Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2000 (Revised December 2003)

Dell's Working Capital

by Richard S. Ruback and Aldo Sesia


Dell Computer Corp. manufactures, sells, and services personal computers. The company markets its computers directly to its customers and builds computers after receiving a customer order. This build-to-order model enables Dell to have much smaller investment in working capital than its competitors. It also enables Dell to more fully enjoy the benefits of reduction in component prices and to introduce new products more quickly. Dell has grown quickly and has been able to finance that growth internally by its efficient use of working capital and its profitability. This case highlights the importance of working capital management in a rapidly growing firm.

Keywords: Financial Management; Working Capital; Manufacturing Industry; Computer Industry;


Ruback, Richard S., and Aldo Sesia. "Dell's Working Capital." Harvard Business School Case 201-029, August 2000. (Revised December 2003.)