There have been one or two tell-tale signs that Santa and his expansive operation of Elves and Reindeer have been struggling to cope with their commitments in recent years.
First, there seems to be a pivot towards digital delivery of games and movies which require no physical delivery or wrapping whatsoever. It seems suspicious that Santa has less work to do and he sees a variety of royalties from these activities which have only served to create a real culture of lethargy and luxury at the North Pole.
Second, there seems to be a lot of funding directed towards 3D printing (see suspicious funding source above) opening up the potential for some physical products to be delivered over the ether.
Most worrying of all is the growing list of ‘naughty children’ that receive no gift at all due to their naughtiness throughout the year. A recent survey revealing this number rising from 1.24% in 2002 to an estimated 9.55% for Christmas 2014 (Source: YouTube anonymous poster). Have minimum behavior standards been secretly raised?
For the few remaining products that do need to be delivered, a document was leaked that there may be a JV with Amazon in order to execute on the promise of reindeer drone delivery.
At AIMMS, we feel a social responsibility to help Santa get back on the happy path of delivering a reasonable selection of physical goods to excited children.
Naturally you would expect the Dutch to use their legendary optimization skills to bring the operation back on track. After all, it was the Dutch who introduced an ‘extra’ Santa day (December 5th) in order to access the full benefits of demand smoothing. We’re proposing optimized multi-horizon demand planning to improve Elf manufacturing forecasts. Children will be asked in March ‘what would you like?’, in July ‘what do you need for Christmas?’ and finally in December ‘what must you absolutely have otherwise your life would be ruined?’
Next we’ve had our partners complete a network optimization initiative and they are proposing to distribute North Pole manufacturing across three centers of gravity. We’re suggesting North Pole, a new Southern Hemisphere plant in Brazil and a large Rotterdam cross docking station.
All children living in the Southern Hemisphere are now going to have the option of Christmas in June. We feel that there will be enough critical mass and snow in June to still lend itself to a magical Christmas atmosphere and the additional date will reduce demand during the traditional December peak.
Finally, as much effort often exists when delivering ‘the last mile’…we’re proposing RFID enabled chimney caps which will allow accurate delivery from 10,000 feet.
We feel that our practical optimization steps will help Santa get back on the right path and allow Christmas to remain traditional.
Come on Santa, don’t take short cuts. The power of optimization and an extra cookie can get you there! Merry Christmas!
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