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The Supply Chain Management Blog covers the latest in SCM strategy, technology, and innovation.

  • December 16, 2014

Ever Wonder How Santa Claus Runs His Supply Chain? [VIDEO]

Julia Vagdati
Product Marketing Director

Ah, the holidays. A time of festive decorations! Parties! Peace and goodwill! Gift buying and wrapping and mailing! Cookie-making! Caroling! Stress!

If that’s how you feel, imagine how Santa feels once the calendar hits December 1. He has naughty-and-nice lists to track, wishes to fulfill, a huge team of elves to oversee, reindeer to train, and highly complex logistics to nail down by December 24.

In short, he manages a massive supply chain every year – and he does it without a hitch. Because he has been pulling off this feat for hundreds of years, we went behind the scenes to find out just how Santa handles it all.

The following video gives a sneak peek into how Santa's done it all these years.

And here are the details:

Challenge 1: Santa has to innovate every year

Santa captures gift ideas from various sources – dreams, wish lists, letters to Santa – and then he has to innovate, as some kids have really crazy imaginations. Next he has to translate requirements (aka, wish lists) into detailed bills of material for the elves in the manufacturing department, as they are the ones who are going to produce the gifts.

Santa’s solution: Classified. If you have a similar challenge, find your solution here: Oracle Innovation Management Cloud

Challenge 2: Santa has to track the development process

By now, the elves are pretty good at classifying and managing all the components that go into gifts while managing costs and supply risks, but Santa still sits down with the Ezra, the Top Elf, for a review every morning. Santa and Ezra also discuss their biggest challenge during that meeting: kids who change their mind about the gifts they want. He has developed robust Item, BOM and Change Management processes to control product data and changes and use an internal Social Network to communicate with the elves on the factory floor and resolve issues fast.

Santa’s solution: Classified but a myriad of magical elves that work tirelessly all year round might have something to do with it. If you have a similar challenge, find your solution here: Oracle Product Development Cloud

Challenge 3: Santa has to keep on top of inventory

Santa’s greatest fear is disappointing kids, which means he has to keep on top of inventory to ensure production runs smoothly. What would happen if he ran out of materials for Elsa dolls or penny boards? We shudder to think about it. Luckily, Santa seamlessly collaborates with his suppliers all year to make sure he has all the materials needed for the hottest toys. He can also see and manage material flows, warehouse work and product costs across the supply chain to avoid any surprises.

Santa’s solution: Classified, but Blink might have something to do with it. If you have a similar challenge, find your solution here: Oracle Inventory Management Cloud

Challenge 4: Santa has to make sure the right gifts go to the right kids

When gifts are ready, Santa turns his attention to accelerating time-to-chimney. He has a single view of all logistical information, which he shares with the elves who pack the gifts and reindeer who need to follow the most efficient route from house to house.With so much pressure and so many expectations riding on this – we are talking about distributing gifts to around 3 billion kids in 24 hours! – Santa spends a lot of time with his customer database (aka, the naughty and nice list, an excellent example of big data). Additionally, Santa adds weather information alongside his map to optimize routing and improve delivery times. Embedded analytics allows him to see all transportation information and make sure he is launching (through the right chimney) the right gift to the right kid. Phew!

Santa’s solution: Classified, but Rudolph’s red nose might have something to do with it. If you have a similar challenge, find your solution here: Oracle Product Hub Cloud

Challenge 5: Santa has one chance to get the logistics right

As we alluded to above, the transportation and logistics involved on Christmas Eve are insane. Santa needs to optimize shipping in order to complete all deliveries in 24 hours, and he needs to connect that logistics process from the time he leaves the North Pole on Christmas Eve to when he returns on Christmas morning.

Santa’s solution: Classified. If you have a similar challenge, find your solution here: Oracle Transportation Planning

Challenge 6: Santa has to stay on top of deliveries in real-time

Santa is a master of rapid delivery. He consolidates and executes transportation orders from multiple sources and tracks all of his shipments in real-time. Plus, embedded analytics let him check his supply chain and see all his transportation information on a single platform, saving him a lot of time and energy. His ability to deliver gifts so well is one of the reasons he has such a sterling reputation for excellent customer service. Oh, in case you were wondering, it’s true that he has never lost a gift.

Santa’s solution: Classified, but we’ve heard that his tiny reindeer travel at the speed of light. If you have a similar challenge, find your solution here: Oracle Transportation Management Cloud

Challenge 7: Santa has to maintain a superior customer experience

Let’s not even dwell on what would happen if Santa failed to deliver a superior customer experience one year. He has been around for so long because he continuously improves on last year’s performance. He uses the most up-to-date technology to track his entire project portfolio and make the best decisions about resources, schedules and tasks.

Santa’s solution: Classified. If you have a similar challenge, find your solution here: Oracle Project Portfolio Management Cloud

The easy part for Santa is that he has jumped on board with the Cloud. Sure, it would be great to have magical elves or flying reindeer, but all you really need is Oracle’s Supply Chain Cloud Solutions.

When you follow Santa’s lead, you will be able to develop products fast, plan your supply chain effectively, source materials efficiently – all in the cloud.

Learn more at: cloud.oracle.com/scm

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