How Dell uses supply chain to maximise customer outcomes

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Think of a company that has used logistics to create a competitive advantage and the first name that comes to mind is Dell, the personal computer maker.

The company was founded by 19 year old Michael Dell in 1984 with a game-changing vision for how technology should be designed, manufactured and sold.

This approach meant that by 1997, not only was Dell a Fortune 500 company, it also had the lowest inventory levels in the industry. By 2001 it was the No 1 computer systems provider worldwide, using innovative production and distribution models to generate customer value.

Last year, Michael Dell, together with Silver Lake Partners, bought the business back saying this would mean it was better positioned “to shape the forces of cloud, big data, mobile and security that are changing the way people live, businesses operate and the world works, just as we did when we helped revolutionise the power of the PC almost 30 years ago.”

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All of which promises a fascinating presentation by Sean O’Reilly, Dell’s global services logistics director, when he speaks at the Logistics and Supply Chain conference in London in April on “Use the supply chain to maximise outcomes for the customer”.

O’Reilly was recently appointed as Dell’s global services logistics director. He is responsible for the freight networks from Asia into all regions, Replenishment of service parts within each region as well as end delivery of service parts direct to the customer or the Engineer.

As a closed loop, O’Reilly is responsible for the return transport of the defective part, back into our repair house or for disposition. O’Reilly has team members in APJ, LATAM, US and mainland Europe. Previous to this, Sean managed Dell’s EMEA warehousing and fulfilment operation. O’Reilly has an engineering background and has held roles in supply chain change management, new product introductions for Dell.

Supply Chain Standard’s 12th Logistics & Supply Chain Conference (formerly the Extended Supply Chain Conference) brings together supply chain leaders from around Europe to analyse latest industry developments, share ideas, and network with like-minded professionals.

Attendees will also hear from Jim Gallagher, director of physical distribution and customer care, from Philips, on how reducing costs is a critical task in supply chain.

Gallagher will look at how to remove cost without reducing quality of product or customer service.

In addition, he will be identifying areas of excess waste and unnecessary cost in the supply chain. He will also consider the question of whether it is right to focus on cost, or should more attention be paid to continuous improvement strategies and improved service efficiencies?

Sue McGeorge, GB supply chain director at Diageo, will focus on achieving operational improvements in her opening presentation at the event.

Diageo, of course, is responsible for some of the world’s most iconic brands including Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Gordon’s gin, Hennessy cognac, and Blossom Hill wines.

McGeorge will consider how best to engage staff and ensure they are on board with operational changes, as well as asking if supply chain leaders spent too much time focusing on cost reduction, to the detriment of improvement and investment in their supply chains?

Attendees will also hear from companies including, Diageo, Dell, and Shop Direct, on how to drive growth and improvements across the supply chain, tackling challenges along the way.

Forecasting strategies will be the topic of debate between Travis Perkins, Nestlé, and Logility, during an interactive panel discussion.

Workshops hosted by Delaware Consulting, Demand Solutions, BSI, TXT e-solutions, Voiteq, and Vocollect, among others, will offer attendees an opportunity to join peers in discussing industry developments and best practice.

Pandora, Greencore Group, Premier Farnell, Cranfield University, and Philips will also be present at the conference to share their very own case studies and advice.

And the event will be chaired by two of the industry’s great professionals, Richard Hunt, chairman of London Ambulance, and Hugh Williams, of Hughenden Consulting, who are renowned for bringing out the best in debate.

Supply Chain Standard’s Logistics and Supply Chain Conference takes place at ETC Dexter House in London from 2-3 April 2014.

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