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Zebra Buys Navis, Proveo

The company plans to integrate Navis, Proveo and WhereNet into one business unit that provides software, hardware and services for identifying, locating and managing assets, cargo and inventory.
By Beth Bacheldor
"I believe Navis makes an excellent addition to our portfolio, adding the ability to identify, locate and track high-value assets," Zebra's CEO, Anders Gustafsson, said during a press conference announcing the acquisitions. "Proveo, based in Germany, adds [to our portfolio] industrial vehicle-management abilities used in the management of aviation ground-support systems, but we can expand this to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and aerospace and defense markets."

According to Gustafsson, Zebra plans to integrate Navis, Proveo and WhereNet into one business unit that sells software, hardware and services. "Integration will be a key part of our next 30 days," he explained. "We are putting together an integration team to lead this, and how the work structure will look will be one of the aspects. We want to integrate these companies into one business unit that will give us the most synergies and efficiencies."

With the new business unit, Zebra says it be able to leverage the different supply-chain tracking and management products to sell businesses a more cohesive solution. In particular, the company will seek out opportunities to jointly sell Navis and WhereNet. "Navis and WhereNet have been partners for a number of years, in that they've sold complementary solutions," said Phil Gerskovich, Zebra's senior VP for corporate development. "Navis is a software company that sells application software, and WhereNet is a hardware company that sells hardware to identify and track assets." In essence, the WhereNet hardware provides data to the Navis software.

The acquisition of these companies should provide Zebra with opportunities to cross-sell its printers—particularly its RFID printer-encoders—to more companies. "There are opportunities for us to pull in additional printer sales—for example, at dock doors," Gustafsson said. "There is often a printer at a dock door used to generate some form of label for goods. Also, we can leverage customer segments. Where WhereNet has a very good installed base, such as the automotive industry, we can—and are—strengthening our opportunities. We have already leveraged relationships particularly in the automotive industry. It's also gone the other way: We've pulled WhereNet into traditional Zebra accounts."

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