Generation after generation of children and adults have pondered the mystery of Santa Claus. How does he manage to run such a complex, global industry, delighting his customers year after year? Thus far, we’ve had to be content with the results, not knowing how they are achieved. But no longer!
So here it goes – answers to your burning questions about Santa:
How does Santa produce so many toys in such a short amount of time (given that children mail their lists so close to Christmas)?
Two key ways:
- Outsourcing / nearshoring. With the growth in population, there is no way Santa could produce all the toys himself. So he increasingly outsources and nearshores production, leveraging business networks to help discover, connect and collaborate with suppliers across the globe. They also help him in other ways. Santa Inc. policy prohibits working with naughty suppliers. But Santa’s own database is limited to those that believe in him so lacks information about many potential suppliers. Community feedback available in business networks helps him qualify new suppliers. For example, positive reviews from the Hindu goddesses Lakshmi & Shashti helped him qualify a nice Indian supplier last year.
- Contingent Labor. Santa still produces some of the toys in house. But his challenge has always been managing capacity at peak production periods in Nov-Dec. Being a non-profit, he could never pay the Elf labor required during the holiday season all year long. Hence, he leverages a large contingent labor force, leveraging Cloud-based solutions and business networks that allow him to tap into a large talent pool of skilled toy makers when and where he needs them.
Is Santa’s sleigh really driven by flying reindeer?
Absolutely. While we still aren’t sure how he makes those reindeer fly, we do know that they have to be in perfect shape to do so. Santa uses health monitors embedded in the reindeer collars that track various vital signs 24/7. At the first sign of any illness, automatic notifications are sent to Santa’s veterinarian to initiate treatment, and Santa’s logistics Director is notified, allowing him to prepare a substitute reindeer for the big night.
Is Rudolph real?
Yes, but he doesn’t fly every year. Santa has weather sensors around the globe that feed an advanced sleigh app which determines the optimal reindeer crew configuration for each Christmas. Rudolph is called upon when fog patterns require the extra illumination, being notified via his collar-mounted mobile device.
So there you have it – some of Santa’s deepest secrets revealed. Santa may be a forward-looking pioneer, but the power of the Networked Economy is there for all us to use today. Yet one more lesson for all of us to learn from Santa Claus.
On Cyber Monday I’ll reveal more secrets, including how Santa knows if you’re naughty or nice (I’ll give you a clue – it’s not magic).