What could we learn from Santa and his elves?

In business, there is one empire we are all envious of. We see consistent performances year on year. No competitor comes near. I’m talking about Santa and his workshop, of course.

We know that Santa has unlimited resources at his disposal, and we have heard that he likes efficiency and appreciates the value of information sharing amongst the elves. So, although we are in the dark about the operational side of the North Pole’s largest factory, we thought it was about time we speculate on how an ERP system would suit Santa, the elves and The Workshop.

Elf Recruitment

Arguably the most integral component of The Workshop is its production line. Elves, and plenty of them, are required to manage this whole part of the process, and it wouldn’t run without the very best employees. Each year, the most talented elves filter through the recruitment process on to the shop floor.

An ERP system will work wonders in taking care of onerous tasks which allows more time for a hiring elf to focus on finding the right helpers for the factory. As well as budget allocation by each department, the system could potentially report on personnel needs, helping the recruitment elves to understand what workshop positions need filling. Another benefit for Santa could be identifying an area of high turnover. This functionality gives him the ability to deep dive into the reasons why elves are leaving The Workshop. Furthermore, hiring elves can develop an elf retention strategy.

Seasonal Demand

Preparing for the most wonderful time of the year takes time, Santa wouldn’t be as successful if he did the same thing each year. Instead, a smart business system can track and report on trends year on year. Patterns in the data may be indicative of when the factory is most in-demand, allowing resources to be allocated at the appropriate times. According to EazyStock, ‘an inventory optimisation app will analyse historical demand to identify these seasonal patterns, group products accordingly and account for seasonality when forecasts are created.’

Whether orders are mass-produced or custom-designed, The Workshop can cope. ERP systems can work interchangeably with a Warehouse Management System (WMS), and we suspect that The Workshop has one. A WMS will help keep on top of real-time inventory levels and all incoming orders. Inventory is tracked throughout its journey from being received, put-away, picked, packed and shipped. The inventory information is also shared across the factory to all other functional departments in the chain required to fulfil orders accurately.

Order Management

Orders to The Workshop enter the mailroom as letters from children. A savvy system can enhance your customers experience from the first touchpoint. When the children’s letters come into the mailroom, the information is processed through the ERPs order management component, and order entry is created and sent to the factory. Automation is bound to save the elves time and reserves resources for where it really is required! Toy design and production.

Toy Design and Production

An ERP system would help Santa make toys better than the year before. All elements of the product development lifecycle can be integrated with an ERP system. Insights into historical product launches will ease decision-making during this stage. What worked previously, what didn’t? As there will be plenty of decisions to make on what kind of toy will be most appreciated by the children, we’re convinced Santa has a fully optimised, state of the art system at his disposal.

Transport Planning

With millions of children hoping for deliveries on December 25th, a drop-off route is required to help the reindeer stay on course. An ERP system can naturally schedule deliveries based on resource, often in real-time. Rudolf and the troops are informed of their route, sleigh load limits are confirmed, and they’re off!

Be like Santa

We can’t confirm nor deny whether Santa stopped here for ERP support. However, what we can tell you is that with nothing to lose in a free consultation with an expert Gradient consultant – why not see how we could help you? Call +44 (0) 1282 463710 today.



We are keen to work with you in making your project a success. Over to you, why not give us a call or fill in a form?