Dell Latitude 5420 & 5520

The Dell Latitude 5000-series notebooks are the high-volume foundation for the Latitude range of large enterprise notebook computers. Leading the project with a remote management team, I guided the project from start to finish, liaising with suppliers in China and Taiwan, ensuring manufacturing quality was worthy of a Latitude tag.


Durability and typing performance are key tenets of the Latitude range. Enterprise customers buy their machines by the tens-of-thousand, and have needs which are distinct from common-or-garden consumers. The ‘experience’ also extends beyond the end user alone, and service, longevity and manageability for the ‘IT Pros’ is just as important, if not more so.

These unique demands and constraints meant led to development of some innovative techniques, dual-shot moulding a screen seal, encasing the lid in aluminium, and using magnesium to form an internal chassis for the system.

This meant weeks on the ground in China getting new vendors up to speed, and trying as quickly as possible to understand their processes and the potential pitfalls.

First parts coming off the tool is always exciting.

It's strange to think I made that data, but in reverse.

Inspecting parts with the Chinese production teams

As part of the design process, I elected to redesign the labelling on our battery. But as is often the case at Dell, if you change one, you change them all. So I did, and ended up impacting many millions of batteries for likely many years. Ironically, it has been one of the more rewarding products, making links with teams that don't normally touch ID.