WHITE CHRISTMAS PAPER – Dealing With Seasonal Fluctuation In Times of Crisis

Here is an excerpt from a Paper we published with Trade Extensions a couple of years ago - you can still access the whole paper here: White Christmas Paper . Trade Extensions is now of course part of the mighty Coupa empire!

CHALLENGE: IMPLEMENT AN END-TO-END SUPPLY OPTIMISATION PLATFORM TO IDENTIFY THE MOST APPROPRIATE SUPPLIERS, IN TERMS OF COST AND SERVICE, TO DELIVER HALF A BILLION (Editor's note: more than that surely?)  PARCELS WITHIN A 24-HOUR TIME FRAME

A STABLE NETWORK is vital for any distribution operation but when you are the oldest, largest and most successful global distribution operation in the world and your stable network goes down (with reindeer flu) the financial and reputational damages could be irrecoverable.

This is the situation SLEIGH (Santa’s Logistical Enterprise Innovative Gift Handling) faced this winter when all nine reindeer, including Rudolph himself, contracted reindeer flu. It left the organisation on the brink of a distribution catastrophe as the team solely responsible for driving the Christmas delivery vehicle thousands of miles delivering millions of presents on Christmas Eve were unlikely to recover in time for Christmas.

SLEIGH, Chief Procurement Officer, Father Christmas, had to seek rapid and expert guidance. Legendary supplier relationship management over the years means the world’s most famous CPO is known to almost every supplier and end user across the globe – albeit by different names. However, whether it's Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas or Père Noël in Europe, Viejo Pascuero in Chile or Hoteiosho in Japan the response is the same when he's in trouble.

And when Trade Extensions, a world-class sourcing and optimisation solution provider, heard of his plight they were quick to respond.

SLEIGH is responsible for the stringent on-time delivery of approximately 526,000,000 individually packaged parcels to all good girls and boys across the world, mainly in one night.

The presents have to be wrapped, addressed, loaded then distributed within the space of 24 hours across hundreds of states and territories in the world. Traditionally this mammoth logistical task could be achieved by only one guaranteed method – pure magic.

SLEIGH has always relied on its troop of magical flying reindeer to deliver the presents, but this year it was becoming clear that they would not be well enough in time to fulfil that role. Mr Christmas was very worried that for the first time in thousands of years he would be forced to outsource the distribution arm of his business. He was equally concerned about how, especially on earth, he would be able to find a service provider that could meet all of his criteria.

“Luckily for me,” he explained, “my CPE (Chief Procurement Elf) had been to the elf-World sourcing conference. He told me that at this e-World event he had learned of a number of software companies that offer a complete end-to-end sourcing optimisation solution. I didn’t really believe that any one piece of non-magical software could cope with all our levels of requirements and come up with a single solution. Surely, it would take some magical algorithms to achieve that. But we were assured that earth mathematics was powerful enough - we had to give it a try.”

Mr Christmas wrote a tender notice and, through his traditional means of communication, put it on the fire to let the smoke carry it off to interested suppliers especially on earth, he would be able to find a service provider that could meet all of his criteria ... (read the White Christmas Paper for the full story!).

 

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