Michael Dell founded Dell in 1984 at the age of 19. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak designed Apple Computer on April 1, 1976. As both companies continue to grow they have contributed to a wide impact on competiveness and efficiency towards strategic goals.
Dell Computer Corporation is one of the most visible success stories in the computer market. By selling personal computers directly to customers over the Internet, offering a build-to-order sales system, and then linking suppliers, workers, managers, customers, and service personnel together on the Internet, Dell has built a series of rapid-response systems that have revolutionized organizational communication. Dell’s rapid-response systems have led to fear, admiration, and attempts at imitation among its competitors and other e-businesses alike (McWilliams 1997, 132-136, 91-92;McWilliams and White 1999, 84). Apple however from the beginning was about the hub-and-wheel model. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he made returning to the hub-and-wheel model an immediate priority of the ensuing corporate shakeup. He met with hundreds of people in every facet of the company, regardless of rank, asking them a series of questions that put them on the defensive about their jobs, and retained only the ones he liked: “He had total disregard for the hierarchical chain of command. He would remember what several hundred people did and call on whomever he needed, always bypassing their managers”, says Jim Oliver.
Dell is a model cycle reduction time firm. Dell applies cycle reduction logic to every aspect of its operations with dramatic results. Dell employs four rapid-response systems. Each system uses the Internet to provide a real-time communication system for linking key organizational stakeholders together into a functional community. Each rapid-response system employs a backbone profiling system for precisely adapting the content of communication to each of an organization’s stockholders. These profiles are then used to improve future communication and to maintain interpersonal relationships between stakeholders. This in turn enhances the firm’s organizational performance. Individually, these four rapid-response systems are necessary conditions for rapid and successful organizational communication and collectively they represent sufficient conditions along with their accompanying targets for successful organizational performance (Margretta 1998, 73–83; Stepanek 1998, 51–52).
First, Dell has a rapid-response sales link to its customers. This interactive online communication system allows customers to order and track their purchase through each stage of the manufacturing and distribution process. Employing mail catalogs and Internet home pages, customers interact directly with Dell and can customize their orders to meet their unique needs. Since 1998, this includes an Internet Superstore with thirty thousand computer parts. This Superstore provides everything from different types of chips to different types of add-ons. Dell tracks these interactive communication processes in order to build backbone customer and product communication profiles. The profiles of customer choice allow Dell to notify individuals of useful add-ons, key advances in technology, and new services that might meet the customer’s previously indicated needs. The profile of product orders assists Dell in stream- lining its value chain, dealing with suppliers, and monitoring product changes. In addition Dell offers customers online chat rooms for discussions with other customers, Dell managers, and Dell’s maintenance staff. Once a week Dell hosts an online interactive lecture on various new advances in computer technology. These interactive communication processes help Dell maintain interpersonal relation- ships with its customers and to adapt its products rapidly to changing customer needs. The result is that Dell’s laptop, desktop, workstation, and services have won awards as the top products in their...
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Stepanek, M. (1998). What does Number One do for an encore? Business Week, November 2, 51–52.
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