back to article Dell trips up over laptop components

Dell customers hoping to bag an XPS M1710 laptop may find themselves twiddling their fingers for a very long time as they sit at home waiting for the doorbell to ring. The direct PC box shifter has been struggling to turn around its production line quickly enough to deliver a range of new laptops within a reasonable timeframe …

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  1. R. Jones

    I was feeling left out!

    I ordered my XPS1710 back in early August. Every week, within 48 hours of the due date, it would slip back by another week. Every week I rang them up and whined about it and was given assurances and promises. But all I could find online were complaints about the 1310 being out of stock - I was feeling left out!

    At last, it's admitted there is a problem with the 1710 as well. It's too late for me, I cancelled my order after the 5th delay and broken promise a few weeks ago, and now have a nice Toshiba, delivered the next day from Dabs (well, it should have been if Amtrak hadn't screwed up but that's another tale). I suspected something was up with the 1710s because Dell were more than happy to let me cancel this £2K laptop order without even making a vague attempt to convince me not to, which is not like them at all!

  2. Duncan Wakeling

    6 weeks???

    Only 6 weeks wait - I ordered a Precision 4300 on the 6th August and am still waiting. The last revision to the expected date is now 8th October but my rep has gone very quiet on the issue so I wont hold my breath!

  3. simon perryman

    This sounds about right

    I contacted dell and told them that I needed 2 laptops urgently to spec a project and then assuming it all went ok with the test systems I would want to order another 150 - 200.

    They told me the "urgent" test systems would take7 weeks and cited the laptop monitor shortage. I asked if it was an industry wide problem why HP weren't effected. My account manager replied and told me that "Theres no reason to be like that."

    I think Dell may have forgotten that they sell computers as there main business model. They have certainly lost site of what there customers want, ie computers that don't take 2 months to arrive.

    Oh and for the record I'd quite like machines not laden with crap trial ware and a delivery option that doesn't cost £60 which is frankly the biggest joke ever.

  4. dave

    Latitude D630

    Had the same problem with a Latitude D630 which uses a 14.1 panel, 33 days if we wanted the 1440x900 or 3 days for the 1280x800 display.

  5. Ian Wilson

    Just in time for Christmas....2008.....

    I was going to order some of those excitingly coloured laptops from Dell, but took one look at the estimated "6 week delivery" times and thought better of it.

    Long initial delivery times seem to have a habit of getting longer and longer and longer. Amazon frequently pulls the same stunt, shifting back the delivery estimates for some items...

    Whatever happened to keeping stock in a warehouse....ho hum...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same for the XPS1330

    It's these new-fangled white LED displays apparently...

    Just In Time (JIT) has become Just Too Late (JTL).

    Time to convert to Apple MacBook Pro. Apparently, they are able to get supplies - I would have thought Dell's buying power would have been greater than Apples ?

  7. David Lurie

    Register slow on the uptake?

    I emailed the Reg with news about this myself 6 weeks ago (which was when my Vostro 1400 was pushed back 6 weeks, leading to a full 8 week wait) - it arrived earlier this week a full 7 weeks after ordering.

    Surprised El Reg has taken this long to report it. I must admit though, the wait was worth it, the build quality and price of the Vostros are incredible.

  8. Robert Caldecott

    Dell Precision M90

    My company ordered a top of the range Precision M90 for me at the end of July. The shipping date slipped due to a shortage of 17" screens and we were told it would ship this week. The day before it was due they told us it won't be till the end of October at the earliest. Sigh. Still, nice to know I am not alone.

  9. Andy B

    11 weeks

    I ordered an Inspiron in 15th August. The order was placed by phone, as I called to query an option and was told I was likely to get it sooner if the order was placed over the phone rather than via the web site. Current expected delivery date? 30th October. Almost 11 weeks after placing the order. I am _not_ happy. We have a new starter having to manage without a laptop for 2 months because of this.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 11 weeks

    It only took 10 weeks for my gran to get a new hip on the NHS.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    round the clojk globally..

    i love this remark implying that they are working all hours. In reality I daresay they are working a regular 8 hour shift in every country around the world therefore appearing to working 24 hours everywhere. Clever clever. The manufacturer is ok but nothing special if you do some homework

  12. David

    14 weeks

    I ordered a Latitude D630 with a 1440x900 screen at the start of August. I have just been told that I will now have to wait until the end of October. To make matters worse they took the money for the system from my account on the day the order was placed!! Next time I want to buy a Dell system I had better get my order in a good 6months in advance, if I buy from Dell again!

