Mad Money

Once Lost, GPS Company Finds Direction


Once considered an also-ran version of Garmin, how did this GPS maker manage such an incredible Lazarus-like return from the dead?

The stock that has captured Cramer's attention and imagination isTrimble.

Thought of as simply a global positioning play, "Trimble had been left for dead," said Jim Cramer. The Street thought it just couldn't compete with the likes of Navteq, Garmin and even Google.

But the skepticism may have been the best possible thing for Trimble – it was forced to carve out a niche.

"Management transformed Trimble into an information technology powerhouse."

Trimble Navigation Got Smart: Cramer

"Trimble went from a GPS company for industrial clients to a company that makes industrial software tools that analyzes the data collected by its GPS hardware," Cramer said.

Trimble uses its proprietary technology to collect data from satellites, laser, optical and other measurement technologies. Then Trimble processes that data with application specific software that's designed specifically to tell their customers what they need to do to improve the efficiency of their workers out in the field, especially at construction sites and new infrastructure builds.

That sounds complicated. But the results are quite easy to understand.

Their technology cuts labor costs, pesticide costs, fuel costs and can help improve customer service, or safety standards.

And the word is out.

The company recently had a conference for the users of their systems, 3500 people showed up from 80 different countries.

"Perhaps it's because the tangible return on asset payback period for their customers is less than one year, meaning if you pony up for Trimble's data analytics services, the service will likely have paid for itself in less than 12 months," said Cramer.

Chart: Trimble Navigation

And despite trading near its 52-week high, Cramer thinks the stock has room to run.

"The stock trades at 17.8 times next year's earnings estimates, which is less than the company's 18.3% long-term growth rate."

What's the bottom line?

"Don't be surprised that Trimble Navigation is flirting with its 52-week highs," said Cramer. "This company is no longer a has-been global positioning company, it's become a data productivity automation sensation, and I think the rally here is far from over."

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