Logistics Management is that aspect of business that differentiates the great businesses from the also-rans. It involves, transportation, fleet management, storing of finished products, meeting deadlines, ensuring that production meets demands and most importantly, ensuring that the products are delivered at the right place at the right time.
This is an extremely busy time for good old Santa as he has to single-handedly deliver around 760 million pounds of gifts, to kids around the world and that too in just one night – that he manages to do so efficiently and unfailingly year-after-year could serve as management lessons businesses could learn from and emulate.
Paul Tronsor from FedEx and Mike Mangeot from UPS, both share Santa’s business and passion for delivering and they have put Santa’s work logistics in more tangible perspective.
According to them, if Santa was not empowered with divinely ordained magical powers and he was a corporation on earth, he would require a workforce of 12 million people, or should that be elves, working from 46 distribution centers around the world.
Moreover, to meet the demands his production department in his North Pole factory would have to manufacture, six million presents each day, every single day of the year.
40,000 of these workers would have to manage customs issues and another 67,100 would be needed to chalk out his itinerary, the shortest routes, so that he does not retrace routes and ensure that he does not have any visa issues. Moreover, they would have to ensure that he had flyover rights over such war torn countries, like Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya – we wouldn’t want to his sleigh to be brought down by anti-aircraft weapons, would we?
400,000 workers would be needed to load the toys on to his sleigh and that too in a systematic manner in which, it would be easy for Santa to unload them wherever he needed them. It would require 3.3 million workers to take the toys and store them in warehouses in their international distribution centers.
Oops! One almost forgot. This year the world is experiencing one of its coldest winters. Santa would require around a 100 weather experts to ensure that he does not face inclement weather or flies into a blizzard. Moreover, what about on-board food service, can McDonalds be relied upon to provide fat-free grass to the reindeer?
The whole thing would have to be operated like any other international business, because that is what it eventually boils down to, FedEx’s Tronsor said.
What business can learn from his terrific business acumen is that he has not allowed his reputation to be sullied and that people across the world continue to believe in his values of goodness and benevolence and that it pays for corporations to be magnanimous especially during Christmas.
Santa’s work is hard, extremely taxing, but, boy, does he not enjoy working his butt off. Lesson to be learnt, is that a fun-filled workplace is more productive and prolific and makes workers want to work that much harder.
Santa addresses each of his 750 million children by their names. He has a good memory and does not forget names. To the worker the world’s sweetest sound is his or her name spoken by the employer. It’s a special skill that merits learning from Santa.
Santa gifts not what he wants to give but what the recipient would like to receive. To make sure your business prospers, it is crucial to know your customers likes and dislikes for it conveys a message of concern for the customer.
Santa knows how to keep his employees happy and content. They have been steadfast in their loyalty over all these centuries. Never has Santa faced an employee lawsuit in his hundreds of years of working. Business would do well to emulate his collegial and mutually-respectful style of business.
Santa respects deadlines and meets them with unfailing regularity. He visits 822 homes per second to ensure that deadlines are met – no excuses, no complaints of excessive work pressures that could lead to delays – can your work be more pressing than having to deliver goods across the world within 24 hours to 750 million customers.
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