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More Dell Hell – Battery Recall

August 15, 2006

4 million batteries are being recalled by Dell. And it involves Sony who made the batteries.

Here’s another story about it from TechWeb.

I know we’ve all seen the exploding Dell Laptop in the Japanese boardroom. This is not a time I’d like to be in the PR department at Dell.

Since I have some close ties to Lenovo, I asked if they had the same problems. If you read the Ziff article about how they are dealing with it, you see that they are not having any of the same issues. I haven’t heard anything about HP, but since they are high profile, I’m sure it would appear quickly.

I think the issue is bigger than the battery. It is the R&D at Dell, one of the lowest in the business. They buy what is out there on a just in time basis at the lowest cost. This doesn’t give you either time to do proper quality control or allow you to use much of your own development, also vital in problem solving.

When I was in the Technology Group at IBM, we OEM’d a lot of parts to Dell. I think at one point, a Dell computer was half IBM cost wise when you included Intellectual Property. They’ve since gone to other sources as the patents for PC’s have expired and offshoring is cheaper for parts. What I learned was their MO for cheapness. The PC industry has always had price as the main reason for buying, to the point of vendors losing money and going out of business, but you get sick of quality problems and go away if the product doesn’t perform. As I go on ad nauseam, consumers vote with their money.

Since I worked in the PC division, I have seen that things like software and Design do make a difference. Lenovo is not having these Dell problems because they are better machines with seemingly the same parts.The cost of this is going to be far more than the replacement cost. It is a perception cost on quality which they don’t need right now. They should also incur a greater R&D in house cost to ensure that the proper design and testing of parts are insured.

Dell has had it’s time at the top. Most will tell you it’s harder to stay at the top than to get there. IBM has reinvented itself many times, all companies have to. We’ll see….

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From → ibm, screw ups

One Comment
  1. Paul permalink

    Sony made the batteries, but alas Dell is at the end of the chain. Certainly a big PR hit. I have to think after two years of issuing these wouldn’t they have been aware? Why not recall sooner? That’s what this guy says you should do:

    “In determining when to disclose, watch for material events and early warning triggering mechanisms that compel public disclosure ASAP.”

    http://www.levick.com/resources/topics/articles/dell_battery_crisis.php

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