Class of 2016 laptop distribution delayed

Manufacturing hold caused by quality assurance problems, screen installation defects

In last week’s edition of The Polytechnic, in the “Rensselaer in Brief” section, some information in regards to the delayed release of the new mobile computing package to both incoming freshmen and returning students was given out. That information did not contain the full story and contained a few factual inaccuracies. What follows is the correct sequence of events leading to and following the delayed release of the computers.

According to Assistant Vice President for Information Services Jeff Miner, the Institute made two separate orders to Lenovo for the new T430 laptop models. The first order was for the majority of students, addressing all of the orders received before the original order due date of July 30 and constituting one thousand units. Over fifty late orders were received, prompting a second order of one hundred units.

Miner said that the original order was expected to arrive on Friday August 24, “like every year for the last thirteen years successfully.” Instead, the Mobile Computing Team was informed by Lenovo that the laptops were being withheld by a manufacturing hold, and delivery would be held off until the middle of the week to Monday, August 27 at the latest. RPI was not the only place affected by the manufacturing hold up, with many laptops across a range of destinations being adversely affected by the difficulties. The manufacturing hold was the result of a quality assurance issue concerning a physical defect in the installation of the screen. According to Miner, the entire production lot of over 7000 laptops had to be reworked.

Miner and the Mobile Computing Team received the first shipment of one thousand units Monday afternoon. Miner commented that he did not expect to receive them that early and was pleased by how quickly the issue was resolved. The distribution began the next day; over 900 laptops were distributed to freshmen and other students within five hours. By Thursday, August 30, 1078 laptops had been distributed, with six orders yet to be picked up.

Director of News and Editorial Services for the Institute Mark Marchand praised the communication skills of Miner and the teams and volunteers responsible for making the information available everywhere.

Miner also specifically complimented the effort of the Mobile Computing Program run by Pat Valiquette, saying that its efforts are really what made the late distribution work so well. On the topic of the actual physical distribution of the laptops to the incoming freshmen, Miner said that he loved the attitude of the freshmen he saw and worked with, and that, “It was RPI at its best.”