Saturday, September 13, 2008

Let's see what's happening over at Dell

Anonymous tech/biz blogger Below The Crowd, makes a couple of interesting points in relation to Dell.

First, the idea of using order times as a bellwether for the state of the computer biz:

The indicator is simple: If Dell (NasdaqGS:DELL) takes more than one week to complete a custom order on something with the parts fully in stock (per their website), business is pretty good. 4-7 days means business is OK, but not great. 1-3 days and it's pretty weak.
He makes some good points, although the downside is that if you seriously want to use this method to keep your thumb on the pulse of the computer business, you've got to buy a lot of computers.

Moving on, he then goes off on a tirade about what he deems disproportionately expensive memory upgrades:

For upgrading my system's puny 1GB 667Mhz memory to 4GB of 800MHz memory in 2 DIMMs Dell wants $550! Buying the same memory directly from Crucial costs $116. I saved a bit more by skipping the unnecessary ECC memory that Dell forces you into buying, and dropping my memory cost to under $100

Below the Crowd has a valid point, and I've noticed this when futzing with Dell's order configurator thingy. If customer service advocate RichardFromDELL is reading, I'd love to hear his perspective on this.

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1 comment:

RichardatDELL said...

Hi Lee,

Thanks for the inquiry and sorry for the delay in getting back to you...but was checking on a couple parts of this before posting. Here is what I posted over at BTC:

"Hi btc

Appreciated your post and commentary and wanted to provide you with some additional information.

As you likely know, yesterday we released a statement about softening markets. Our investor relations blog post about this is here:

Generally speaking, Dell continually seeks to improve general operations and ship times. It is an on-going process at Dell and our direct-model heritage makes this one of those operational priorities that receives regular focus. It is worth noting that in aggregate, ship times are impacted by factors beyond demand. For example, there can be industry shortages for certain components that impact ship dates. These do not necessarily correlate with demand.

Not sure of the details or exactly what you meant about a "weird" configuration. However, I can tell you that single units ordered through our configurator usually include options that our demand/supply teams have ensured the various product configuration choices are available when ordered.

On pricing, our approach is to deliver very competitive pricing for the overall computer bundle, as that is what most of our customers are buying. We review this regularly and adjust it to maintain a competitive position and meet our customers' expectations for value.

We appreciate your feedback and views.

Thanks for sharing with us your "Dell Indicator.""

Hope that helps provide some additional perspective to the matters raised in the discussions.

Thanks for being in touch again