increasing traffic and revenue.

What are the key verticals Zebra is focused on, and their offerings in each?

Zebra’s Enterprise Asset Intelligence solutions give operational visibility to gain crucial business, market and customer insight. We work closely with enterprises to create and sustain growth that ensures they have real-time visibility into their people, processes, and things. Zebra’s key verticals include:

  • Retail - The future of retail is about online analytics for the offline world. It’s important that retailers create a personalized experience in a compelling way. By using Zebra’s retail solutions, retailers gain visibility into what matters most: store operations, shoppers, associates, assets and inventory, shipments and receipts. With visibility and insights into the entire supply chain, they can create exceptional brand experiences across all their retail channels.
  • Manufacturing - The manufacturing industry is forecasted to be the largest consumer of IoT as it improves productivity and enhances quality. Zebra empowers manufacturers to take advantage of technology and gain real-time operational visibility and knowledge, helping simplify workflows, reduce costs, increase warehouse productivity and manufacture products of exceptional quality.
  • Healthcare - When it comes to Zebra healthcare solutions, patient safety is the priority. These solutions allow patient care teams to streamline communications on connected mobile devices and bring more care to the bedside.  Zebra helps organizations maximize patient-centric care through technology-driven visibility solutions that enhance clinical accuracy, improve staff productivity and maximize operational efficiency.
  • Government - While talking about Smart Cities, connectivity is the biggest benefit provided by Zebra. In smart cities, we need connectivity across various devices and services which the government has to offer. For example: smart policing which includes e-challan, instant on-ground action by police can be achieved only through smart devices which Zebra offers. 
  • Transportation & Logistics - Enterprises should be able to access any information they need, in their moment of need so they can streamline their workflow and operations. Zebra’s solutions help them to dramatically improve operational effectiveness and maintain visibility of goods, assets, people, processes and places throughout the supply chain.

Discuss about Zebra’s plans for FY18, in terms of business outlook and market expectations. 

With the government’s vision to attract companies to “Make in India”, as well as the boom in the e-commerce space, we see great opportunities for growth in 2017. 

In addition, research and development (R&D) will continue to play an important role in our business. We invest 10% of our global revenue annually in R&D. This is a significant investment in comparison with industry standards which are at 1-2%. We have a development center in Bangalore where more than 500 engineers are constantly innovating new technologies that can be seen in many Zebra products.

We have several exciting new enterprise-grade products that will be released in India this year, including rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners, industrial printers and cloud-based services. We can also expect a continued shift by enterprises in adopting Android as the operating system of choice in their new fleets of enterprise-grade mobile computers.  

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