Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 20, Issue 5

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 20, Issue 5
From: "David Neeley" <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2007 13:45:39 -0500

Geoff Hart, responding to my comment that Dell does not manufacture
screens, followed up with some excellent observations, although one
buried within them perhaps I can correct?

"While this is true for many products, not just LCDs, it's also
important to note that a large part of the product's final quality
comes from the assembly. LCD screens, for example, are produced by a
limited number of manufacturers, yet if you look at the reviews in
consumer magazines, there are clear differences in how well products
based on the same underlying screen are rated. Some of this comes
from the inevitable variation among individual units (no
manufacturing process is ever 100% perfect), but much of it comes
from each manufacturer's quality control."

Um, Geoff, if I understand you correctly you think that Dell assembles
the displays from screens and other components manufactured by others?

That, too, is untrue. They buy them for resale already manufactured in
their entirety and even boxed in Dell boxes per their specifications.
That way, it remains a "pick a box off the shelf and send it."

A few years back, I toured a Sun "pizza box" plant in California. They
told us that the monitors for the machines were manufactured by Sony
and shipped directly to the customers so Sun wouldn't have the
overhead of warehousing and shipping.

Very few companies who actually do manufacture displays also
manufacture the computer itself. Samsung, LG, and perhaps one or two
others may...but among the major brands for sale in the U.S. including
Dell, HP, and IBM, there are none who do.

Flat screens mostly are coming out of Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and
(perhaps) China.

Similarly, the major brands don't often assemble many of their own
branded laptops. Apple and HP/Compaq, for example, I do not believe do
so. (Actually, I know Apple does not but am only relatively sure about
HP)...and, of course, IBM sold off its PC business to Lenovo several
years ago--a Chinese company.

On the other hand, when an OEM company is *specifying* the components
and design of a product to their manufacturing partner, a great deal
of difference goes into that selection depending upon how demanding
they are. However, for a well understood and mature product like LCD
screens, it is fairly easy to understand where corners can only be cut
at the peril of performance or life expectancy.

(At times, their demands are silly--as Dell's were some years ago when
they had Xerox manufacturing Dell-branded laser printers in El
Segundo. The Dell engineers seemed to think they knew better how to
design a controller board for a laser than the Xerox engineers, and
even would not use an off the shelf board by a third party specialist.
As a result, the printers were too costly and prone to problems they
shouldn't have had.)


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