CHENNAI, INDIA: Zebra Technologies has proposed to double its partner base by the end of 2008.
Shailesh Deshmukh, Territory Manager, Zebra Technologies shared that the booming retail market in the country has given a boost to the thermal printers segment.
“Retail industry is getting a new shape and is becoming one of the fastest growing verticals. Zebra Technologies has a whole suite of products, ranging from barcode, RFID printers to barcode scanners. We are looking to capitalize on this retail boom by increasing our partner base,” Deshmukh claimed.
Currently Zebra Technologies has a channel strength of 60 registered partners across the country and has proposed to double the count by this year-end to around 125. The partners are mostly total solution providers (SPs) and system integrators (SIs).
“We would like to get associated with SIs and SPs who can provide the entire solution to their customers. Unlike other printers the barcode, RFID solutions are not just boxes that could be plug and played. It’s a whole set of solutions that require certain capabilities to deal with,” he informed. Speaking about Zebra’s channel strategy, Deshmukh said, “We are a 100 percent channel oriented company and we would like to stick with the channels in future too. We have a global partner initiative, where we get associated with distributors, premier partners, advanced partners and associated resellers.” Recently, Zebra tied up with Ingram Micro as its distributor for Middle East and India.
Claiming that the total thermal printer market including the consumables, scanners stands at about Rs 300 crore, Deshmukh said the company is growing at a CAGR of 55 percent YoY. He attributed the growth to verticals such as retail, manufacturing and logistics. “Legacy verticals such as retail, manufacturing and logistics have been the growth drivers for Zebra all these days and the sudden retail boom is a boon for us. However, we see new opportunities in the airline and entertainment verticals in India, where the boarding passes in airlines and tickets in the multiplexes are printed on thermal printers,” Deshmukh informed.
When asked about the increasing dominance of DMP in the retail industry, he claimed that thermal printers have a cutting edge technology, where barcodes printed through them alone can be scanned.
He also claimed that Zebra enjoys zero percent competition in the country. “No other printer major has thermal printing capability in the country and Zebra has a whole gamut of products including scanners and consumables, which has made Zebra a clear market leader in the thermal printer category,” Deshmukh averred.
Zebra has proposed to venture into tier-2 and 3 cities across the country, and the expanding partner base would considerably have small-scale SIs from these tier-2 regions.
“Apart from retail we do see huge opportunity in our other legacy vertical—manufacturing. Regions such as Coimbatore, Tirupur, Ludhiana, Pune, Baddi belt in Himachal Pradesh to name a few, pose as a huge potential for us due the presence of manufacturing units in these places,” he informed.
Zebra is also conducting various educational programs for customers and partners on the opportunities in the thermal printer segment.
“We conducted a two-day program for customers and channel partners in Chandigarh and Pune about the advantages in going for barcode and how to operate the printers. We have proposed to take those programs further upcountry from next quarter,” Deshmukh informed.
He also said that sales enquiries obtained through these education programs are routed through the partners.