I'm inspired by the lack of complacency at Dell (NASDAQ:DELL). The computer systems builder reported a very passable second quarter last night, with 4% revenue growth and a whopping 46% jump in net earnings compared to the same period last year. Of course, management has told us not to rely on earnings statements going back to 2003, because it has to restate them all because of accounting irregularities and "control deficiencies."

Still, margins were stable sequentially and quite a bit better than last year, and there's virtually no dilution or contraction in the share count.

In this day and age when company after company bends over backwards to spin disastrous results into something faintly positive, here's one that isn't satisfied with "pretty good" and intends to do better. That urgency can certainly be explained by the year-long options accounting review, by market share lost to Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and by myriad other factors. But again, many a leader would just put on a brave face and say that everything is fine, given the same situation.

It makes sense -- Dell is a low-cost provider, built for skimming slim profits off of high turnover, and for passing cost savings on to the consumer. Thanks to years of building this lean, mean operational model, Dell can simply afford to beat the other guys on price most of the time.

And with Michael Dell back in the CEO's seat, after a couple of years of disappointing operational trends, Dell is looking to squeeze its cost structure even further. Every penny counts. It also helps to work in an environment of falling prices on key components like memory, core logic chipsets, and LCD screens, which is exactly where we are today and have been for a few quarters.

What's bad for Micron (NYSE:MU) and LG.Philips LCD (NYSE:LPL) is good for Dell, as those falling component prices cut into the bottom line of the suppliers but give the system builder more flexibility and pricing power. Still, the Austin giant wants more. It took some hard times to inspire this rekindled hunger, but Dell is starving for improvement today. That has to be good to hear for the shareholders out there.

Further Foolishness:

Dell is both a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here, though he did write this article on an HP laptop. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure helps you stay hungry with desire. Just don't explode.