Dell’s greatest resource is Michael Dell, the founder. Dell brought in recognition to the brand, including mentions in magazines early in the company’s inception (Wheelen, 2012, p. 9-1). That early recognition allowed Dell to create relationships with outside manufacturing companies, as well as set up several dedicated assembly lines in America, Europe, and Asia (Wheelen, 2012, p. 9-3). Dell also had the idea to wait until technology standardized, rather than leaping on new technology when its costs were high so that they could offer the new technology more slowly than other companies, but at a much lower cost, and with a higher quality (Wheelen, 2012, p. 9-3).
Dell’s manufacturing capabilities have been the company’s strong point. Since Dell does not focus on R&D and instead prioritizes manufacturing the best product possible, it’s able to provide higher quality products, including laptops, desktops, and even touch tablets, as well as software and services (Wheelen, 2012, p. 9-3). This allowed Dell to focus on the standard technologies, and perfect their techniques at creating computers that worked well, which they assembled themselves from parts purchased cheaply (Wheelen, 2012, p. 9-2-3).
Dell’s production is one of its core competencies. Dell knew when he founded the company how to pick pieces to use in restoring computers and applied this model to the company at large (Wheelen, 2012, p. 9-1). The combination of the B2B relationships that Dell has with the parts’ manufacturers supply chains, including the chips, drives, and other hardware, allows it to excel at assembling the computers at low cost, but at high quality.
Dell’s reluctance to produce its software is a noted weakness. Dell specializes in assembling parts into a useable computer but does little in-house work (Wheelen, 2012, p. 9-5). This means that as the industry shifted to wanting unique, personalized personal computers—machines that essentially reflected the interests, computing styles, and mobility needs of the consumer—while Dell still provided mainly stock models that were customizable to a degree, the customer no longer saw their product as high quality, and no longer wanted to spend the money on a machine that was not in line with their needs, particularly if they can purchase a basic stock machine at a retail store, and have options to custom-build online.
If Dell spends time working on developing software or even an OS that is unique to their computers, even if they still piece together parts from different companies, there will be something that Dell can claim is its unique product, which will draw in customers more. The software could be included in the stock models, or available for purchase, or a combination of both, so that users have more sense of control over their computers, and how they use their computers. Software might be unique or might just be a new version of popular software, such as Microsoft Word and Apple Pages.
Since customers want unique experiences with their laptops, providing basic stock models in retail stores for users who have basic needs is fine, but Dell should investigate having a more dedicated and custom-build option for their online stores. They should provide an option for computer users who want more unique experiences, with dedicated service for helping keep those computers running smoothly since customers doubt their service (Wheelen, 2012, p. 9-5).
Wheelen, T., & Hunger, J. (2012). Strategic management and business policy: Toward global sustainability (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson