Dell Online: Case Study

Enterprise Architecture Issues

  • Supply Chain Management: The purchase and number of transactions that Dell took in required a properly configured and concise business process.
  • In-sourcing: To meet the demand of the market some parts of the process required the services of other companies that can be in partner with Dell.
  • Quality Assurance: The computer industry is a very dynamic one, which makes quality products stand out when faced with technology-oriented consumers.
  • Business Automation: As Dell advanced into online markets, its sales staff feared from losing their jobs in favor of automated sales transactions.
  • Dynamic Industry: The technology industry requires closely monitoring consumers’ trend to maintain a low gap between the point of demand and the point of supply.

Analysis

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management (SCM) aims at integrating all corporate activities to improve relationships at all levels (internal operations, supplier networks, and distribution channel) to meet the competitive edge and satisfy the customer (Al-Mashari and Zairi 2000)[2]. In order to build an effective and complete business process that supports SCM, information among all business partners need to be shared. Information sharing through the Internet reduce the gap for business-to-business (B2B) commerce by enabling seamless integration with enterprise processes among partner corporations (Archer 2006)[3].

Dell developed its internal business process by creating production cells that start assembly at the point of order. It also established an internal information system to make the details of the products under production electronically available to all parties within the chain. To manage the supply of computer parts, Dell maintained close relationships with their suppliers and logistics providers to make their vendors manage the inventory system while Dell focused on product assembly (Kumar and Craig 2007)[4]. In addition, Dell used enterprise technology to make their database and methodologies available to the supplier to understand how Dell works. On the consumer side, orders made through the phone or online through dell.com produced a tracking code that the consumer can use to track the status of his or her order at any time through the phone or on Dell’s website.

In sourcing

Organizations worldwide are benefiting from the specialized services offered by various companies. In the shipping and transport arena, companies Like UPS (United Parcel Service) and DHL stand out as masters in their industry. UPS and DHL have established offices and transportation vehicles all across the world. They provide business services through in-sourcing which enables them to be part of the internal business process of companies (Marcum 2007)[5]. To a company like Toshiba for example, after-sales support service would require shipping the damaged computer to and from the consumer’s side. For that, UPS would say, “Look, instead of us picking up the machine from your customers, bringing it to our hub, then flying it from our hub to your repair facility and then flying it back to our hub and then from our hub to your customer’s house, let’s cut out all the middle steps. We, UPS, will pick it up, repair it, and send it right to your customer” (Friedman 2006)[6].

Dell understands that it need not compete unless it would get the advantage in the market. Michael Dell says that one should evaluate the competition field and pick the best one. In that context, after-sales services were contracted with firms who are specialized in that field and can be contacted directly through the integrated supply system to fulfill the requests of the consumers. Furthermore, shipping is handled through multiple shippers to deliver systems to consumers or to resellers across the world. In addition, Dell has saved the overhead cost of monitors’ delivery by requesting shippers to deliver from the monitor’s supplier directly to the consumer at the same time.

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