My 9 year old son made some reasonable enquiries at the weekend about how Santa coordinates his work load. Specifically, how Santa meets demand for toys when most of his orders are placed within a 2-3 week window of delivery. The only conclusion I could come to is that Santa must use ERP. It’s the only solution. Think about it:
Demand Planning – Santa must need to operate in a lean business environment. If he gets it wrong think about the wastage! He will have some kind of Demand Planning Engine which helps calculate projections based on historical data (old Christmas lists) and forecasts as well as average trends (Furby uptake) and seasonality. Since his whole operation is a seasonal one, this must be more straight forward than most. His supply chain intelligence will be forecasting consumption of raw materials and calculating a supply plan to ensure demands for certain toys are met. It’s the only way to ensure there is no down time in manufacturing throughout the year.
Shop Floor Control – Santa’s workshop is run like a tight ship – we’ve all seen the movies. There can be no alternative to the real time status updates that his Head Elf must get from his ERP. How else can Santa get that much needed control over things like; work in progress, manufacturing operations and elf management? It’s essential to see how the flow of work and working cycles impact upon elf availability and manufacturing time – crucial if Santa is to complete his work in time for his Christmas Eve deadline.
Multicurrency – Of course, Santa’s operations are not limited to the North Pole. I am sure he sources his materials responsibly and from local communities across the world, so he has to be making use of automated currency tools for things like exchange rates and sales tax. Most ERP solutions take about 170 currencies into account as well as multiple languages which is necessary for someone like Santa who truly operates in a global market.
CRM – These days kids probably don’t send Christmas Lists (orders) by snail mail- my kids have always emailed Santa. I bet he uses some kind of email integration tool which automatically records the individual requests against the kid’s record. That way the system will have a full note of each child, what they want and where they live. There might be a certain amount of manual intervention until snail mail becomes obsolete, but when this eventually happens, the elves can be redeployed into other areas of the operation making the North Pole even more efficient. Who knows, maybe even someone has created a Naughty and Nice configuration for Santa.
Distribution – Everyone is familiar with Santa’s distribution methods. OK, so maybe he doesn’t use ERP for this.
The only question which remains unanswered is this: Since Santa spends so much of his working time being, well…in the sky, does that make any Cloud Hosted solution an On Premise software?
(No one from the North Pole was available for comment at the time of going to press.)
Merry Christmas from everyone at Cofficient