Dell Techcamp 2011–packing it in.

IMG_8422 (640x478)Conferences can feel like sitting through a slideshow of  someone  else  holiday snaps. You nod and approve and smile and agree to all that is said and do so at  all the right moments but you generally look to your watch and wonder if something interesting will slip into the presentation.  This Conference began with Holiday snaps and then a few things dropped in that made it ‘interesting’

Dell Techcamp 2011 was part showcase, part conference , part meet Dell and their partners  and mostly it was  part of the day. From a buying perspective I could note nothing of individual merit other than the confirmation that the updated Vostro v130 would feature an improvement to the design of its battery life. 


I left the techcamp ( can we call it a conference ? ) with the knowledge that I had been given the opportunity to highlight one aspect of design and delivery for Dell that had  gone overlooked among the demonstration for the day.


IMG_8413 (640x478)The unboxing and subsequent  disposal of packaging of the Dell Experience. I speak of the abundance of twist ties and cable wraps, plastic sleeves and plastic covers. CDs and Cardboard cases.

Whilst Dell have made excellent progress in updating the materials and product for protecting the goods on route to the customer what we are left with are robust boxes, plastics and wires which must be disposed of. The materials used in their manufacturer have improved and their design to degrade and reduce volume is noticeable.  Dell offer to recycle your old PC if you put it back into the box in which the new machine arrived however many businesses will sell old machines onto employees and the boxes and packaging remain to be disposed..

From my own experiences and metrics ( based on timesheets for work I have done on site ) I can see that delivery and installation  of Dell computers has reduced in onsite time from appx 180minutes to 90 minutes per device. In examining the process I can see that at least 20minutes of my time is spent in handling and managing packaging. Not only the time to remove the equipment , remove the plastic, remove the tie wraps and then to fold, pack , collapse and dispose of the packaging are factors in hardware delivery.  It needs only three new computers and I am charging my client for an additional hour of my time to install and configure said equipment.

Hats off to Dell for listening to  my comments and taking the next to introduce me to people within  Dells whom are  responsible for packaging and the ‘out of the box’ experience

If I had a wish list of what Dell could change in their delivery it would be.


  1. Provide a URL to all ISOs that represent CDs delivered with equipment. Alternatively provide them on a single USB stick.
  2. Discover a replacement to tiewraps and wire ties as well as plastic sleeving on folded cables.
  3. Allow me to pack down packaging and return it to claim a deposit which can be used as a credit against my next Dell purchase. Make it worth my while to return you the packaging material which can clearly be reused.


So there we go ; I went to see tech and I left with a wish list in cardboard and bamboo lets see whats next. 

Thanks for reading.


#dtc2011 , #delltechcamp

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2 Comments on “Dell Techcamp 2011–packing it in.

  1. Hi Nik, Thanks for your comments regarding Dell packaging and for your concern over the environment. Our lead packaging improvement program is our 3C program. It is based on customer feedback, such as yours, to make our packaging smaller (Cubic size), use more recycled or sustainable content (Content), and to utilize materials that can be recycled locally usually through curbside programs (Curb). We’ve made great progress but the program does have while yet to run. Here’s a link that tells more: Oliver Campbell, Director Packaging at Dell

  2. Oliver, first of all ‘thank you for your reply’. I can appreciate in an organisation like Dell the issue of packaging and materials is a tricky balance when we consider every country has a potentially different approach to waste. One of the aspects I was hoping to communicate in my post is the ‘accessibility’ of the packaging. The time it takes for me to take a box remove the equipment and stow away the box has not changed signifigantly. As i mentioned the largest part of the problem is not the technology it is the deployment from box to desk and then from floor to waste. Reducing the time or effort required to ‘untwist tie wraps’ or remove plastic sleeves and sleeving and to flatpacking and collating materials would improve the experience in delivery. I guess for me to conversation is less about the packaging ingredients and more about the unpacking process.

    For me the elephant in the room for technology is packaging. Dell is doing an excellent job in addressing the first, and most important, third of the problem in materials used. I would love to help look at the next two thirds in getting the machines out of the box and the materials packed away afterwards.

    Again thank you for commenting and taking time to read the article.