  13. Andrew Smith

    Dell are an utter shambles at the moment

    I ordered 7 laptops in July. Not only do they turn up towards the end of september but they are the wrong spec, come with the wrong monitors, and they send me keyboards instead of mice.

    If had any sway over vendor choice we'd have cancelled all orders in August.

  14. David Haig

    Not just laptops!

    I've ordered 3 Poweredge servers on September 10th, with a delivery date of October 1st, to be told yesterday that the new delivery date would be 16th October - 2 days after the golive deadline of our new site! I had the same "supplier problems" excuse but judging by the comments here its to do with the LCD's - Typical, I specced CRT's as they were cheaper but the MD wanted 'green' screens - I know where I'm going to place my 'carbon footprint'.

  15. MarkW

    2 x M4300 ordered 28 Aug, now "due" 9 Oct, payment already taken!

    This is all depressingly familiar. Has everybody else had payment taken too? (I see David has.) Dell have told us it's "standard procedure" to take payment within 21 days of order - which would imply it's happened to everyone?

    Does anyone know if they're within their rights to take payment? I can pre-order on Amazon by months and they don't take payment until the goods are shipped. Dell have said the only way to get the money refunded is to cancel the order.

    Not impressed.

  16. sleepy

    just get a mac

    Mac build quality and availability are fine. It must be plain to anyone by now that Dell are no longer trusted by their suppliers and no longer given priority for shipments, Intel having been the first to withdraw favoured customer status from Dell. Add to that taking your money up front for a product that doesn't ship for 3 months, and you have all the signs of a classic buy-on-credit sell-for-cash business model that implodes when growth falls below 15-20 percent per year.

    With Dell having already extracted more than all the profit it has ever made from the company, it seems to me it really could implode.

  17. ElDucko

    It's not just laptops

    I had the same issue when I tried to order two optiplex's in August, deliver date 5th Oct. Despite the fact I cancelled my order two weeks ago I have yet to receive my refund from Dell.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3 Months & Counting

    I ordered two D630s (1440x900) one in August and another a couple of weeks ago.

    Long story short the current estimated delivery date is 3 months (12 weeks) after the order date and I have no expectation that they will fulfil the order on the dates given.

    Suffice it to say my account manager has had an official complaint. Not least because I asked them if it was going to be delayed again two days before it was delayed again and the response was "The delivery date is X October" they hadn't even bothered to check.

  19. Nick Palmer

    Delays on D630s

    We've seen exactly the same delay on the D630s with 1440x900 screen as noted above and have resorted to buying HP Compaq nc6400s instead (they're available with the same screen res). That said, I don't think it's just Dell having issues with those screens. HP's replacement for the 6400, the 6910p, is allegedly offered with 1280x800 OR 1440x900 screens but even their own site is only listing individual models with the lower res screens. I did hear something to the effect that TFT supply was being affected by a chemical spill at a manufacturer.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is it only Dell has a problem with parts

    I cancelled my order for an Inspiron on 21st September. It was ordered on 18th July with a provisional delivery date of 14th August. This was pushed back to 12th September then 11th October. On the day I cancelled it was because I learned that the October date was when they hoped to receive the parts - not when I could expect my kit.

    I've got a very similar spec from MSI for a lot less and it shipped off the shelf in 5 days.

    Visiting the investors web sites it seems to be a very general opinion that Dell can't get parts because they take so long to pay their suppliers. When you've got more orders than you can satisfy you are going to serve the prompt payers first.

    The idea that Dell makes more of its money on the turn is supported in my mind by the fact that they took my money on the very day I ordered, even though they told me they would not debit my card until the goods shipped. That money would have sat in their accounts from 18 July until probably end of January 2008.

    That money and all the other payments - a nice return in interest.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing new

    Dell took 10 weeks to get my XPS Gen 2 to me, two years ago.

    Apple took 8 weeks to delivery my Mac Pro.

    I've just ordered a M1730... notably, the desktop XPS has a delivery delays notice (3 weeks) on the order form, but there's no such thing on the M1730 order. I'll be asking for a nice discount if they've cocked it up.

  22. said

    Weather the storm

    Dell are doing a wonderful job and it is unfortunate that they are plagued by component shortages from the Far east, which are totally outside their control.

    I'm sure they are not deliberately witholding orders nor sitting on them!

