Zebra Technologies empowers organisations to thrive in the on-demand economy by making every front-line worker and asset at the edge visible, connected and fully optimised. With an ecosystem of more than 10,000 partners across more than 100 countries, Zebra serves customers of all sizes, including 94% of the Fortune 100.

Laith Marmash, Machine Vision and Fixed Industrial Scanning lead, EMEA at Zebra Technologies speaks to Warehouse & Logistics News.

What are your best-known products/solutions/services?

Our portfolio covers hardware, software, services and solutions warehouse operators need to succeed. We provide machine vision cameras and fixed industrial scanners, both powered by our Zebra Aurora™ software platform to meet the market’s need for simplicity, speed, productivity and efficiency with a flexible solution that can perform both machine vision inspection and fixed industrial scanning on a single device, enabling businesses to do everything from simple track and trace to complex quality inspection checks of manufacturing work-in-process

We also offer warehouses a range of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to do the tasks workers don’t want or need to do, which can improve worker experience and enhance productivity.

Which industry sectors are your customers in and which ones are growing fastest?

Zebra has public and private sector customers in the retail, transport and logistics, warehousing, manufacturing (including pharmaceutical and automotive), healthcare, government and public safety, utility and field services sectors. The drive for ever-greater automation and digitalisation for productivity, speed, efficiency, and improved front-line worker experience means we’re seeing growth across each sector, depending on the solution required.

What are your most recent product innovations?

We invest 10% of global revenue into R&D, to support innovations across our portfolio. And we’ve recently made several strategic acquisitions to develop and expand our portfolio for customers. Acquisition examples include Fetch Robotics (AMRs), Reflexis (workforce and task management software), Adaptive Vision (machine vision and Deep Learning software), and Antuit.ai (AI-powered software for demand forecasting, allocation, and replenishment).

Our fixed industrial scanners and machine vision cameras are both new solutions we’ve launched, together with the Zebra Aurora™ platform, which comes with Aurora™ Vision Studio, a no-code graphical environment for the creation of sophisticated vision applications by machine and computer vision engineers; Zebra Aurora™ Vision Library for experienced programmers for completely customised code and integrations; and Zebra Aurora™ Deep Learning, for industrial quality deep learning tools that can be used to solve problems that are far too complex for traditional machine vision algorithms.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

There are a few trends. First, the rapid rise in ecommerce we’ve seen over the past few years is here to stay and is set to grow. That’s creating new demands on warehouse operations, especially those in the retail space, for rapid delivery and omnichannel fulfilment. This is one of the key drivers for greater productivity and efficiencies in warehousing.

Zebra colleagues specialised in omnichannel retail tell me they expect retailers this year to shift their focus to the supply chain and, specifically, warehouse and distribution centre operations as well as omnichannel fulfilment. Many retail operations are still using legacy technology systems or manual processes to guide inventory, fulfilment, and logistics actions – and that doesn’t mesh with modern retail models.

Can you tell us about any recent customer contracts and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?

Working closely with our partners, we’ve been able to build up a library of customer success case studies demonstrating how we’ve made a positive impact. And, our acquisition businesses like Fetch and Reflexis bring lots of customer successes with them. Readers might like to learn about how we helped one of Europe’s largest postal companies optimise and standardise deliveries, or how one European leader in the distribution space digitalised and improved the reception, storage and dispatch of inventory, and how one bulk food distributor increased warehouse efficiencies and created better user experiences.

How does business in 2022 compare to previous years? What’s your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?

We have and will continue to see the pace of digital and automation transformation continue. Automation and digitalisation are vital if companies want to survive and thrive. I think the past 24 months have made that abundantly clear.

What’s the latest news from your company?

Apart from the acquisitions mentioned and expansion of our portfolio, Zebra recently announced its intention to acquire Matrox Imaging, to further develop our machine vision portfolio for customers. Matrox Imaging offers platform-independent software, software development kits, smart cameras, 3D sensors, vision controllers, input/output cards, and frame grabbers which are used to capture, inspect, assess, and record data from industrial vision systems in factory automation, electronics and pharmaceutical packaging, semiconductor inspection, and more.

Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances eg safety, sustainability, environment?

We invest 10% of global revenue in R&D to fuel our culture of innovation for customers, so we’re ‘always on’ when it comes to making technical advances.

Zebra’s corporate social responsibility priorities support a sustainable business model, align with our values and core competencies and are embedded within our overall business strategy. Zebra’s resource conservation initiatives include, but are not limited to, waste reduction, circular economy product innovation with certified refurbished devices, eco-packaging and sustainable product design. Zebra’s Circular Economy Programme was recently recognised with a 2021 Sustainability Service of the Year award by the Business Intelligence Group.

Are you investing in staff training and skills development?

We invest a lot in training and skills development including development plans, innovation events, mentoring, career programmes, in-house and subscription learning platforms, staff networks, membership of professional associations, internships for university students, and opportunities for PhD students to engage with our forward-thinking research teams.

Are you taking part in any major trade shows? Can you tell us what you’ll be exhibiting there?

We’ll be showcasing our latest solutions at Global Industrie, SPS Italia, LogiMat, and Automatica to name a few, so if you’re attending, get in touch.

Zebra Technologies

t: 020 533 336 123

e: contact.emea@zebra.com

w: www.zebra.com

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