Some celebrate him as the world market leader for logistics in the gift-sector, others indulge in pseudo-scientific explanations why he cannot exist: Father Christmas. But his gigantic achievement relies on a very simple explanation – he obviously employs our digital solutions.

The stress begins with the order intake. Customers just do not learn! Approximately 1.8 Billion orders every year, and most of them are received within two weeks before the designated delivery date, why this late? And look at how those order sheets are filled out, handwritten, in more than 170 different languages, often impossible to decipher and full of orthographical mistakes, as if written by children…

As an entrepreneur, Father Christmas faces such enormous challenges every year, that he is either celebrated as the world market leader for logistics in the gift-sector, or described as non-existent in pseudo-scientific explanations. The latter because, for instance, he would have to travel at a sleigh-speed of 0.97 percent of the speed of light – so fast that he would inevitably burn up – in order to be able to deliver the 3.14 Billion presents which he has to distribute within 32 hours worldwide. However, his apparently so mysterious productive efficiency just relies on an extremely simple success performance principle: Father Christmas obviously employs the software solutions created by the Germanedge partners.

First of all, Father Christmas systemises the order chaos described at the start. „He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice”, as the popular US Christmas song classic „Santa Claus is coming to town” describes it. And which list do those lyrics refer to? That’s right, the Checklist software by New Solutions. Father Christmas also uses the Digital Shiftbook by the same partner, after all, he has to coordinate the workforce scheduling for around 3000 gnomes and fairies and at least 9 reindeer. And only digital support makes it possible for his assistant, Santa’s Little Helper, to double up in the two roles of supply chain manager and shift supervisor.

Production planning is kept running smoothly not least thanks to the solutions by ORSOFT and GEFASOFT. These ensure an optimally smooth capacity utilisation of gnomes and machines, which in turn warrants the legendary joyful working environment (which makes Father Christmas one of the most popular employers in the world, despite shift operations and piecework structures) and also has a positive influence on maintenance planning. An even strain on the infrastructure makes it much easier to predict which tool needs maintenance at which point in time. When 1000 bicycles are assembled per second and 3000 chocolate Santas are cast per nanosecond, maintenance requirements are a major issue.

The smooth flow of the production of billions of bicycles, games consoles, cuddly toys, books and ponies (unfortunately a highly problematic product, considering the glaring discrepancies between order intake and delivered goods, due to import restrictions put in place by legislators against the interests and desires of their clients) relies not just on the digital support from order intake to warehouse logistics (where the WMS solutions by Objective take effect) but also on the fact that the co-creation principle is cultivated throughout the Father Christmas company. A major contributor to this is Baby Jesus, who, in his role as Chief Experience Officer, has an excellent instinct for the needs of the clients, and is very adept at developing solutions together with them, how the desired PlayStation might be delivered to them in future instead of the wrongly delivered sticks or switches.

At the Father Christmas company, they like to have several pairs of hands involved in the making of the Christmas pudding to determine the best recipe. The MES system by GEFASOFT ensures that any potential chaos is avoided by monitoring the cookie-production in real time, from chocolate chip consumption to the temperature of the ovens – it is a well-known fact that there is potential for things to go wrong in the Christmas kitchen, especially when younger trainees suddenly rule the shop floor.

Speaking of the potential for error: in order to minimize that risk, Santa Claus, as the head of quality management, employs the products by QDA Solutions. Statistical process control (SPC) helps to dimension manufacturing tolerances (this is a challenge especially with the padding of stuffed toys, where a little too much or too little cotton makes all the difference to a satisfactory cuddle experience, not to mention the changes in warehouse capacity considering the whole of 500 million teddy bears produced every year). The gnomes are relying on LIMS for the establishment of standards for material control: the rejection rate of bicycles, for instance, has gone down by 100 percent since the gnomes were informed that in order to pass the quality test, a bicycle does not need to fly, but should have wheels rather than runners.

Originally, Santa Claus was content to personally conduct a short check on St. Nicolaus day on 6 December at the 233 million delivery addresses for Christmas eve, measuring customer satisfaction in the somewhat mysterious unit of “well-polished boots”. But since Father Christmas was made aware of the exchange figures of the international retail industry during the two weeks after Christmas, due to wrong or damaged deliveries, he has become very keen on the Advanced-Planning-and-Scheduling-Solutions (APS) by ORSOFT, so Santa Claus has introduced a complaints management as a precaution. He also loves the opportunities for advanced quality planning and uses the APQP method in order to meet the challenges the habit of his customers of changing their demands every year brings with effective forward planning.

Father Christmas now starts with the simulation of planning scenarios in the summer. Accordingly, since he has time for optimisation and also will have a Unified Production Workplace at his disposal with Edge One next year, which will help him reach the absolute maximum efficiency in his production, we would not be surprised to find if Christmas Eve came on 23 December.