It’s highly probable that you’ve used or had seen their products at one time or another. Yet, it’s unlikely that you even know what the brand stands for – yes, we’re talking about Garmin. Founded by Gary Burrell and Min Kao, the concept behind Garmin began during a brainstorming session. Since then, it has evolved into a global firm that provides communication and navigation devices that enrich consumer’s lives.
Garmin products span a variety of industries ranging from aviation, automotive, marine, and outdoor recreation. The secret to their success is not really a secret. The company was well-positioned to take advantage of market opportunities once the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology became popular.
A key factor that made Garmin a reality is the financing available in Taiwan. Min Kao, who grew up there, was assured by an old school friend, who happens to be a banker, that financing would be available in case he wanted to start a business. Within several months, Gary Burrell and Min Kao had raised $4 million, which was enough to rent an office space in Kansas and hire a pioneering team of engineers.
Another important strategy that contributed to Garmin’s overall success is vertical integration. Basically, the company aims to do as much as possible in-house. Everything from the design, development, and marketing is done by an inspired staff. The firm encourages everyone involved in product development – from designers, engineers, testers, sales people, and writers – to share their opinions and ideas. This openness allows Garmin to be on top of the game in the GPS sector.