Trexit: Ever Closer Integration

It’s now been a couple of weeks since Teresa May delivered her letter to the EU formally notifying them of our desire to leave.  As we head towards what is likely to be the most significant political change in my lifetime (for good or for bad, depending on your opinion – I’m not going to comment) we also head towards what is certainly the finalisation of the most significant integration and consolidation in the Auto-ID industry since I started working in it some 13 years ago.  With “Brexit” we step away from “Ever Closer Union” with our European neighbours.  With “Trexit” (or Trilogy Exit as Zebra call it) we embark on a journey that is in many ways the opposite.

For the uninitiated, “Trexit” is (hopefully) the final stage of the integration of Zebra, the former Enterprise business of Motorola Solutions and Psion Teklogix.  Each of the different businesses came with its own strengths. The former Zebra business was renowned for being responsive and agile, the EVM business had excellent tools and processes. Psion’s strengths escape me at this moment but I’m sure that there were some (maybe someone with a better memory than I can remind me). Of course, what we hope to end up with is a business that combines all those strengths and discards any individual weaknesses.  The end result is not likely to be perfect – with any integration of this type there will be some pain. For example, we expect to have a 2 week blackout period where basically not a lot is going to happen.  No products will leave Zebra’s factories, no repairs will be carried out and no bids will be issued.  There will be some challenges but we have done what we can from our side to help mitigate those issues by bringing in a significant amount of additional stock to cover what will be a challenging period for everyone.  Once complete, “Trexit” also brings with it the most significant change to the logistics process for the EVM portfolio for several years.  Only time will tell how that will play out in terms of its effect on the market.

For those of us that are familiar with the current business, it is fair to say that it is rather complicated.  Although from a customer facing perspective there has been one team for some time now, the picture behind the scenes has been somewhat different.  We have had multiple processes to handle for each of the different elements of the business – different entities to order different products from, different bid processes and different RMA and support handling processes to name but a few. At times, it did seem that if there was a way to make something as complicated as humanly possible then Zebra would find it.  I still have nightmares about a certain printer and scanner bundle promotion which had several billion possible combinations.  Try loading that into your ERP system…

I do believe that when “Trexit” is completed around the middle of May we will be in a far better position than we are today.  Every member of my team is literally counting down to the day that they can have a printer and a mobile computer on the same price concession or service contract.  The whole thing should, frankly, make a heck of a lot more sense and be far easier to understand for everyone involved.  The complexity of the business should be greatly diminished and it should save us all time, effort and in so doing reduce everyone’s cost of doing business with Zebra and there is nothing bad about that.  From 2 or 3 processes for everything we should be down to 1. Everything will hopefully be joined up far better and we should even get a new Solution Builder which will be much better than what we have today.  From a commercial perspective, the ability to understand the opportunity across an end user’s entire estate will be greatly improved just by having everything in one place.

That in itself will help us to better address our customer’s needs and help us all to win.

So, if there were a referendum on this tomorrow? It’d be “Trexit” all the way.

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