On the last Frontier of Technology, MSTM students visited the Chicago area for a company visit. My group went to Zebra Technologies, a global leader in barcode printing and RTLS technology. Zebra Technologies recently extended their line of specialty to real-time location sensors, which according to their portfolio ‘provides greater visibility into mission-critical information’. They are well known for high quality products and innovations that catapulted their brand in printing technologies and barcode systems to the global community.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a very friendly welcome from Henry Jones, the corporate recruiter. We were directed to a big meeting room full of long tables separated uniformly, giving a formal ambience. At each assigned seat, we found a bundle of items from Zebra Technologies, particularly their 2011 journal report. We are also given session itinerary for that day. This really demonstrated their transparency and professionalism.
The first presenter, Jim O’Hagan came up right after we all settled down in our comfortable chairs. He briefly mentioned that he is the Director of Patents and Technology. In his brief presentation, he went through the history of Zebra Technology, especially how the culture of innovation and excellence in the firm was molded and preserved, which brings out another important reminder that innovation and team management is imperative for the success of a firm.
His presentation was followed with a series of presentations from key members of Zebra Technologies Inc, such as Indira Saladi (Vice President) on ‘Intellectual Property’, Christina DeMartini (Director of Market Research) on ‘Marketing and Brand’, Phil Gerskovich (Senior Vice-President of New Growth Platform) on ‘Innovation’. Based on the topics alone, we can infer that technology is not a stand-alone entity. It requires systematic and detail-oriented approaches built by passionate people with the right combination of skill sets.
Realizing this, in the series of our lectures, MSTM students were also given the presentation regarding ‘Using Technology to Support Business Strategy’ by Todd Naughton (Vice-President of Finance) and Lito Toreja (Senior Strategic Consultant). We also had an interesting presentation of ‘Community Relations’ by Tara Cross (Inside Sales Representative).
Especially during the last presentation by Ms. Cross, I realize each department has certain objectives that they wish to fulfill and this difference in priorities can sometimes create tensions between divisions of the firm. This is where the role of project manager is vital in ensuring that deliverables are achieved and milestones can be conquered.
Our company visit to Zebra Technologies can be summed up as intense and exciting. Not only because we were able to see their product and process management hands on, but we were also able to converse with creative forces behind this global company. Key speakers from different business perspective joined us that day to speak on various aspects that makes Zebra Technologies the leading enterprise they are now. The speakers also encouraged discussion regarding current technologies issues such as cloud systems, NFC, and the legal system.