Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2002


Dundar Kocaoglu

Course Title

Management of Engineering and Technology

Course Number

EMGT 520/620


Dell Computer Corp. -- Management, Dell Computer Corp. -- Strategic planning, Technology -- Management, Engineering -- Management


Dell Computer, of Round Rock, Texas, is one of recent business history's great success stories. Founded in a University of Texas dorm room, Dell was the 2nd fastest growing company in the United States from 1991 to 2001, with revenues last year of over $31 billion (and that was an off year!) making it the 53rd largest company in the US. More remarkably, this growth has been achieved by a de novo company without large acquisitions, in manufacturing, in a highly competitive business and with a founder and CEO not yet forty years old. Dell has been consistently profitably and has enjoyed an annualised earnings per share growth rate of over 22% for the last five years (again, among the top 50 companies by that measure.) We will seek to explain some of the company's success in this paper, focusing on ETM concepts.

It is often said that the way something looks depends on who is looking at it. In our initial case study on the American automobile industry, we took the notion of technological improvement and used it to look not at Henry Ford's product but at his production methods. The Model T was not so much the best car, we found, but the car best suited to its buyers' needs and most importantly, most affordable, thanks to Ford's remarkable advances in assembly line production. With that experience behind us, we have looked at Dell and found that it is also a great beneficiary of technology of perhaps the least exciting kind but clearly most appropriate. While Dell produces a high technology product, it is not in the enviable position it is because of the product's technical virtues.

Note: The presentation associated with this report is included here as a supplemental file.


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