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Dell’s top leaders and partner execs said digitization of logistics continues to give it a competitive edge.

Jeffrey Schwartz

May 4, 2022

5 Min Read
Michael Dell Dell Tech World 2022

DELL TECHNOLOGIES WORLD — Dell Technologies continues to emphasize the company’s resilient supply chain. That’s despite widespread component shortages and industry-wide shipping delays. At Dell Technologies World, company officials underscored Dell’s supply chain as a competitive advantage for it and its partners.

At the event this week in Las Vegas, Dell leaders claimed having the industry’s most efficient supply chain. The claims are consistent with what they said during Dell’s most recent quarterly earnings call in late February. But since then, industry challenges have escalated.

Among them are the war in Ukraine, increasing inflation – including rising fuel prices – the ongoing pandemic and labor shortages. Dell continues to navigate those issues, thanks to the digital transformation of its supply chain management process, company leaders emphasized.

Founder and CEO Michael Dell (pictured above) boasted that Dell has “the industry’s strongest and most resilient supply chain, an unmatched capability in bulk services.” Asked for more context during a media and analyst briefing, Dell punted the question to co-COO Jeff Clarke.

‘Unbelievably Dynamic Environment’

Dell's Jeff Clarke at Dell Tech World 2022“It has been an unbelievably dynamic environment for the past three to six months,” Clarke responded. “If you actually look further back to the previous [U.S. presidential] administration, tariffs, the implication of tariffs into the entire supply chain for the past four-plus years, is really beginning to change the underlying foundation of how we build the supply chain.”

Veteran industry analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group said the company’s claims about its strong supply chain are valid. Both Dell and Apple have fared better than others, according to Enderle.

Enderle Group's Robert Enderle

Enderle Group’s Robert Enderle

“They haven’t been hit that hard at all by the logistics nightmare that has torn up other industries and other technology companies,” he said.

Given the current economic and geopolitical conditions, building resilience into the supply chain is critical, Clarke said. And that resilience comes down to the technology used to manage it, he emphasized. Dell has digitized its supply chain with many of the technologies it is introducing, according to Clarke.

Those digitization efforts have provided Dell with the “ability to really look at simulation modeling, and to actually build the tools to provide that technology of our supply chain,” he said. “Being able to really understand different scenarios, we believe this has allowed us to do one simple thing — make decisions faster. Speed matters in the supply chain. Our ability to anticipate and see, and then correspondingly act. We think that has been a differentiator for us.”

Partner Ecosystem Implications

Dell's Rola Dagher at Dell Technologies World 2022, May 3.

Dell’s Rola Dagher at Dell Technologies World 2022, May 3.

Rola Dagher, Dell’s global channel chief, emphasized the company’s supply chain advantages in her keynote session with partners on Tuesday.

“Our program is world-class, and our supply chain is strong and has delivered for all of you improved on the last two years,” Dagher said.

Cheryl Cook, Dell’s VP of channel marketing, expounded on that during an interview with Channel Futures on Tuesday. Cook credited the leadership of Kevin Brown, Dell’s executive VP for global operations and chief supply chain officer.

Cheryl Cook at Dell Technologies World 2022

Dell’s Cheryl Cook at Dell Technologies World 2022.

“Personally, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jeff [Clarke] and Kevin Brown and the Dell team that manages that,” Cook said.

“I think we’re the best in the business,” she added. “If I’m humble enough, I think we showed up in ways that even exceeded our own expectations. With the most challenging, dynamic, fluid environment, our advantage is the scale of the company, the buying power and leverage and the relationships that we have with our suppliers.”

That’s not to say Dell is immune to the delays in procuring supplies and shipments. But Cook said the company’s logistics and supply chain visibility have helped partners set realistic expectations for customers. Key to that is being responsive, she said.

“We try and be as transparent and as honest with our customers and partners on realistic lead times as we can,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not the news we want to give them. But we will be honest, and we will try and improve on those.”

Cook added: “I think we showed up better than our competition. I honestly think that’s what’s helped us achieve some of the results that we did, in both unit shipments share gains and revenue gains. Nobody would have envisioned that in one of the most difficult pandemic work experiences that we would be as busy as we were and we’d be achieving historic results for the company.”

During its fiscal year 2022, which ended Jan. 29, Dell reported annual revenues of $101 billion, up 17% year over year.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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