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Dell Computer

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Dell Computer


Company Summery

Dell Computer Corporation was established in 1984 and today ranks among the world''s largest computer systems companies. Dell pioneered the concepts of selling personal computer systems directly to customers; offering build-to-order computer systems; and providing direct, toll-free technical support and next-day, on-site service. The company designs and customizes products and services to end-user requirements, and offers an extensive selection of peripherals and software.

Dell''s complete range of high-performance computer systems include: Dell Dimension and OptiPlex desktop computers, Latitude notebook computers, and PowerEdge network servers. The company''s products and services are sold in more than 140 countries and territories to customers extending from major corporations, government agencies and medical and educational institutions to small businesses and individuals. The company employs approximately 11,000 people. Headquarters are located in Round Rock, Texas, with manufacturing facilities in Austin, Texas; Limerick, Ireland; and Penang, Malaysia.

Dell Computer's business strategy is centered around its direct business model and customer-focused initiative aimed at delivering the best customer experience through direct, customer relationships, cooperative research and development with technology partners, custom-built computer systems and service and support programs tailored to customer needs. Dell believes that this approach provides it with several competitive advantages. The approach eliminates the need to support an extensive network of wholesale and retail dealers, thereby avoiding typical dealer mark-ups; avoids the higher inventory costs associated with the wholesale/retail channel and the competition for retail shelf space; and reduces the obsolescence risk associated with products in a rapidly changing technological market. In addition, direct customer contact allows the Dell Computer to maintain, monitor and update a database of information about customers and their current and future products and service needs, which can be used to shape future product offerings and post-sale service and support programs. This direct approach, combined with the company's efficient procurement, manufacturing and distribution processes, allows the company to bring relevant technology to its customers faster and more competitively priced than many of its competitors.

Company History

The company was plagued by management changes during the mid-1980s. Renamed Dell Computer, it added international sales offices in 1987. A year later it started selling to government agencies and added a sales-force to serve larger customers. That year Dell went public in a $34.2 million offering.

Dell tripped in 1990, reporting a 64% drop in profits. Sales were growing, but so were costs, mostly because of Dell's efforts to design a PC using proprietary components and RISC chips. Also, the company's warehouses were oversupplied. Within a year Dell turned itself around by cutting inventories and coming out with eight new products.

Dell entered the retail arena by letting Soft Warehouse Superstores (now CompUSA) in 1990 and office supply chain Staples in 1991 sell its PCs at mail-order prices. Also in 1991 Dell opened a plant in Limerick, Ireland.

In 1992 Xerox agreed to sell Dell machines in 19 Latin American countries. That year Dell sold a new line of PCs through Price Club (now Price/Costco). Dell opened subsidiaries in Japan and Austria in 1993 and began selling PCs through Best Buy stores in 16 US states.

The computer maker abandoned retail stores in 1994 to refocus on its mail-order origins. The company took a $40 million charge to retool its troubled notebook computer line and later that year released its Latitude notebook to general acclaim. The company also introduced a line of servers.

In 1995 the firm offered Pentium-based notebooks, and hastened the interest in its desktops by cutting prices and releasing a dual-processor PC. The following year Dell ramped up its efforts in the Asian computer market with new mail-order service in Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore; a new Asia/Pacific Customer Center in Malaysia; and direct-sales operations in South Korea and Taiwan.

In 1997 Dell and Toronto-based Newcourt Credit Group formed Dell Financial Services, a joint venture that will provide financing for Dell customers. That year Dell also announced plans to enter the market for engineering, analysis, and design computers called workstations. Dell built up its consumer business in 1997 by separating that operation from its small-business unit and beginning a leasing program for individuals.

The Dell Direct Model

Dell's award-winning customer service, industry-leading growth and financial performance continue to differentiate the company from competitors. At the heart of that performance is Dell's unique direct-to-customer business model. "Direct" refers to the company's relationships with its customers, from home-PC users to the world's largest corporations. There are no retailers or other resellers adding unnecessary time and cost, or diminishing Dell's understanding of customer expectations. Why are computer-systems customers and investors increasingly turning to Dell and its unique direct model? There are several reasons:

'h Price for Performance. By eliminating resellers, retailers and other costly intermediary steps together with the industry's most efficient procurement, manufacturing and distribution process Dell offers its customers more powerful, ...

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