Here at SYKES, we like to think that we can handle any fulfilment project.
After all, in the UK alone, we send out over one million items every year and believe that there’s no large project that we couldn’t handle.
But we have to admit that there’s one person who handles a fulfilment project every year that even we couldn’t do. Santa Claus. According to one report, there are just over 526,000,000 children under the age of 14 in the world who look forward to Christmas.
That means that Santa delivers to almost 22 million children every hour on Christmas Eve. That’s about 365,000 per minute. Therefore, Santa travels at approximately 3,000 times the speed of sound! (You can track his progress via NORAD).
And it’s not just Christmas Eve. On January 5th he visits parts of Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine before Eastern Orthodox celebrations on Twelfth Night.
With an average gift size of 1kg/2lbs, his sleigh carries about 2.1 million tons of presents.
According to another report, If he didn’t have his special reindeer, he would need approximately 400,000 trucks or 5,000 Boeing 757-200 aeroplanes.
Incidentally, on land, ordinary reindeer can pull around 135kgs/300 pounds, so the eight flying reindeer do the job of about 1,633,333 of the “non flying” variety.
It’s a massive exercise in supply chain management, to ensure that every child gets what they want, without triggering complaints back to the North Pole contact centre. It’s an exercise that starts with collecting gift requests, usually by letter.
He also has to make sure that every child’s record is accurate, that they’ve been either naughty or nice. That in itself is a massive document handling exercise.
Santa’s list of “naughty” and “nice” children has its roots in Belgium and the Netherlands where their version of Santa Claus, Sinterklaas, kept a similar list.
Assuming each household leaves out two chocolate biscuits for Santa, he would eat 374 billion calories, 33,000 tons of sugar, and 151,000 tons of fat. If Santa could run an eight-minute mile, he would have to run for 109,000 years to burn off those calories.
And hard work is required well before Christmas. His elves have to work right up to deadline to make sure that every present is manufactured and packaged ready for delivery. That requires warehousing, logistics and a failsafe tracking system.
(His decision to base his manufacturing facility at the North Pole was a sensible one as the region is exempt from government taxes and regulations).
Our modern depiction of Santa is the work of the Coca-Cola Company, and their advertisements from the 1930s by the illustrator Haddon Sundblum.
Many of SYKES’ clients manufacture products that make ideal gifts – everything from cheese-making kits to audio equipment and smartphones.
Like Santa, we therefore have to plan for seasonal spikes, recruiting and training additional agents to cover chat, phone, and social media interactions.
It’s a large exercise to plan and execute but it’s something in which we have long experience.
From all of us at SYKES, Seasons Greetings!