By Derek Koyama, Director, Professional Services and Business Operations, Diabsolut FSM
Did you ever wonder how Santa delivers all those gifts to the right house at the right time? With a flawless track record, Santa is a role model when it comes to service excellence. Below we reveal the 10 reasons why Field Service Management is the real secret behind Santa’s success.
- Travel time
Before starting his evening trip around the globe Santa needs to calculate the ideal route to reach all the homes within a certain time. Missing an appointment/home is not an option. Having the capability to predict travel time through previous years’ experiences, weather conditions and air congestion are all critical to ensuring he can meet every boy and girl’s expectations.
- Great mobile application
With over 1.5 billion children under 15 years, old the volume of accurate information that Santa needs readily accessible is huge. Santa doesn’t have time to waste flipping through volumes of excel worksheets and instead, likely has a solution that provides a great user interface with access to key information on demand, at his fingertips. While Santa’s memory is amazing, having quick access to historical gift information is equally important if caught and questioned while delivering presents.
- Solid business and change management for continuous improvement
Santa’s customer base keeps changing and new toys are introduced every year. What was ‘cool’ last year is no longer popular this year. Business processes must be able to handle the constant change of customers, last minute customer requests, new gift introductions and of course, let’s not forget, the ‘naughty list’. Having flexible, while directed, business processes combined with a group of Elves trained to understand change norm is another likely reason for Santa’s continued success.
- In day optimization
We all hear about holiday babies every year. With near and real-time changes to Santa’s appointment schedule he needs to ensure that his travel route is in a state of continual improvement. With such a short time window to reach approximately 1 billion homes, the need for a system is in place to continually adjust his route is critical to his success.
- Job duration variability
What happens when a door is locked, chimney not accessible or really good homemade cookies are laid out…? It’s impossible for Santa to predict what could happen at any home. The time Santa spends at each home can be initially estimated however there are many variables that could cause this time to increase or decrease. Having a process and system in place that can accommodate and adjust his schedule based upon changes to his gift delivery time is critical.
- Inventory and supply chain management
How is it that Santa never runs out of presents or has to fly back to the north pole to restock? Santa’s gift inventory and stocking process must be amazing. Ensuring that his business and technology processes work seamlessly together to provide accurate and timely delivery of his gift inventory is another key to Santa’s success. Having that capability for each order to clearly indicate the gift(s) required and to track gift distribution would allow Santa to accurately track his present float.
- Breaks, lunches and supper
While it would be great if we could all survive on cookies and milk, even Santa needs to take time to some time to have a proper meal. With all the deliveries he has to make in such a short time, there’s barely any time for Santa to rest and eat. A system that ensures that he has a pre-defined time (or range of time) to take his breaks means that Santa has the energy and focus he needs throughout the evening.
- Out of coverage areas
It’s difficult for regular travelers to be disconnected for 3-6 hours on a plane. We can only guess that Santa flies a lot higher and faster than a plane and data coverage must be a challenge, especially over the ocean. Being able to cache his trip information and status updates during those times of no coverage and send the information to his North Pole team when in a coverage area is crucial to ensure that his Elves and Mrs. Claus know he is safe and on track to meet his delivery schedule.
- Customer visibility
“When is Santa coming?” is the constant cry of exciting children and continual challenge to all parents. Over recent years, Santa has heard his customer concerns and has teamed up with NORAD to combine his sleigh GPS data with a customer friendly user portal. Using a FSM solution that provides Santa’s customers with a real-time view of his progress has now eliminated the mystery of his whereabouts.
- Constantly learning and looking at new technology
Decades ago the only way to contact Santa was through snail mail. Santa has kept up with the times and you can now contact him via text, email, Instagram, Snapchat and web portals. Santa has the luxury of an off-season where he and his Elves research and interview companies for best practices on technology and process.
If you’re looking to make your service organization as successful as Santa’s, make sure you look towards a partner that understands field service technology and processes. Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve field service excellence.