How is Santa able to deliver millions of gifts to millions of kids around the world in such a short period of time? This question often troubles the minds of those children who no longer are innocent enough to blindly expect Santa Claus to bring them their Christmas gifts and may even doubt that this generous, good-natured benefactor actually exists.
Today, we have a rational answer that parents can give their fast-growing kids: “Santa Claus runs on SAP S/4HANA.”
Truth be told, the magic behind the timely delivery of presents during the Christmas season relies on an industry of gigantic proportions. According to Deloitte, the professional services firm, Latin American consumers bought an average of eight gifts, at an average cost of US$ 51.00 each in each of the past Christmas.
Based on these figures, in a matter of just a few days, approximately 4.8 billion packages must be delivered across the region, generating over US$ 30 billion in related revenues.
If, as the story goes, all these movements were to be handled by a single organization that – to make things logistically worse – was headquartered at the North Pole, this would mean big trouble. However, if such organization were to run on an in-memory platform capable of processing huge volumes of information in real time, it could already start to respond to letters from anxious children in November and early December.
Combining these early-bird requests with historic data, Santa Claus would then be able to predict how many toys would be needed, and what materials are required to build them. Accurate predictions would allow Santa to have the right supply to fulfill those Christmas list requests of kids worldwide. Santa’s jovial “ho, ho, ho” would be heard often, since the possibility of shortages or excessive inventory would be minimal. Also based on this predictive model, Santa’s organization would never have to deal with the headache of handling last-minute letters from absent-minded children, and having to deliver the requested items as “emergency orders.”
This would be just one of the benefits this North Pole business would enjoy if it were to experience a digital transformation. In addition to optimizing his supply chain, Santa Claus would benefit from greater productivity by his elves. Using human capital management tools, he would pull together teams with the best available talent in every toy-building field of expertise. This would ensure that each team member could focus on toys in high demand, instead of wasting time on those that would probably languish on store shelves.
In the event that parents put in a special request on behalf of their offspring, they would be guaranteed a great shopping experience no matter which channel they use to shop, thanks to SAP’s new ‘beyond CRM’ toolset and the Fiori interface.
Santa’s flying reindeer would benefit from a logistics system that can provide them with the best route possible, significantly decreasing delivery time, as well as reducing the consumption of straw and hay. With fewer miles on the sleigh odometer, less maintenance would be required, and since the sleigh would be outfitted with sensors and hooked up to the Internet of things network, managed with an advanced predictive modelling system, any necessary repairs could be scheduled before they become an issue.
With these tools in hand, Santa Claus would minimize production flaws and drastically increase customer satisfaction, thus fulfilling his main business goal: To meet all the children’s requests, in an accurate, timely manner.
In the grown-up world, a growing number of business organizations are using SAP HANA to implement this functionality, speed-up their operations, optimize their business processes, and make informed decisions, building on real-time data. But in the world of fantasy, a final word of caution to the little ones: Since now Santa has been empowered with such extraordinary data management, he will also be able to check his control panel, and find out who was really naughty or nice during the year!
Desmond Mullarkey is VP of the Platform Solutions Group for SAP Latin America
Top image via Shutterstock
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