    Just think that without the likes of Dell, we'd be taken to the cleaners by other vendors. It's thanks to the likes of Dell that we are seeing prices which are so low it begs the question of how do they manage that? We've never seen PCs been sold so cheap...I understand that the margins are so tight in desktops and notebooks (negative in a lot of instances) that it's hardly worth the effort of making them. Remember, the mighty IBM gave up and sold out to Lenovo!

    This is bound to hit all other vendors, if not so already, at some stage in any case. Dell's model of building to order means that current shortages are reflected in current orders whereas other vendors would've had some stock in the channel but this is bound to run out and they'd eventually face the same problems or worse!

    Be patient, stay loyal under the current climate and it'll all be forgotten in few months time.

  23. Mike

    It's Dell - What do you expect?

    It's Dell - What do you expect?

    They advertise stuff they don't have all the time...! Advertise it, see how much interest there is - if people give us enough money then we'll bother to make them... if not, we'll delay, we'll blame the couriers, we'll blame oem manufacturers, we'll blame the weather, we'll blame ANYONE but ourselves - whatever it takes...

    oh - and try and order something that they advertise!!!

    i'd like that PC you advertised the other day please?

    ok - which extras would you like?

    none, just the spec you advertised thanks...

    oh - are you sure you wouldn't like a monitor upgrade for £200? maybe a floppy drive for £60?

    no - just the basic spec you advertised...thankyou...

    if you order the shiny finish i can ship it tomorrow...

    no, the basic spec please...

    sorry - manufacturer shortages on that model - we can't sell it...

    really? you do surprise me....

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @said

    Excuse me?

    The only way Dell are doing a wonderful job is by taking funds from payments before they allocate and ship which is contrary to their Ts&Cs thus with revenue for no expenses, they're doing pretty well on paper....

    Dell do absolutely nothing to keep prices down - because they don't actually ship anything tangible in a decent timeframe.

    I've stopped ordering equipment from Dell as it's ALWAYS late, frequently the wrong spec and with overpriced delivery of the items they actually manage to ship, they can't be relied on for any kind of critical path delivery.

    Sad really as they used to be reasonable.

  25. Andy Enderby

    @said.....

    .....exactly which position in the Dell marketting machine do you hold Said ?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weather the storm ? Nooo, run away fast, it looks like a Hurricane

    So many comments on here and articles in the press - while other suppliers, notably Apple, and others such as Toshiba and HP are fine... Dell have lost the plot - time for them to embrace Six Sigma ?

    Dell could have avoided the problems of bespoke build by buying components (as opposed to building PCs) in advance based on projections - these problems have been going on for quite a while.

    Dell charging up front and not when the product is shipped is dubious practice - as the finished product does not exist it's quite risky unless you are using a Credit Card and are covered by the relevant legislation (e.g. in the UK the Consumer Credit Act 1974), if Dell go into administration you won't get much of your money back as there is no specific product for you to claim and you'll be just another cretiror. Of course, this has not been predicted and the shares have not crashed.

    Here is an interesting comparison (as at 01 October 2007) http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=3m&s=AAPL&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=DELL

    Loyalty is two way normally... I don't see what Dell is giving back in return for excellent cashflow - medium cost products late ? Switch to HP or Toshiba or, perhaps, if you're after a good laptop then consider a Mac (I am, and I've never owned a Mac but comments are excellent and they innovate - backlit keyboards etc.) - but I've been advised to wait until end October for the new MacOs 10.5 to be shipped on the laptop.

  27. Ammok

    six weeks soon passes

    it does actually tell you on the Dell website, before you buy, there is a six week delay. its the red "delivery" just under the shipping charge.

    i didn't wait the six weeks, i got a tosh in pc world instead, bargain, but the sales assistant kept trying to flog me a dodgy rucksack and insurance in case the straps snapped whilst backpacking in Romania.

  28. ElDucko

    Still waiting on refund

    Now 11 days and counting waiting for them to refund my account. This is a shambles. I'll never use them again that's for sure.

  29. said

    I hate to say I told you so...But here it is

    First of all to Andy Enderby, the answer is I don't :-)

    Back to the main thread,

    Laptop logic reports that "Apple products in Manufacturer Bottleneck"

    I quote "Component shortages are limiting sales of iMac and MacBook Pro models, and Apple's new Bluetooth wireless keyboard is also feeling the heat. Although the cause of the Bluetooth keyboard delay isn't known, if you configured your Mac with one you'll see almost a month delay for the entire order.

