Dell's Just-in-Time Model in West Africa

Dell's Just-in-Time Model in West Africa

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4062-5.ch007


Dell Computer Corporation founded by Michael Dell started in 1985 and has become the world's leading computer systems company today. Dell's motto is simple: to design, build, and customize products and services to satisfy a range of customer requirements. A few years after introducing its next-day on-site service, which will become the company core of its competitive edge, Dell started to expand internationally with the opening of many subsidiaries. This chapter assesses the feasibility of implementing Dell's model and its impacts on a third-world economies such as Ghana. Key factors such as the Ghana natural and human resources are assessed. The findings show that certain attributes must be in place to facilitate the JIT business model, especially when looking at emerging markets like Ghana with a clue on what it takes to implement the business model application in manufacturing, service, or production settings.
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Dell’s direct model technology is founded on listening to customers and delivering innovative technology and services to them. Using the direct model technology, Dell sells computers directly to consumers, which gives them a front view of what they want so the company can provide them with the most efficient solution in their capacity. The direct model technology

starts and ends with the customers, with the power of direct and a team of talented people, Dell is able to provide customers with superb value, high technology, high quality, customized systems, superior service and support and products and services that are easy to buy and use. (Dell, Inc., 2006)

This is the cornerstone of the direct model technology. According to the website, the model has five tenets:

  • Most efficient path to the customer

  • Single point of accountability

  • Build-to-order

  • Low-Cost Leader

  • Standard-based Technology.

The model is the most efficient path to the customer because of the direct relationship. There are no intermediaries, which has resulted in less time of delivery and interaction. They directly handle customers to know their specific needs and provide those needs with their talented workforce. Single point of accountability means that Dell makes it easy for the customers by only referencing a single and streamlined way to the right resources. This means that customers are not shuffled into different departments or technical group to answer any questions they asked or fulfill any requirements that need to be fulfilled. As it is, technology can be quite complex and difficult to understand. Dell recognizes this and allows customers not to feel intimidated by the complexities of technology with their single point of accountability. Customers want the purchase to be as painless as possible and to be a customer service experience they would want to have again. The third tenet is built-to-order which means they build exactly what the customer’s specifications are. They assess the needs of the customer and they provide them according to their needs. This will lead the customer to more intelligent choices and they can get the best prices for the features they want in a computer which leads to the fourth tenet called a low-cost leader. Dell said, “they focus resources on what matters to the customers”. Dell has an outstanding supply chain and manufacturing facilities which provides them with high-quality products at reduced costs. This, in turn, translates to superior value for their customers. The fifth tenet is standards-based technology which means that Dell does extensive research and development to provide customers with standards. Standards will give customers a wider array of choices which satisfies every specification they need.

The chapter assesses the extent to which success can be achieved when Dell implements its direct model technology in Ghana, and so the project considers understanding the current state of this West African country. The identification from the study is that this developing world country presents potential as a technology hub for West Africa and Africa as a whole, but it will have to address the current loopholes that are in place. For instance, the technological capabilities impairments, poor market opportunity, poor learning environment, low investment from the private sector, heavy taxation imposed by the government on businesses, and volatility in the economy of the country characterized by inflation, among other things, present hindrances to the country’s progress. The above disparities indicate that the application of quality management systems in a number of the areas of the country are obsolete or are not working for the sectors. It is high time that the country addresses the above issues among others, and thus makes use of lean six sigma strategies like just-in-time tools in its manufacturing quests, with international partners, in the attempt to foster competitive advantage and significant growth.

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