Does Santa Claus need risk management strategies?
You bet he does!
Imagine, if you will, that Santa only has four more days until Christmas to get all the toys ready for the children.
Only, this year, a quarter of his elf workforce has come down with reindeer flu, Santa’s sled is ruined due to an accident during routine maintenance, and the supply chain of gingerbread is disrupted due to a strike by the Sweets and Treats Food Workers Union.
Worse, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has a cold, which means his usual bright cherry-red nose is a sickly green.
Santa is in a bind.
He needs to get his toys and sled ready before Christmas Eve, and he needs reliable transportation once he’s up in the air.
Fortunately, Santa has a very smart COO (his wife, Mrs Claus), who worked with Santa ahead of time to come up with risk management strategies to deal with these very sorts of problems.
Risk Management: Planning for Murphy’s Law
In reviewing all the basic parts of Santa’s North Pole operation, Mrs Claus broke down the potential areas of vulnerability into the following categories:
1. Staffing For Effective Risk Management
Santa’s elves are the key to the entire operation. Mrs Claus has worked with the Head Elf for years to ensure that the elves have the proper training and talent development to enable them to succeed.
During those times of the year when it’s likely the elves may end up short-handed (due to the seasonal nature of reindeer flu), the Head Elf has a contingency plan to re-allocate staff from non-essential duties to help with the Christmas rush.
Furthermore, a backup stash of toys is available in a pinch.
For Santa, transportation has to be working smoothly the night of Christmas Eve.
This is why Santa not only has the latest in Christmas sleigh design, he has a back-up just in case the main sleigh is out of commission.
3. Supply Chain
Santa, of course, is very pro-worker (he’s Santa Claus after all), but he can’t help much with a labour dispute that involves a gingerbread factory over at the South Pole.
Instead, he has alternative supply chain management strategies to make up for last-minute shortfalls.
4. Technology and Risk Management
Rudolph’s glowing red nose is just one of the technologies that Santa uses to deliver toys at Christmas. Santa was, in fact, the inventor of “big data” – how else would he manage a list of the naughty and nice that covers the entire population of children on the planet?
Santa has to make sure that while he’s on his sleigh, his GPS (Gift Positioning System) is connecting properly with his database of deliveries. He has redundant systems as well as cloud computing set up, so he can access the data wherever he flies.
And, sadly, when Rudolph is out of commission, Santa uses the next best thing: LED lighting.
Hurrah! Santa has made his deliveries this year.
Good job, Santa! (And Mrs Claus!)