Dell repair adventure, conclusion

Well, our hero's story had a happy ending. The service tech came out to my office and replaced both the motherboard and the screen on my Dell laptop.

Well, our hero's story had a happy ending. The service tech came out to my office and replaced both the motherboard and the screen on my Dell laptop. After than magic was performed, the system booted up and ran just as it did before. I appreciate the help provided by the people mentioned in earlier posts and the people who supported them.

When I analyze what happened, it appears that Dell keeps a centralized depot of spare parts in each region and delivers parts to outsourced service techs using an approach that is based upon on-demand, overnight shipping services. This is different than the approach I was familiar with when I worked for DEC. Each DEC office had sufficient supplies to build each and every one of their currently supported systems out of spare parts. DEC had the ability to address the overwhelming majority of issues very quickly. DEC's approach was very costly, but it worked fairly well for servers.

Dell's service model faces a few vulnerabilities. If there is a run on a specific part due to a failure of some component, in this case nivida graphics processors, a supplier having only one, or perhaps a small number, of places to find spare parts might come up short. Relying on an "on demand" supply of parts from component suppliers might mean having no parts available. A supplier that kept a larger, disbursed supply of parts might be better able to respond.

Suppliers who maintain a large inventory of spare parts faces its own problems. A large inventory ties of a vendor's money. If the demand for a part is low, the supplier could end up having to write down the value of obsolete parts on a very regular basis. The inventory is taxable as well.

Every hardware supplier has to grapple with these issues and find a balance that works. In this case, the model Dell selected provided "less than optimal or expected" results even though there is every indication that the company was doing its very best to work its way through a difficult industry situation.

Dell's approach appears reasonable when one considers how many different models of laptop, desktop, printer, and Lord knows what else Dell is currently supporting. Having every spare part for every machine at every location simply isn't practical. Dell's approach would certainly reduce the overall cost of maintaining sufficient spares to resolve most issues in a timely fashion. The approach, unfortunately, also has some vulnerabilities as well.

As an aside, who knows the industry jargon phrase that is used when observed performance is "less than optimal or expected?"