Let’s face it Santa Claus is a brand icon. For the last six weeks of every year, we see him everywhere. He inspires warmth and positivity amongst both children and adults alike. Long gone are the humble beginnings in 3rd Century Turkey when Saint Nikolas first gave away his inherited wealth. Over the next 1700 years, the Santa brand has evolved to create a unique and special brand that is recognized and revered across the globe. His generosity is unparalleled, his intentions pure and his interactions with kids a simple joy to behold. But when we dig deeper there are powerful ideas and commercial excellence behind Santa Claus and the team that continue to inspire so many and to set the benchmark for logistics and sustainability globally.
On a single night every year, we see Team Santa’s operational excellence as presents are delivered to kids across the globe with absolute perfection. The team’s performance shows class, an amazing use of technology all while being totally sustainable. What better combination could there be? Team Santa is the future of technology and sustainable logistics. So let’s lift the lid on Team Santa’s magic formula.
Team Santa’s Delivery Capability
Team Santa’s scope and operational efficiencies have remained closeted in the deepest secrecy at the North Pole over the last millennium. So when it comes to analysing Team Santa’s delivery capability, we have to apply a combination of some magically flawed logic, sprinkled with some Christmas conjecture, with a globule of generous guesswork. This analysis could provide the game-changing transformation the global logistics businesses have been craving or it could just present some light fun at the end of a tough year. So, let’s start by estimating the number of presents Team Santa is likely to deliver this year…
- Statista estimated there were 1.98 bn kids globally under the age of 14 (2020)
- With 31% of the global population being Christian and most likely to celebrate Christmas, this reduces the balance of Team Santa’s target deliveries to around 600m kids.
- For some unfair, unfathomable and highly obscure reasons, members of the US population over the age of 8.4 years don’t believe in Santa. How could they not believe? Such sacrilege for such a lovable and generous icon! That’s around 40% of kids that won’t get pressies, leaving a balance of 360m kids
- And of course, we have to exclude those kids who have been too naughty to receive pressies and Christmas cheer from Santa. There is no formal naughty scale so let's be generous given all the challenges over the past 2 years and say 30% of kids have, on balance, been too naughty to get on Santa’s list. This leaves 250m kids that are estimated to get pressies.
- Finally, with an average of 2.3 kids per household, this means team Santa delivers to around 110m unique locations - in one night! With say 2 presents per well-behaved kid that’s around 500m parcels for same-day delivery - dwarfing the daily delivery of Amazon parcels of 1.6m - go Team Santa!!
With this kind of performance, we have to question how Team Santa plans its logistics. It would simply redefine the dictionary definition of precision as the stakes are so high - after all, 250m kids’ smiling faces are at stake. Just ask anyone in logistics - same-day delivery at the best of times is one of the biggest logistics headaches - with half-full trucks, stalled in traffic congestion spewing out carbon emissions in towns. There has to be a highly proactive approach to supply-chain management.
Supply Chain Management
If we look at Team Santa’s sales pipeline - Team Santa faces major headwinds and challenges. To get the list of the pressies kids want, the team primarily relies on their franchised system - with Santas in shopping malls, supported by letters and emails to Santa at the North Pole. That data is collected around Mid-November. So, Santa has to plan an entire supply chain for the supply and delivery of 500m pressies - all produced within the previous 4- 6 weeks. Impossible I hear you lament …
We have to believe that Team Santa must have access to incredible IT teams and systems - perhaps the elves have been re-trained to analyse through big data and artificial intelligence all forms of social media, to be able to predict data-driven decisions about kids’ requests for pressies and whether they have been well-behaved enough.
Team Santa has to ensure they deliver at night-time so as not to wake up the kids. Deliveries will typically need to be made between the hours of 10 pm - 6 a.m., when kids are sleeping. So, Team Santa must be able to cross-match with the sleep patterns of kids. Maybe Team Santa has access to biometric data from the kids’ smartwatches - sprinkled with big data analysis - to provide the insights necessary to deliver so robustly and on time without getting caught coming down what remains of the world’s chimneys and picking up milk and cookies at every stop.
Team Santa and Technology
To achieve the excellence Team Santa continues to sustain, they must be using technology to support such a major feat. To plan the supply chain prior to delivery, to get the addresses right for each delivery to kids who are asleep and who have been good present incalculable layers of complexity.
In itself, this is an inspiration for all silver surfers. Given that Santa relocated from Turkey in the 3rd century AD to the current North Pole location, that means he and Mrs Claus must be almost 1700 years old - so there’s no excuse for your parents or grandparents to say they can’t use technology. If Santa can, they surely can.
Santa’s Fleet and commitment to sustainability
All this same-day delivery, globally, is done with a total commitment to sustainability. With 1 sleigh and 8 reindeer, Team Santa has a very favourable carbon footprint. Whatever is in the magic dust, there must be some incredible technology to enable the phenomenal logistical activity of delivering 500m pressies same day with such a limited fleet. Undoubtedly government agencies will be watching it very closely this year to try to see if they can reverse-engineer it.
Overall, with a sleigh, reindeer and magic dust, Team Santa has minimised the environmental impact of same-day (same-night) delivery - an absolute nirvana for all logistics companies, globally. For those that are also curious, there are no greenhouse gases showing over the North Pole at the moment. Indeed, the image from Google Earth below shows no snow or ice over the North Pole right now - yet the surrounding countries have the whiteness of snow and ice.
While various commentators suggest the North Pole is ocean supported by ice on top that is constantly shifting - it does beg the question team whether Team Santa has some form of stealth technology to mask their activities from prying eyes. Perhaps it reinforces that Team Santa values its own intellectual property, as so many logistics behemoths would be clamouring for it, and thus far there have been no leaks by the Elves, the Reindeer or any disenfranchised parties.
Finally of course, we also have to question whether Team Santa may treat New Zealand differently this year to avoid paying the fart tax given the naughty country recently announced tax on methane emissions from cows!
So, Team Santa rocks. They already deliver logistics excellence that puts even the best of the best to shame. The lack of greenhouse gases in such incredible feats of supply chain management is a lesson for us all. As for Urb-it! we’re too busy delivering sustainably for the last mile with our eCargo bikes and local fulfilment centres, leaving the kids’ stuff to the professionals at Team Santa.
Happy Christmas, Team Santa - and thank you for your services to kids, to keeping their dreams alive and being a beacon of hope and joy at the end of the year for us all, and to inspiring all our dreams of sustainable same-day delivery with over 500m parcels delivered in one night.
For kids under 8.4 years old, no-one can beat Team Santa for their sustainable same-day delivery - for everyone else - there’s Urb-it!
Happy Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our blog readers - and many thanks for all your support over the last 12 months.
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