Would you do business with Dell?

Let the race begin: As Dell has started to contemplate the idea of going private, the bidding war for control over this company has emerged. Many view Dell as being doomed, a company that has failed to redesign their once prosperous supply chain and has succumbed to the pressures of the increasingly standardized field of IT. On the other side of pessimists we always have our optimists, the group of individuals that believe Dell still has the potential to rise up and adapt to the new challenges of computer manufacturing. We all know that Dell has experienced issues that can be connected to how computer manufacturing has become increasingly imitable, but I would like to argue that Dell’s products and technologies are not the sole contributors to their current issues, but their flawed relationships with employees and business partners are as well.

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Like Walmart, Dell has always been one of the companies that has thrived from squeezing the costs of their suppliers, constantly starting bidding wars between these potential suppliers. Stephen R. Satterwite worked with Dell with this supplier-like relationship through his IT services company and has recently begun to write about problems he saw with Dell. Satterwite’s company was initially successful in reacting to the cost-cutting pressures of Dell, but when business became less prosperous the real problems of Dell came to light. Satterwite found that dissatisfaction with Dell was found across all different kinds of people: consumers, business partners and employees. In his personal experience, the amount of pressure and guilt that Dell constantly placed on his company was bad enough for his company to cease doing business with Dell, despite the potential revenues.

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Much of this dissatisfaction stemmed from the flawed culture of Dell, a culture which was centered around maximizing profits, with other needs in the background. Their attempts at maximizing their profits were initially successful, but as more competitors arose their success began to decrease. A study found that 50% of Dell’s employees would leave for a better job. What does it say about a company if half of their employees would be willing to leave?! A key component of a company’s success is their infrastructure (a member of Porter’s value chain) and like Satterwite, I would like to argue that many of Dell’s current problems have come from its disjointed culture. Satterwite offers that Dell’s alternative for success must include a fight against their cultural issues; if they fail to address it the world will continue to see a dark future for this company. Now is the time to ask would you do business with Dell? Do you feel that Dell ‘s relationships with its business partners, employees and consumers are just as important as how they execute the various components of their supply chain?

For more detailed information on Stephen R. Satterwite’s story visit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2013/04/01/dells-poisonous-culture-is-sinking-its-ship-and-raises-questions-for-potential-buyers/2/

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6 thoughts on “Would you do business with Dell?

  1. This article is very interesting in that not just products, technology, and price make a business “thrive or dive.” Company culture and its relation to employees can clearly be vital. At this point in time, I would not to business with Dell. As we discussed in class, they are currently at the point of making a change in their business plan, something that can either be a complete success or failure. Having said this, I think it would be wise to wait out Dell’s changes, and if they seem logical and profitable, business with Dell can then ensue. The added fact that employees are leaving the company as you mentioned also doesn’t exactly encourage doing business with them. I believe Dell’s relationships with anyone involved in the business cycle are essential to the company’s success. This goes for any company in any industry. Business relationships are the vehicles for improvement and gain. I liked how you expanded on our discussion of Dell in class. This blog provided another perspective on what the company is composed of internally. My only recommendation would be to include a little more information about the company’s culture and why it is “disjointed.”

  2. This article is interesting because it offers a perspective on an issue not usually discussed when talking about Dell. Their disintermediation business model and superior attitude because of size would definitely create poor business relations with other companies. This could definitely hurt the company in the long run. I feel that business has become impersonal and companies are increasingly money hungry. There are few mom and pop stores where community relationships were imperative and valued. There is something to be said for maintaining positive relations with others. I do not think I would do business with Dell because I feel that new powerful business are emerging with innovative ideas and these start ups have the advantage of learning from past companies but developing their own models. It’s hard for Dell to change much at this point. Dell had a good run, but it’s time to make room and let some new companies into the industry.

  3. Very interesting post. Office culture comes up in a lot of classes. Over time there has been a shift away from they way Dell does business, kind of old school, to the way Google does business. Keep the workers happy, be nice, don’t worry about certain costs, and you will make lots of money. I would still do business with Dell. My options would be few to do much else if I wanted to make laptop components.

  4. I like this blog post a lot because it introduces a new perspective to the Dell case that we discussed in class. Not only is their supply chain and the value in their merchandise faltering, but so is the culture and environment within the company as well. According to the report from Satterwite, I wouldn’t do business with Dell because if the company and its’ employees aren’t putting enough attention on customer service, then the small difference in price wouldn’t overcome the dissatisfaction for me. One of the recommendations that I have, which I also received on my post, is to introduce your own style and opinions into the post and into the in-depth analysis of Forbes article. For example, at the end of the blog you ask the readers if we would do business with Dell, yet you never answer the question yourself.

  5. I found it very interesting to hear what Satterwite had to say about working as a supplier for Dell now that Dell is no longer the thriving, top company it once was. Last class, we used the phrase “Because they’re Dell” many times in discussing why suppliers gave Dell good terms or delivered supplies in just 90 minutes, to give some examples. As Satterwite’s words show, the whole “Because they’re Dell” notion will no longer fly with Dell’s suppliers now that the company is struggling greatly. I feel that this post did a great job in showing the reader that contrary to common belief, Dell’s struggles aren’t limited to its supply chain woes but also involve its corporate culture.

  6. This blog brought up an interesting point about how a company’s culture can be a big influence on its success. From the points that we discussed in class on Dell, it seemed like they were acting as the bully to the suppliers to try to maximize profits, and I can see how this would cause Dell to gain some enemies. With all the information in the article, I would not do business with Dell because I do not like the way they do business and they seem like a shaky company that is trying to hold on to their former glory.

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