MGT 542 Individual In-Depth Case Study

Undergraduate Requirement

50 Points per Weekly Submission



  • Read the two identified Dell articles and answer all the questions listed below. You can find the articles in the content tab in Blackboard titled “Course Reserves”.
  • Each question should be answered with a minimum of one paragraph. A paragraph is a minimum of 3 complete sentences.
  • A minimum of 4 pages per submission of written content is required. Some sections will require more pages to fulfill the requirements of the rubric and the in-depth case study instructions listed here.
  • APA format is required.
  • A minimum of 2 additional sources per submission are required to be cited.
  • A bibliography with all citations, including the given articles, is required.
  • There will be four in-depth case study submissions. Please reference the course schedule in the syllabus for the required dates of each submission.





SECTION 1 – 50 Points

Kapuscinski, R., Zhang, R.Q., Carbonneau, P., Moore, R., & Reeves, B. (2004). Inventory Decisions in Dell’s Supply Chain, Interfaces 34(3), 191-205.


  1. Describe the Supply Chain Business Model used by Dell.
  2. How does Dell Supply Chain benefit from low inventory levels?
  3. What does Dell do to help their suppliers make optimum ordering decisions?
  4. Describe Dell’s relationship with their suppliers.
  5. Describe the revolver inventory model.
  6. Describe the purpose of the golf analogy as it relates to inventory concepts. Include the analogy for the handicap (Dell’s and the Supplier’s).
  7. What is the purpose of safety stock and how is it controlled?

SECTION 2 – 50 Points

Kapuscinski, R., Zhang, R.Q., Carbonneau, P., Moore, R., & Reeves, B. (2004).         Inventory Decisions in Dell’s Supply Chain, Interfaces 34(3), 191-205.


  1. Describe the impact of the pull variance if a commodity is multi-sourced.
    1. Explain how an uneven pull from different suppliers of the same commodity effect the suppliers’ inventory levels, planning, and forecasting.
  2. The balancing act: Discuss the cost of underage and overage as it relates to inventory
  3. The article references “Z scores” as the system inventory levels just before orders are placed to understand Dell’s method of making ordering decisions. Explain the logic of why there was significant volatility found of the “Z scores”.
  4. Forecast errors are an input in determining the optimal inventory levels. In Dell’s case, it was found the forecast errors at the commodity level were not independent from time period to time period.  Why was this the case and what could be done differently to minimize forecast error?
  5. Explain the impact of the actual system inventory level fluctuations. What are the benefits and risks.  Should high fluctuations be avoided?
  6. Discuss describing inventory levels in terms of “days of supply” vs. “units of inventory”. What would you recommend and why?
  7. Is 100% service level an ideal recommendation? Why or why not?  How does this impact inventory levels?



Section 3 – 50 Points

Fugate, B.S., Mentzer, J.T. (2004). Dell’s Supply Chain DNA, Supply Chain Management Review; October 20-24.


  1. What are the four qualities of Dell’s supply chain competency?
  2. Describe the concept of each one individually.
  3. Discuss the Business Process Improvement that shifted Dell from brand-specific assembly plants to generic factories. Why was this successful?




Section 4 – 50 Points

Final Questions

  1. What advice would you have for Dell’s Supply Chain business model? What would you do differently?  Why?
  2. What are the main challenges in front of Dell in reducing inventory while maintaining their Direct Sales model?
  3. What inventory reduction improvement initiatives would you recommend?
  4. What would you recommend that Dell try differently to further optimize their supply chain?