Dell—Using E-Commerce for Success Essay

Introduction to E-Commerce and E-Marketplaces ONLINE FILE W1. 2 Application Case DELL—USING E-COMMERCE FOR SUCCESS The Problem/Opportunity Founded in 1985 by Michael Dell, Dell Computer Corp. (now known as Dell) was the first company to offer personal computers (PCs) via mail order. Dell designed its own PC system (with an Intel 8088 processor running at 8 MHz) and allowed customers to configure their own customized systems using the build-to-order concept (see Chapter 2, Appendix 2A). This concept was, and is still, Dell’s cornerstone business model.

By 1993, Dell had become one of the top five computer makers worldwide, threatening Compaq, which started a price war. At that time, Dell was taking orders by fax and snail mail and losing money. Losses reached over $100 million by 1994. The company was in trouble. The Solution The commercialization of the Internet in the early 1990s and the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1993 provided Dell with an opportunity to expand rapidly. Dell implemented aggressive online order-taking and opened subsidiaries in Europe and Asia.

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Dell also started to offer additional products on its Web site. This enabled Dell to batter Compaq, and in 2000 Dell became number one in worldwide PC shipments. At that time, Internet sales topped $50 million per day (about $18 billion per year). Today, Dell (dell. com) sells about $62 billion a year in computer-related products online, from network switches to printers, employing over 88,000 people. Direct online marketing is Dell’s major electronic commerce (EC) activity. Dell sells to the following groups: ? ? ? Individuals for their homes and home offices Small businesses (up to 200 employees) Medium and large businesses (over 200 employees) Government, education, and health-care organizations allows BA (and other businesses) to browse, buy, and track orders on a Dell Web site customized for the user’s requirements. The site enables authorized users to select preconfigured PCs for their business unit or department. A more advanced version, Premier B2B, supports e-procurement systems, such as from Ariba. This provides automatic requisition and order fulfillment once an authorized user has chosen to buy a PC from Dell.

BA has placed the e-procurement tools on its E-Working intranet. This allows authorized staff to purchase PCs through a portal that connects directly into Dell’s systems. In addition to supporting its business customers with e-procurement tools, Dell also is using EC in its own procurement. Dell developed an e-procurement model that it shares with its business partners, such as BA. One aspect of this model is the use of electronic tendering to conduct bids (see Chapter 5). Dell uses electronic tendering when it buys the components for its products.

In 2000, Dell created an online B2B exchange. This venture was a failure, like most other exchanges (see Chapter 5). E-Collaboration. Dell has many business partners with whom it needs to communicate and collaborate. For example, Dell uses shippers, such as UPS and FedEx, to deliver its computers to individuals. It also uses third-party logistics companies to collect, maintain, and deliver components from its suppliers, and it has many other partners. Dell is using Web Services, an EC technology, to facilitate communication and reduce inventories.

Web Services facilitate B2B integration. Integration efforts began in 2000 with other technologies when Dell encouraged its customers to buy online. The B2B integration offer combines Dell PowerEdge servers based on Intel architecture and WebMethods B2B integration software to link customers’ existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) or procurement systems directly with Dell and other trading partners. In addition, Dell can provide e-procurement applications and consulting services. Dell also educates customers in its technologies and offers suggestions on how to use them.

This is particularly true for emerging technologies such as wireless. Finally, Dell has a superb communication system with its over 15,000 service providers around the globe. E-Customer Service. Dell uses a number of different tools to provide superb customer service around the clock. To leverage customer relationship management (CRM)—a customer service approach that is customer centered for lasting relationships—Dell provides a virtual help desk for self-diagnosis and service as well as direct access to technical support data.

In addition, a phone-based help desk is open 24/7. Customers can also arrange for a live chat with a customer care agent. Product support includes troubleshooting, user guides, upgrades, downloads, news and press releases, FAQs, order status information, a “my account” page, a community forum (to exchange ideas, (continued) Sales to the first group are classified as business-toconsumer (B2C). Sales to the other three groups are classified as business-to-business (B2B). Consumers shop at dell. com using an electronic catalog.

The sales are completed using mechanisms described in Chapters 2 and 3. In addition, Dell auctions refurbished Dell computers and other products at dellauction. com. As will be discussed in Chapters 2 and 10, online auctions are an important sales channel. In 2006, Dell opened physical stores, mainly in reaction to customer demands. Business-to-Business EC. Most of Dell’s sales are to businesses. Whereas B2C sales are facilitated by standard shopping aids (e. g. , catalogs, shopping carts, credit card payments; see Chapters 2 and 3), B2B customers obtain additional help from Dell.

