updated 02:50 pm EST, Fri December 11, 2009
Part delays hampering Dell holidays
Dell may be having trouble fulfilling orders due to inherent problems with its delivery system, according to multiple anecdotal reports. Those who've ordered say their orders have been delayed as many as four times and in many cases have been pushed back to January. When asked, Dell regularly claims that it's waiting on one or more parts before it can finish building the system and claims that there are a lot of orders due to the holidays.
The setbacks are believed to stem from Dell's approach to custom-ordering systems. Rather than build a pre-configured system and modify it, the PC builder takes a "just in time" approach that gets the components as they're needed for particular orders. The method allows greater flexibility but creates problems when one or more suppliers has trouble, as Dell can't change the order on the fly.
In contrast, vendors like Apple often have the systems nearly or completely pre-assembled and modify them at the last minute. Dell lately has tried to ameliorate this with retail PCs and its pre-made, Fast Track configurations but is known to have faced other delays in the past.
Missed deliveries could potentially compound Dell's declining performance both by delaying revenue as well as by steering customers to rivals with quicker delivery. [via ZDNet]