Dell's new Winston-Salem plant on track to produce its 2 millionth PC and new Dell chassis designs could be getting a boost courtesy of Microsoft

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 Business Journal:

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 operating system.

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."

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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