@ Supply Chain Management


Do not buy a Dell?

Do not buy a Dell! So says, Ernesto DiGiambattista at his site in an article that he pens. If you remember (or worse – had a Dell battery fire up on you – pun intended), Dell has caught quite a bit of flak in recent years – the golden boy of supply chain management has had its share of snafus – some of them captured on YouTube too. No longer do I have to only imagine what this era of populist digital journalism has in for us:

As you can see, the sort of publicity that the internet age creates, distributes and recycles at light speed cannot but produce severe shocks in any organization (Dell is but one organization that has been taken to the woodshed). However, Ernesto’s experience with Dell was not as smooth as it could have been:

In conclusion: Dell may have policies and procedures within their organizations but no one knows what they are!!!!! I was told by Dell Financial Services to call Dell Customer Service to call Dell Financial Services. This was the worst experience in my life in buying any product!

And neither was mine – I had a problem with my laptop keyboard (which just typed a few random letters on its own here and there – a runaway keyboard, so to speak). So I called Dell and asked them to replace it. 1 week later, my keyboard has proven itself in creating unexpected conversations and gibberish code but no replacement. I called Dell again and reminded them that my keyboard was communicating to the chat specialist at a furious pace and not I (Empirical evidence?) but managed to call them and speak to them too.

One week later, no keyboard. So, I called them again – as you can already imagine that my faith in my keyboard being an agent of transcribing faithfully my intent, thoughts and emotions to Dell personnel had waned considerably. Not my voice though – which was on the order a hundred times more exasperated as my right index finger in diligently pressing the delete key whenever my keyboard went into a digital exaration. The end result is that I got Dell to expedite another keyboard to me which arrived 2 days later. Lo and behold! – the first keyboard wound up at my company’s headquarters (despite my repeated instructions to the customer service personnel asking them to send it to my home office) and then was rerouted to me, arriving the following week.

So I can understand it full well when someone says that Dell’s customer service is beating to a different tune – I distinctly remember the erstwhile Dell ads about the clueless interns who toured various Dell stations. Perhaps, the clueless interns became fulltime employees?

The more interesting story about Dell is the return of Michael Dell to the helm, how another poster child for supply chain effectiveness and the pull model of meeting customer demand is now talking (and doing already?) about retailing through Walmart – a hybrid push-pull model? That’s a rather long article that I’ve begun working on and I hope to have that up soon enough.

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About me

I am Chris Jacob Abraham and I live, work and blog from Newburgh, New York. I work for IBM as a Senior consultant in the Fab PowerOps group that works around the issue of detailed Fab (semiconductor fab) level scheduling on a continual basis. My erstwhile company ILOG was recently acquired by IBM and I've joined the Industry Solutions Group there.

@ SCM Clustrmap

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December 2007