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More than Moore

by henrycopeland
Monday, December 20th, 2004

Everyone knows about Moore’s law, which suggests that computing power doubles every 18 months. Compound this and you’d find that computing power grows roughly 100-fold every ten years; today’s $1000 computing device will cost $10 in 2014.)

But there are other forces at work. Forces like Dell, who powers my notebook.

Five years ago, it took two workers 14 minutes to build a PC; it now takes a single worker roughly five minutes to do the same. … A dozen years ago, Dell stored roughly 30 days of inventory – the outer casings, motherboards, Intel chips and other components needed to feed the beast – in warehouses around the Austin area. The company, based just north of Austin in Round Rock, Tex., no longer operates any warehouses; instead, it requires suppliers to stock 8 to 10 days’ worth of goods no further than 90 minutes from its assembly plants. Its de facto warehouse, therefore, is the lineup of semi-trailers parked in the 48 truck bays that line one wall of its plant.

Dell’s CEO says, “If we asked for a 10 or 15 percent increase in productivity, we’d get conventional solutions. But if we ask them to double their productivity, then they have to rethink everything.”

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