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Santa Corp. powered by Tech Data

Dec 17, 2018 6:23:15 AM Craig Smith Internet of Things (IoT), digital transformation

Challenge

Christmas is almost upon us and, while Santa and his Elves are busy creating magical Christmases for children around the world, Tech Data has been pulled in to support Santa Corp with a radical new digital transformation project.

Santa Corp has operated in the same way for hundreds of years, with cumbersome processes and legacy equipment making their operations inefficient and not at all viable long-term. Consequently, Tech Data has spent the last 12 months overhauling Santa’s entire journey (from start to finish) to bring the latest in connected technologies to a traditional set-up and ensure Christmas 2018 is his most successful ever!

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Solution

Using a range of IoT sensors, as well as monitoring and analytics software, Tech Data has implemented a solution that gives Santa and his workshop full visibility of operational inefficiencies and advises on where resources could be better utilised.

Children have always written to Santa at Christmas. However, this method was slow, costly to administer and not always reliable. Through this new initiative, however, Tech Data and Santa Corp have developed a new mobile app that encourages children to submit gift ideas throughout the course of the year. Better yet, these wish lists will be delivered straight to a central database at Santa Corp through the Santa Cloud. The app will also provide recommendations and suggestions based on children with a similar profile and similar interests.

The Santa Corp factory is where the magic happens, but it can also be a major drain on resources; with power needed for machinery, lighting, heating and ironically cooling. Using Tech Data’s recently developed power management solution, the Santa Corp factory is able to monitor power usage and shut down areas of the factory when they are not in use and open up parts of the factory when production ramps up.

Planning for toy-making has previously been done through Elf guesswork in the workshop (which is often unreliable). As a result, Santa Corp has had to buy more raw materials than necessary or the Elves have had to work six-month’s worth of double-shifts if the undertaking has been underestimated. Fortunately, with the new data that is used to construct the naughty and nice list, the Elves can use business intelligence to determine how many children they need to build toys for, and the sort of toys that the children like.

Predictive maintenance is another key factor here. By monitoring vibration and power usage on the machines, coupled with analytics software, the Elves are alerted ahead of time if a machine looks like it is about to fail. This ensures operational uptime within the factory. Producing toys is a messy business. Contrary to popular belief (and Disney films), the production floor quickly becomes covered in wastage materials, tape and wrapping paper. By using the IoT solution developed by Tech Data, the Elf and Safety team get notifications on their handheld devices when an area needs cleaning. This has seen a much welcome reduction in work place accidents and an increase in overall productivity.

Santa’s reindeer fly around about 316,899,309 miles in 32 hours, which means they need to fly somewhere north of 1,800 miles per second. This requires considerable fitness. With wearable technology Santa can monitor the health and fitness of his reindeer well before the big day. By monitoring heart rate, temperature, exertion, he knows which reindeer are in top form and which ones need resting.

GPS sensors installed onto Santa’s latest, top-of-the-range sleigh help the Elves monitor Santa’s progress in real time. Using this information, the Elves will use an “Undisclosed secret Elf tool” to temporarily freeze surveillance cameras in his immediate area to ensure Santa isn’t picked up by them as he passes by. They also monitor the weight of the sleigh and sack to check for any anomalies. This, combined with GPS information, would be fed back to the Santa Cloud to ensure no child misses out and every present is delivered.

As a global organisation, Santa Corp has to take data compliance and protection seriously. After all, GDPR came into force earlier this year and it would be bad publicity to be hauled in front of the EU for mis-using the data it holds. Steps have therefore been put in place to ensure the various data compliance laws are regularly reviewed and data processes are checked by Santa Corp’s legal team to determine its compliance position.

Santa Corp is fiercely loyal to its existing workforce of Elves. Bringing in new employees simply is not an option, so the organisation invested heavily into Tech Data’s education and training programme. Elves who were previously skilled at making puppets needed to be retrained on the latest digital technologies. Fortunately, Elves are blessed with a very positive, can-do attitude. Once they had been walked through a change process and understood the need for reskilling, they couldn’t wait to get started.

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Results

The project has delivered outstanding results – alleviating the Head Elf from his overseeing duties. The entire workshop remains productive and CAPEX and OPEX costs have been slashed.

A representative from Santa Corp commented, “We are extremely satisfied with the operational improvements that have been implemented by Tech Data. We envision the smooth running of Christmas 2018, toy production is well underway, and predictive analytics currently show Santa will have time to spare on Christmas Eve, so feel free to leave him an extra mince pie.”

 

Craig Smith

Written by Craig Smith

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