After hearing last year that Santa uses ERP Cofficient set about trying to secure an interview with the Big Yin himself to find out how he uses the software to run his North Pole business.
Thanks for taking the time out your busy schedule to talk to us about your business and how you run it using NetSuite.
The Christmas lists will have started to come in thick and fast by now. What happens to the requests as they come in?
We still get a lot of traditional mail – which is scanned and stored against the child’s record. But email is almost as popular now. We have the NetSuite Outlook integration tool which means that all emails and attachments can be easily tracked in the CRM with a couple of clicks. We have created a saved search for the most popular toys so that we can run frequent reports of quantities on the run up to Christmas. Better safe than sorry!
Speaking of which, how do you go about organising your build schedule so that the right toys are manufactured in time for Christmas delivery?
It used to be a lot easier in the olden days when little boys wanted wooden trains and little girls wanted dolls. Nowadays children want all sorts of diverse toys and it is hard to keep up with demands and trends. There is still an art to the science but I use NetSuite Demand Planning software to keep on top of what I am most likely to be making. It uses historical data and future forecast data and linear regressions (previous demand to project future inventory with steady growth) to deliver me a project demand plan. It also helps me reorder the stock I need to manufacture the most popular toys. We wouldn’t want a disappointed child at Christmas! So I have peace of mind that I make all the right toys for all the right boys and all the right toys for all the right girls.
How do you cope with being so seasonal?
In truth, we have a pretty good idea of trends throughout the year and we know what the big releases of the year are going to be so from a manufacturing point of view, the elves are busy throughout the year. We use NetSuite for routing and scheduling and bills of materials and so on. It helps me run a tight ship. We’ve used SuiteFlow to help with Work Flow Management. It tracks all the steps and automates a lot of the processes. It’s all point and click so even I can manage it! We also use NetSuite Advanced Projects for “the big night” to automate a lot of the work flows and authorisations which have to happen at Command Central. But to be honest, I let the Head Elves run the show.
Yours is a truly global business. How do your systems help you cope with that?
Well, there is a myth that Groupon helped NetSuite globalise their business in over 40 countries but – for a long while I was their best kept secret. We’ve been rolling out NetSuite for North Pole for a number of years now. The fact that NetSuite is multi lingual and financially compliant for tax across the continents is, certainly in part, down to me. You’ve probably not heard but NetSuite has also been translated into Elvish.
Can you tell us more about the Naughty and Nice Suite App you’ve had developed?
Yes. My good friends at Cofficient have built me a great app which plugs into my NetSuite and which interacts with the CRM module. Each time I get a Christmas Wish the app helps me determine the naughtiness or niceness of the applicant and updates the CRM.
Finally, how do you relax after the big event?
We’re not done until about the 27 December. There are project closure programmes we go through and some business intelligence to look at. But in truth, the time spent after the event analysing our success has been dramatically reduced in recent years since we moved to the cloud. I used to still be on the go well into the New Year but now I get to put my feet up, comb the reindeer and enjoy the rest of Christmas with the family.
Written by Emma Stewart – Sales and Marketing Elf at Cofficient
To find out more about how the cloud can help you streamline your business processes please get in touch. References available (though not from Santa – he’s too busy just now).