Around the world in one night – Santa’s project management secrets

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Decorated Christmas trees adorn every household decorated with lights and holiday cheer spreading warmth and joy among people all over the world. Kids all over the world spend days in impatience, waiting for Christmas Eve, the day when Santa makes their wishes come true. How does Santa make billions of wishes come true, all in one night?

Meticulous Planning

It takes year-round preparation for that one big night. Producing toys for kids around the world is no joke. Santa’s elves spend most of the year toiling away, creating spectacular toys at Santa’s North Pole workshop. Closer inspection of Santa Claus’ miracle workshop reveals the capacity to produce endless batches of toys in every variety, shape, and size, providing billions of children with toys.

Without planning, an annual exercise of this magnitude is not sustainable. Everything from production schedules to optimum resource (elves) utilization to logistics, demands attention to every single detail. Santa sure has mastered the art of planning, for there hasn’t been a single Christmas where a child’s wish has gone unfulfilled.

Santa Claus meticulous planning

Skillful Resource Management

Santa has many elves working with him, but still not enough to directly address the growing demand for toys on Christmas Eve. He therefore, needs to be smart about managing his talented resources. It’s all about making sure that the elves with the right skills are assigned to the right task be it gathering raw material, toy production, reindeer care or just day to day maintenance of the workshop. With limited resource time at hands and overwhelming pressure to meet the demand, productivity becomes the deciding factor.

It’s amazing how Santa and his elves deliver happiness…year after year!

Santa's Workshop Resource management

Adept Process Management

Santa’s workshop in the North Pole, is where all the magic happens. Elves enroll for a variety of jobs at this massive workshop.  A majority of them enlist for making toys, some take care of Santa’s Reindeer while others run the bakery, making treats like cookies and candies. One of the most crucial departments is the mail department. The Elves sift through tons of letters from children and ensure that Santa reads them all.  There are elves who wrap, elves that track the weather and elves that pack the sleigh, even singing elves. On Christmas Eve, they prepare Santa’s sleigh for the most important journey of the year.  Few chosen elves accompany Santa and help him deliver presents.

All activities have tried and tested processes and they are religiously followed by the elves. It wouldn’t be called The Christmas miracle otherwise, would it?

Santa's workshop process management

Legendary Leadership

Under Santa’s leadership over the past few centuries, countless generations of children have experienced the Christmas miracle. Parents love him as much as the kids. Polls show a strong support for his “fairness policy” which promotes good behavior in children.

It takes an enigmatic leader to motivate and manage thousands of elves at a massive production facility in the uncompromising Arctic winterscape, running day and night to churn out gifts. The monotony of doing the same thing all year, every year adds to the already challenging conditions. As a leader, Santa does a brilliant job of getting his elves focused on the end result; happiness for billions of kids! His kindness, warmth and charm keep his elves engaged and dedicated to the mission.

He also leads by example; year after year he sets out on the almost impossible journey around the world, making countless stops, getting down chimneys, delivering every single gift with the same amount of love and care.

Santa's Legendary leadership

The right tools make a world of a difference

Urban Legend suggests Santa’s main distribution center is a sight to behold. At 4,000,000 square feet, it could well be one of the world’s largest facilities. A real-time warehouse management system (WMS) is of course required to run such a complex. The facility makes extensive use of task interleaving, literally combining dozens of Distribution Centre activities (putaway, replenishing, order picking, sleigh loading, cycle counting) in a dynamic queue…the Distribution Centre elves have been on engineered standards and incentives for three years, leading to a 12% gain in productivity…The WMS and transportation system are fully integrated, allowing (the elves) to make optimal decisions that balance transportation and order picking and other Distribution Centre costs. (Source – Wikipedia)

Santa’s sleigh is no ordinary vehicle either. It is equipped with everything needed for accomplishing a mission as magical as Christmas.

Santa's state of the art sleigh

A productive enterprise runs on the right mix of people, tools, and culture. Santa’s workshop is probably the best and most magical example of them all! Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Blog Author: Sanket Pai, Head, Customer & Product Experience at Celoxis

Sanket Pai
About Celoxis:

Celoxis is a comprehensive project management tool that helps companies streamline management of projects, timesheets, expenses and business processes, specific to their organization. Over the last decade, Celoxis has specialized in delivering improved collaboration and increased efficiency for teams of all sizes, both in SMB and Enterprise segments. To know more visit www.celoxis.com 

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