Navtelecom, Russia, has won the GPS Hardware Manufacturers TOP 10 award for the second year in a row. Viacheslav Kulikov, head of Navtelecom, told us how unexpected the result was, how they managed to keep up the high standard, and also described some problems faced by hardware manufacturers today.
– Congratulations on the first place! What does it feel like to be the winner? Is it different this year?
Of course, we feel happy, we have positive emotions. But our emotions were brighter last year. This year’s impressions can be described as “unexpected.”
– How come?
At Gurtam’s website, the statistics for the connected equipment from various manufacturers reveal information about the manufacturers’ current position in the rating (Note: The table shows data over the previous 90 days. For GPS Hardware Manufacturers TOP 10 rating, we use figures over a year). We roughly assessed our performance based on these statistics, and we thought we could hardly rank first again. So this result was a bit surprising for us.
– What helped you gain an advantage, in your opinion? Did you do something sort of extraordinary?
As it often happens, the result is made up of several components. First, sure enough, we worked really hard. We managed to expand our hardware product family, substantially enhanced functionality of our products, developed an internet system for mass configuration and DRC firmware updating for our equipment, and significantly improved our mobile configurator. Second, the market situation changed considerably. The demand showed a prominent increase, especially in spring and summer. Third, our success was also based on healthy business and personal relationships with the vast majority of our integrator partners.
If we talk about doing “something extraordinary,” I’m sure that all manufacturers have to do this now, in the face of a complete supply shortage of electronic components. They have to demonstrate quick-wittedness and take unusual steps to find and deliver components from different storage facilities around the world. They also have to redesign their products within the shortest possible time based on the availability of components. In these conditions, there is a great chance to get a counterfeit product or a defective component.
– Let’s touch upon the topic of COVID-19. We’ve been existing in the new reality for two years already. How have you adapted your business?
True, the COVID-19 factor is still dominant for both the global economy and individual businesses. We also had to accept the rules of the game of this new time as they’re inevitable. We realized that what matters for success in these circumstances is our precise and quick reaction to the market demands and manufacturing conditions, including availability of the electronic components needed.
– What did you do last year that you’re proud of? Any solutions, products, your team’s actions, anything else?
Last year was especially difficult for us, just like for many other hardware manufacturers. Short supply of components, increased prices for them, a possibility to buy them in the free market at a speculative price only, which sometimes could be ten times as high, a large number of fakes and counterfeit products, regularly delayed deliveries, decreased quality of ready-to-use electronic modules used by us, worsened tech support from a range of vendors and official distributors – this is a partial list of the problems we faced. However, in spite of the depth of the listed troubles, our team consistently manages to solve them or, at least, minimize their negative impact on our business. And I’m very happy to be part of this team!
On top of that, we are very proud of our integrator partners who, despite the current difficulties in manufacturing, still choose our products.
– Are there any plans that you are ready to share with the community?
Our master plan in the present-day situation is ensuring the required level of hardware manufacturing, hardware quality support, and supply chain reliability.
We are significantly expanding our product family by adding new models in both the price-sensitive segment and the domain of devices with a broader range of features, including those with 4G LTE connectivity.
We pay special attention to the development of new features related to flexible hardware configuration and buildup of new options for using CAN buses.
In addition, we are planning to develop our DRC internet system for remote mass configuration and hardware upgrading even further. Our mobile apps are to be improved, too. To do all this, we need to grow our team considerably, and we are working on this as well.
– What are your ambitions for the next year?
Because of the global pandemic, we are very cautious about our plans. We want to boost our sales outside Russia. This desire is rather ambitious, but we have done a huge amount of preliminary work over the past two years, and now we feel that we are ready to make it happen.
– Do you have anything to say to our community?
I’ve already said many times that we have a wonderful community in a fascinating industry of telematics! I can say it again. And I’m delighted to belong to it.
I wish good health, happiness, consistent growth and excellent results for our fellow hardware manufacturers, software developers, and integrators!
I’d like to say some special words of gratitude to Gurtam, the world’s leader in fleet telematics and our great partner, for our successful partnership. Dear friends! We truly appreciate working with you! We wish you peace, prosperity, and success in everything you do!