Is it just me, or is Dell dying a slow death?
A bit far fetched, I know, but Dell Computer (DELL:NASDAQ) is ripe for the plucking by an upstart.
I ordered my first Dell in the summer of 1993, and have enjoyed the products at various jobs and homes ever since. We have about 10 of the machines in our office, so I feel like we’re trying to help Michael Dell out as best we can.
But, over the past two years, I ran into terrible trouble with the process that validates orders.
It seems that Dell assumes that each and every online order has been placed with a stolen credit card. Particularly if you use a work delivery address for a credit card that is billed to your home. Understandable.
Someone from fraud prevention leaves you a vmail, but sometimes that’s 5 days following the order input. Other times, the order was cancelled even though I had confirmed that the order was legit within their specified 24 hour timeframe.
Well trained staff at Dell Canada deal with complaints with much aplomb, provided that you can find an email. There really isn’t a telephone listing, and the corporate website hides almost each and every email. But, once you find someone — firstname.lastname@example.org worked one day — there was a 15% rebate on a July 2006 order screw-up (#123121626).
You’d think, by now, I’d have found us another supplier. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment, but I ordered another Dell desktop on July 9th (order #168046779), with the online ordering systems estimating a 7 day delivery timeline
As of this morning, it has been in production since July 10th. I got through the fraud check just fine, but the delay has something to do with a backordered NVIDIA (NVDA:NASDAQ) graphics card. A basic component of any modern day desktop. It was a staple of the system I ordered, nothing fancy; and if you wanted to try to hurry things up now and pay for an ATI card, the original order will be thrown out and you’re at the beginning of the queue again. But, no one will tell you that the ATI card is in stock, so the risk didn’t seem worth it.
Now, if you are ordering a made-to-measure Mercedes GL truck, you would expect to wait a few weeks for the good people of Alabama to work it up for you.
But, a desktop? After all these years of perfecting their order management system? No doubt there is some just-in-time delivery going on, but do the equity research analysts covering NVIDIA know that the folks that produce the graphics cards have fled on an extended summer furlow?
As for Dell, if the cards are on backorder, tell the order management system. Don’t promise one week delivery, and be unable to produce the most basic machine within a month…and counting. Unless the point is to grab the order, and then beg forgiveness once the machine finally shows up.