Derek Koyama

By Derek Koyama

December 5, 2017


Do you ever wonder how Santa delivers billions of gifts to children all over the world in a single day?  With a flawless track record, Santa is a role model when it comes to service excellence—but how does he do it? Below we reveal ten reasons why we believe field service management (FSM) is the real secret behind Santa’s success.

1. Predictive travel time

Before starting his evening trip around the globe, Santa needs to calculate the ideal route to reach every home within a certain time period. In field service, missing an appointment is not an option, just as it’s not an option for Santa to miss a child’s home. Having the capability to predict travel time based on previous years’ experiences, weather conditions, and air congestion are all critical to ensuring Santa can meet every boy and girl’s expectations.

2. Great mobile application

With over 1.5 billion children under 15 years old, Santa needs a large volume of accurate information readily accessible to meet demand. And he doesn’t have time to waste flipping through volumes of Christmas lists or Excel spreadsheets. Instead he 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 important, especially if he’s caught and questioned while delivering presents.

3. Solid business and change management for continuous improvement

Santa’s customer base is always changing and new toys are introduced every year. What was cool last year might not be popular this year. And those who made the naughty list last year might be on the nice list this year. Business processes must be able to handle the constant change of customers, last minute customer requests, and new gift introductions. Having flexible, while directed, business processes and group of elves trained to understand change norm is likely another reason for Santa’s continued success.

4. In-day optimization

Holiday babies are born every year, meaning Santa is constantly adding more appointments to his schedule. With near and real-time changes to the 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 one billion homes, it’s critical he has a system in place to continually adjust his route as his schedule updates.

5. Job duration variability

Though the time Santa spends at each home can be estimated in advance, there are many variables that could cause this time to increase or decrease. For instance, what happens when a door is locked or a chimney is inaccessible? Or what if really good homemade cookies are laid out? It’s impossible for Santa to predict what could happen at any home. But having a process in place that can accommodate his schedule based on changes to his gift delivery time (or job duration) is crucial.

6. 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? He likely ensures that his business and technology processes work seamlessly together to provide accurate and timely gift deliveries. To accurately track his gift inventory, it’s important Santa has the ability to see what gifts are required for each order and track distribution as it happens.

7. 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 him 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.

8. 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, so 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 back 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.

9. Customer visibility

“When is Santa coming?” is the constant cry of excited children and a 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 field service management solution that provides his customers with a real-time view of his progress has now eliminated the mystery of his whereabouts.

10. Constantly learning and looking at new technology

Decades ago the only way to contact Santa was through snail mail. Fortunately, he has kept up with the times and you can now contact him via text, email, Instagram, Snapchat, and web portals. Santa also 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 Diabsolut today to see how we can help you achieve field service excellence.

For field service news, trends, and best practices, subscribe to the Field Service Matters blog.

Derek Koyama
By Derek Koyama

Derek Koyama is a skilled Field Service leader with over 20 years of experience in leading business process re-engineering, change management, reporting and Field Operations teams. An effective team builder with an amazing capacity to direct many diverse initiatives simultaneously while being known for continuing to drive bottom line results. Derek continues to split his time between helping businesses understanding their business process and change management challenges and searching for that all elusive hole-in-one.

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