Dell provides each of its nearly 100,000 business customers with Premier Dell service. For example, British Airways (BA) considers Dell to be a strategic supplier. Dell provides notebooks and desktops to 25,000 BA users. Dell offers two e-procurement services to BA purchasing agents. The more basic service, Premier Dell, Chapter One: Overview of Electronic Commerce 1-3 ONLINE FILE W1. 2 (continued) company’s recycling program, used computers are refurbished and then distributed through NCF. Through Dell’s TechKnow Program, the company donates computers to urban middle schools.

The students learn about computers by taking them apart and reassembling them, loading software, setting up and running printers, upgrading hardware, diagnosing and correcting basic hardware problems, and using the Internet. Upon completion of the program, students take home the computers they build and receive a year of free Internet access. Dell also awards grants each year to governmental and educational institutions to organize, promote, stage, and recycle computer equipment in a free “No Computer Should Go to Waste” collection event in their communities. Refurbished machines are dispersed through local charities.

In 2006, Dell opened physical stores to match its competitors and customer demands. Dell’s major competitor, HP, regained its “top PC maker” position in 2006, leaving Dell in second place, and stayed in the lead through 2008. Rapidly changing business conditions (Section 1. 5) have forced Dell to restructure its operations. Michael Dell returned to the CEO position in 2006, and a restructuring of the company began shortly thereafter. All sales to businesses are now managed centrally, rather than from three regional headquarters around the globe. In addition, in 2008 the company cut its workforce by 8,000.

It also launched a blog called Direct2Dell (direct2dell. com). Dell also is expanding its business not only in the computer industry. but also in consumer electronics. Despite these challenges, Dell is clearly an example of EC success. information, and experiences), bulletin boards and other customer-to-customer interaction features, training books (at a discount), and much more. Dell also offers educational programs at learndell. com. Dell keeps a large customer database. Using data mining tools, it learns a great deal about its customers and attempts to make them happy. The database is used to improve marketing as well.

Intrabusiness EC. To support its build-to-order capabilities, significantly improve its demand-planning and factory execution accuracy, reduce order-to-delivery time, and enhance customer service, Dell partnered with Accenture to create a new, high-performance supply chain planning solution. Now in place in Dell’s plants around the world, the program, which paid for itself five times over during the first 12 months of operation, enables Dell to adapt more quickly to rapidly changing technologies and the business environment, maintaining its position as a high-performance business.

Dell also has automated its factory scheduling, demand-planning capabilities, and inventory management using information technology and e-supply chain models. Affiliate Program. Dell provides affiliate partners the opportunity to link from their Web sites to dell. com. Dell pays 2 to 4 percent on any qualified sale made from clicking on Dell’s link at the partners’ sites (referring buyers). The Results Dell has been one of Fortune’s top five “Most Admired” companies since 1999, and it continuously advances in the rankings of the Fortune 500 and the Fortune Global 500.

Dell has over 100 country-oriented Web sites, and profits are nearing $3 billion a year. If you had invested $10,000 in Dell’s initial public offering (IPO) in 1987, you would be a millionaire just from that investment. Dell actively supports EC research at the University of Texas in Austin (Dell’s headquarters also are in Austin). It also contributes heavily to charity. Dell has partnered with the National Cristina Foundation (NCF) to provide computer technology to people with disabilities, students at risk, and economically disadvantaged persons. Paired with the Questions 1. List all the types of EC transactions used by Dell. . Identify the business models used by Dell. 3. List the competitive advantages Dell has over its brickand-mortar competitors. 4. Review the capabilities of dell. com/delldirect. Write a summary. REFERENCES FOR ONLINE FILE W1. 2 Finkle, J. “Top Dell Execs Leave as PC Maker Restructures. ” Reuters, December 31, 2008. reuters. com/article/ businessNews/idUSWNAB624720081231? feedType= RSS&feedName=businessNews (accessed April 2009). dell. com (accessed February 2009). dellauction. com (accessed February 2009). National Cristina Foundation. “Dell Recycling. ” Cristina. org. cristina. org/dell. html (accessed January 2009).