All businesses must learn to adapt to the ever-changing marketplace with even a holiday icon like Santa Claus evolving his massive North Pole workshops and global distribution system to bring joy to kids of
all ages each Christmas Eve. Imagine if your company had to manage a global supply chain constantly adapting to the newest gift ideas, warehousing your production for 12 months followed by a frenzy of distribution in a 24-hour period!
To meet this challenge, Santa’s Workshop has adopted the latest in innovation culture and automation technologies. Innovation is more than a buzzword; innovation is essential to ensuring that the Workshop is on the cutting edge of developing new products, services, and processes to get the right toys to meet the individualized needs of each child. Recent innovations at The Workshop include an overhaul of its information technology infrastructure using ‘artificial intelligence’ along with ‘Santa Intelligence’ to maintain an accurate “Naughty and Nice” list. Next was the application of the latest automation technologies – programmable logic controllers (PLCs), variable frequency drives (VFDs), automated level control, PID loops, and others – to produce a wider range of toys in ever greater numbers. And don’t forget the Elves who were involved in every step of the process to ensure safety and a great working environment. Happy elves are productive elves!
With Covid impacting the global supply chain, even Santa’s Workshop had to innovate their Supply Chain Management to keep the flow of material coming to maintain a steady workload for the elf staff. With warehousing of gifts for most of the year, the ELF Team (Elf Logistics & Facilities) oversees everything from production equipment maintenance, building maintenance, to dining halls (an elf has to eat). Then on the big night, the distribution team takes the lead to stage all the gifts with the Flight Department ensuring that the sleigh and reindeer are in tip-top shape and exceeding all international airworthiness regulations!
Being Santa is a big job and he has constantly had to innovate across the centuries to deliver the joy of the season. Even though we don’t deliver all our services in one night, we all can learn lessons from Santa in our businesses as we push to serve our customers throughout the year.