    "

    http://www.laptoplogic.com/news/detail.php?id=3156&rfp=dta

    ------------------------

    Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

    Taipei Times also reports "Acer Inc president says component shortage a threat" they went on to say "The global credit squeeze is unlikely to affect sales of personal computers, according to Gianfranco Lanci, president of Taiwan-based PC group Acer, who says a shortage of components is the biggest challenge facing the industry today.

    "

    Tapei Times also quotes "Domestic rival Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) confirmed last month a shortage of batteries, liquid-crystal-display panels, printed circuit boards and memory chips from the third quarter, especially for notebook computers."

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2007/09/26/2003380535

    -------------------------------------------

    MacWorld.com reports in a story by Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service "Notebook computer industry faces parts shortages

    "

    More specifically that

    "All companies are facing a shortage of LCD (liquid crystal display) panels, the screen part of a laptop, while only smaller notebook computer makers are having trouble with shortages of batteries and HDDs, King wrote. The LCD supply for laptop makers has suffered this year due to brisk sales of LCD TVs, while the supply of small hard disk drives (HDDs) has dried up because they’re used in both notebooks and digital music players such as iPods.

    "

    http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/08/01/shortage/index.php

  30. John Redbook

    The rocky road to ruin?

    The same MacWorld article goes on to quote Dennis Chen from HP, VP and GM of their personal systems group, “HP has long term contracts with suppliers, so we won’t have any trouble,”. The article then mentions Quanta Computer, the world’s biggest contract laptop computer maker and that they also doesn’t foresee the shortage issue hurting its laptop production.

    As mentioned, Dell using JIT manufacturing process is a major cause. When it works it's great but supplies dry up it's a major headache. The whole production process halts. Most of the other manufacturers don't use JIT, they keep stock so as to buffer any supply problems.

    Dell tend to use only one or two suppliers for each component, so as to negotiate better pricing. Again, a problem with one supplier for one component can bring the production line to a halt. They operate 24x7 so lost production causes a bottleneck later when supplies resume. Generally this tends to lead to lower quality control when production resumes as they simply don't have the time for it.

    Another problem is that to supply Dell you have to accept some quite harsh terms. e.g. 60 to 90 day payments and penalties for not meeting JIT dates. Dell could most probably source these components elsewhere but they would have to pay a higher than normal price and the supplier may not accept their supply terms. e.g. payment in 60-90 days. This eats into their profit margin (I think it's about 24% as oppose to 18% or so for the other manufacturers).

    Finally it's Dell's end of year. They have been on a massive sales drive to get their figures up.. most probably selling over and above production capactity. So this supply shortage has made things even worse.

    Shame they haven't got problems with whoever supplies the brochures and postcards that they keep sending me. I've had a total of five this week.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Dell Delivery Hell

    I too ordered a Dell Notebook (Latitude 830) which showed a ‘Quick Delivery’ Icon on the Dell Website.

    The series of events:

    28 August 2007: Spoke to Rishi Kumar at Dell and ordered a Dell Latitude Notebook. I was assured before I confirmed my order that the Notebook would be delivered in 8 days once I confirmed the order by email, which I did.

    7 September 2007: Notebook not arrived, I called Mr Kumar again. He told me that there was a slight delay in the LCD screen from Dell’s suppliers and that he would ‘fasttrack’ my order and I can expect delivery in another 8 days.

    15th September 2007: Notebook not arrived. I checked the Dell Order Status Web Page to find my notebook was still in ‘pre-production’ and the estimated delivery date was now 4th October 2007! I called Dell and Spoke to Mr Kumar’s colleague (name not understood) who told me that they were expecting a delivery of LCD screens in the next 4 days and that she would also ‘fasttrack’ my order, but that 4th October is the delivery date.

    19th September 2007: Dell take payment for Notebook from my bank account.

    2nd October 2007: Received an email from Dell_orderstatus_notification@dell.com to say that the Estimated Delivery Date is now 8th November 2007!!!

    I called Mr Kumar yet again and asked for an explanation as to why he originally told me delivery in 8 days from the order, and why it is now expected to be 72 days from te order date. He could offer no explanation (what a surprise!) and just apologised. I asked about compensation, and suggested an upgrade in memory on the laptop and a notebook backpack. He said “I can’t do that until after the order has been dispatched”. So thats not going to happen then is it? More lies. So my advice is this, If you want to order anything from Dell, if their lips move and sound comes from their mouth, assume they are lying and DO NOT BELIEVE THEM!

    Nearly 3 months for a laptop? It'll be obsolete by the time it gets here!!!

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