Effectively Managing a Global Operation: Santa’s Secrets

4 December 2018 - #decision-making #operations #supply chain

By Daniel Phillips, Digital Content Manager, BOARD International

Managing large-scale manufacturing and distribution activities is challenging and complex, and who else would know this better than Santa, the master of global operations. Making sure that every child receives the right gift, on-time, and within budget, is part and parcel of Santa’s role in bringing festive cheer, but how is it all made possible? How can you keep a close eye on production, demand, finances, and more across a huge global supply chain? Let us take a look behind the scenes to find out just how Santa manages to do it through the use of a unified Decision-Making Platform.

Digital Transformation at the North Pole HQ

Traditionally all toy manufacturing took place at the North Pole, but following rapid annual growth it is now a global operation with activities in 195 countries. Each year Santa looks to decrease costs and increase efficiencies across this global supply chain, but continuous growth meant it was no longer appropriate to rely on spreadsheet-based ledgers, production plans, and individual reports to keep track of all activities, which were proving to be inaccurate, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Things were no better on the front line either. With the rise of social media and influencers, the popularity of toys can change in an instant, requiring a complete shift in priorities at short notice. Elves managing the production lines were unable to properly prepare for these eventualities and ensure the right resources were available to meet demand, and costs could easily spiral out of control without a centralized view of expenditure.

Not one to fall behind the times, Santa decided to invest in a solution which would ensure presents could be delivered on-time and on-budget for future generations. As the North Pole wouldn’t be the North Pole without a list, Santa, Mrs Claus, and the Head Elves set about making one which specified exactly what the solution needed to do.

After defining their requirements, a search of the marketplace led to the discovery of BOARD, the all-in-one Decision-Making Platform which would allow them to centralize analysis, simulation, and planning activities across the entire organization. A review of BOARD’s capabilities convinced Santa, Mrs Claus, and the Head Elves that it was the solution for them, and the decision was made.

Key capabilities of the North Pole’s all-in-one Decision-Making Platform

Following the implementation of BOARD, Santa and the management team now have full visibility of performance, finances, and more across the organization, allowing them to make more informed decisions about everything from toy design right through to delivery. In one solution, the team now has access to a variety of integrated capabilities:

 

  1. Comprehensive reporting of all business-wide data, including finances, production activity, inventory levels, and elf resources, with the ability to display data in visual dashboards and automatically run and email reports to the CFO (Mrs Claus) and relevant departmental managers (the Head Elves)
     
  2. Data discovery and analysis tools, allowing the team to identify trends in gift preference across regions, countries, continents, and time periods with ease, compare supply and demand data to identify areas for improvement in production, and cross-examine departmental data to identify relationships which may previously have gone unnoticed
     
  3. Predictive analytics, what-if modeling, and simulation, enabling easy prediction of the impact of changes in toy demand, exchange rates, manufacturing costs, resource requirements, and the naughty vs. nice list ratio on the bottom line
     
  4. Integrated Business Planning capabilities, allowing the use of historical data as a baseline for planning key business activities, such as Elf workforce management, toy production, and utilization and maintenance of machinery such as the sleigh and reindeer
     
  5. Budgeting capabilities with multicurrency support, enabling Mrs Claus to set budgets early, monitor expenditure worldwide, and easily forecast, plan, and track progress
     
  6. Location analytics with geographical mapping, helping to determine the density of population in different areas and perform logistics analysis to ensure timely delivery of presents down chimneys
     
  7. Support for masses of data and the ability to scale to support elves in different languages across worldwide warehouses and manufacturing workshops
      
  8. Support for mobile devices to enable Santa to keep an eye on progress and performance from wherever he is in the world

 

With all of this in place, Santa and the team are now able to keep the North Pole operations running efficiently thanks to complete visibility of activities, and use data to predict future outcomes, enabling the business to make more informed decisions about this year’s deliveries. This leaves Santa with only one problem to worry about: how to shift all of that festive weight once January arrives…

To find out more about how you could take inspiration from the North Pole and benefit from an all-in-one Decision-Making Platform, request a demo today


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