Does your supply chain enjoy 100% on-time delivery? A workforce with a 0% turnover rate? How about a 100% customer satisfaction rating (at least among the Nice!)? No? Santa’s does. It’s widely believed Santa Claus has the most efficient supply chain in the world. And who am I to argue with a man who can deliver millions of presents all over the world in just one night. But I’m here to let you in on a little secret. The key to Santa’s supply chain success isn’t magic (although there’s a healthy dose of that involved as well). It’s the mastermind behind his logistics, inventory management, master production scheduling, and sales and operations planning. So who is this wizard of supply chain management? Why, Mrs. Claus of course! Yup, that’s right. While the big man in red is off on photo ops or headlining parades, Mrs. Claus is back at the North Pole working her hiney off alongside the suppliers (aka the Elves) to ensure every girl and boy gets the perfect gift for Christmas. From overseeing the production line, to managing supplier collaboration, to analyzing data as part of her intensive market research, she manages every aspect of Christmas. And let me tell you that’s no easy task. Can you imagine what that job must be like? While I’m sure the elves are efficient (they’d have to be to make the more than six million gifts a day needed to keep up with demand!), I’m not so sure about those reindeer. They seem to like to laugh and play. All expect poor Rudolph of course, but that’s because they never let him take part in any of their games. Human resources issues aside, the logistics nightmare it must be trying to get all those gifts delivered in such a short period of time (just 31 hours taking into account time zones) is nearly unbelievable. She can’t afford one single glitch in the plan because on Christmas Eve, every second counts. Then there’s the challenge of order processing. While some boys and girls opt to mail Santa a wish list, or visit him while he’s making the rounds at various malls and other locations, many just leave their order requests right at the point of delivery. That means Santa has to reach into his magic sack (didn’t I tell you magic played a role) to pull out just the right item. How do you even begin to forecast for something like that? Well, however Mrs. Claus does it, we should all be thankful, and give her the cookies this year instead of Santa! Okay, give some to Santa too. After all, he is the one who has to drive the sleigh all night. So thank you to Mrs. Claus, the elves, reindeer, and of course Santa for making this season so bright – and reminding us all how thankful we are we don’t have to manage that supply chain!
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