Many suspected that spending would be down throughout 2020 and moving into this year as businesses – and entire economies – recovered from the pandemic. And it has been in many cases. But the world has continued to turn, and consumers have continued to need goods and services. In fact, demand has grown drastically in many categories. At the same time, delivery models have had to evolve dramatically to support social distancing and lockdowns.
That has generated greater demand for technology across the globe – technology that can help compensate for a lack of infrastructure or labor resources, improve inventory availability and give businesses the agility to successfully adapt fulfillment models as demand surges. In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region specifically, Zebra has seen technology investments increase across manufacturing, transportation, logistics, warehousing, retail and healthcare as strategic imperatives shift and more advanced mobility, RFID and automation platforms become critical business tools.
However, as Ryan Goh, Vice President and General Manager, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific, explained in a recent interview, even the simplest technology implementations require expert support. Organizations don’t have a lot of time to spend on solution design, deployment and refinement these days, and they can no longer afford to wait to modernize operations. They need devices, software and systems in place now to help front-line workers become more efficient and productive. They also require 360-degree operational visibility so they can see what’s working and what’s not all the way to the edge of their operations. That’s where Zebra comes in.
We’ve been making our own investments to help improve the delivery of Zebra services and assist customers with finding the right solutions in a safe, socially-distanced manner. Read the interview below to learn how a new APAC headquarters campus in Singapore will make it easier for our stakeholders there to adapt to new business models and take advantage of growth opportunities.
Your Edge Blog Team: Why did Zebra choose to expand its APAC headquarters right now?
Ryan: Zebra is constantly growing, and the expansion of our APAC headquarters is the result of a natural progression. Since the establishment of Zebra APAC in 2008, our staff strength grew by about four folds to over 150 staff this year. Today, our APAC headquarters is home to a broad range of strategic leadership teams that oversee the region, as well as our regional Distribution Center based in Singapore.
Your Edge Blog Team: Why was Singapore selected over another country?
Ryan: Singapore has always been a business-friendly investment hub in APAC. Since our early days, we have been receiving strong support from the Singapore government, especially through the Economic Development Board (EDB). We are very grateful and are committed to continuously investing in Singapore. Our APAC headquarters expansion reinforces Zebra’s commitment to support Singapore in its Smart Nation ambition. We are bringing our knowledge and technological expertise to enable Singapore enterprises to gain a competitive advantage amidst economic transformation.
Your Edge Blog Team: Part of the expansion includes a new print research and development (R&D) center. Why did Zebra decide to increase its investment in this technology right now? Is there demand for more innovative printing solutions?
Ryan: Zebra spends about 10% of our global revenue on R&D to empower the front line of enterprises with the latest technological solutions. This includes the development of our new print R&D center in Singapore, as well as the introduction of other advanced facilities like the Zebra Experience Center (ZEC) and Global Enablement Center (GEC). The advanced facilities at Zebra’s APAC headquarters serve as an invaluable resource for Zebra and our partners in this region, as we jointly tackle the business challenges faced by our customers.
Your Edge Blog Team: Will the printing technologies developed in Singapore be available globally?
Ryan: Absolutely! In fact, the center has already developed some of Zebra’s global printer innovations, including the color touch-screen panels for our ZT series of printers. Additionally, the center provides opportunities for local Zebra team members to learn from our innovative practices. The team is currently working on the development of premium stationary printers by applying new technology and innovation. This is very exciting as these are slated to be global products.
Your Edge Blog Team: We understand that this facility now houses the largest ZEC in APAC. Can you tell us about the types of solutions showcased there?
Ryan: The new ZEC in our Singapore office is the largest, with a floor space of 1,178 square feet, which makes it almost three times bigger than the one on our old premises. The ZEC is designed to be more than a demonstration space, though. It is where customized solutions are brainstormed and innovative strategies are conceptualized for our customers. This is also where customers get to spend time with Zebra’s top executives and subject matter experts and experience some of the best practices in the industry today. The ZEC is split into four key verticals – manufacturing, transportation and logistics (T&L), retail, and healthcare – and it features the cutting-edge technologies that companies need to stay ahead in today’s disrupted world.