While speaking at a Chamber of Commerce Tech Council meeting
in Winston-Salem, NC, Dell's VP of N.C. operations Travis Simpson gave audience
members a progress report on how Dell's latest production facility is holding
up. The facility is coming up on its one-year anniversary in a few months and
is on track to produce its 2 millionth computer shortly.
Simpson noted that
the Winston-Salem facility has over 1,000 employees and is closing in on its
production target of producing one computer every 2.5 seconds. And even though
the facility is not yet at full production capacity, it is already Dell's most
efficient manufacturing plant. From the Austin
The local facility
produced 20 percent more desktops in Dell's third quarter, which ended July 31,
than it did in the company's second quarter, he says. The second-quarter
production was up 70 percent from first-quarter numbers, when Dell was first
getting started in Winston-Salem.
Simpson also hinted that there are new chassis designs on
the way from Dell along with new product designs for the second half of 2007.
Although he didn't expand on his comments on the new chassis designs, one can't
help but wonder if the designs will be influenced by Microsoft's push for
"designer PCs." Microsoft wants a new
breed of elegant PC chassis designs to complement the launch of its Windows Vista
So far, Microsoft is
using a soft sell with PC makers. The Windows Vista Industrial Design Toolkit,
hand-delivered to about 70 designers, contains everything a PC maker
needs—color palette, suggested materials, even graphics for icons and power
buttons—to create computers, laptops, and peripherals that hew to Vista's look.
A separate booklet exhorts hardware makers to eschew drab, utilitarian boxes.
Microsoft is providing the toolkit for free and vows not to strong-arm any
company into incorporating the concepts.
We're sure that Dell has gotten the hint from Microsoft to
spruce things up a bit, so we'll mark our calendars for Summer 2007 to see the
results of "Extreme Makeover: PC Edition."