"Christmas as a Service": How we optimize the supply chain for Santa Claus

Christmas is just around the corner. But while many colleagues go on well-deserved vacation, for others the work is just beginning: Santa Claus, his helping elves and his loyal reindeer team have their hands full – and in a logistically challenging year, too!

Because Santa Claus is also struggling with difficulties. Whether it's stalled productions or disruptions in the sleigh supply chain, it's all there. This does not make the work in his Christmas workshop any easier. In addition, the number of recipients is increasing. The wishes are becoming more and more special. The choice of great gifts is increasing. And to make matters worse, there are children who change their minds at the last minute and adapt their wishes.

How can this be managed? The best way is together! And so Santa sought and found support from the supply chain experts at thyssenkrupp XMaaS Services. They put together an exclusive Christmas as a Service package that enables efficient and lean Christmas production and supply chain. 

The initial situation: High demands, great time pressure.

Santa Claus delivers once a year "just in time" within 12 to 15 hours to about 2.35 billion children and young people worldwide. In Germany alone, that's about 11.6 million households. That's why he needs sophisticated supply chain management to master all the challenges and not lose track of everything.

Santa's questions to our experts were many and varied:

  • How do I get the right presents to the right place at the right time?

  • How do I sort the presents in my stacks so that I always know exactly where everything is and which sleighs I should load?

  • What is the best material to use to build my sleighs so that my reindeer don't have to haul so heavy and don't use so much energy?

  • How do I pack the sleigh so that maybe one or two more presents fit inside?

  • How do I optimize my transport routes to fly even faster around the globe? Is there an app for that?

Merry XMaaS

The solution: Optimizing the entire supply chain

First of all, the XMaaS experts gave the Christmas workshop a thorough overhaul. The result was a brand-new Christmas logistics center at the North Pole: with driverless sleighs, fully enchanted facilities and a brand-new logistics concept in which Santa can dock directly with his sleigh at loading bays. This saves time and the helping elves can turn their attention to other Christmas activities.

To ensure that the systems in the Christmas logistics center run smoothly, the colleagues from thyssenkrupp XMaaS Services implemented a solution for Christmas production optimization: joii, an IIoT platform (Imaginative Internet of toys) and a Christmas Execution System. joii magically networks all the systems – from the wrapping paper cutting system to the high-bay warehouse for small toys to the gift wrapping station. There's also an app to go with it: With the help of the joiifull app, the helping elves can nimbly pick the gifts. So they are ready for transport on time and are delivered "on time" and "in full".

So far, so good. But what if the children spontaneously change their mind and would rather have a different gift? Or their wish list arrives too late? "No problem at all," said the thyssenkrupp XMaaS Services consultants. "For that, we simply use our new Wishmaker AI solution!" Wishmaker ensures that the right material is available in the right quantity. In addition, Wishmaker predicts which wishes the children actually have. Now Santa doesn't have to worry about not having enough video games or dolls in stock or having them sit in the Christmas warehouse too long.

We also took a closer look at the sleigh logistics so that no unnecessary detours are made on the delivery route. The digital solution: CI Rudolph. The Christmas Intelligence was named after Rudolph, the reindeer leader who always knows exactly where to go. Christmas Intelligence collects all the information, analyzes it and optimizes the sled routes. In addition to punctuality, this also ensures a lasting effect: Reindeer Rudolph and his reindeer colleagues have to fly less.

The result: Satisfied customers and happy children

The reward for all this effort? A Christmas production that runs like clockwork, a satisfied Santa Claus, happy helping elves, rested reindeer, and above all: happy children who can unwrap their presents on the holiday. The Christmas service package from thyssenkrupp XMaaS Services had fully convinced. And maybe in return Santa will tell us the secret of how he manages to visit several hundred households within a second – we'd like to offer that to our other customers, too.

Further information

The developments of thyssenkrupp XMaaS Services are not based on pure magic - quite the opposite. These very real products and services are behind supply chain optimization for Santa Claus: