Talk about routing challenges! Rather than spreading out deliveries across the calendar year, Santa Claus saves all of his deliveries for a single night and defines peak season. In total, Santa must make 842 million stops in one night to deliver toys to the 2.1 billion children around the world. We hear that he must travel 1,280 miles per second to complete his route and that only allows a millisecond at each house to pop down the chimney, distribute gifts, enjoy his milk and cookies, and get back on the sleigh.
How does he manage it all? Well, time zones help (traveling East to West, Santa and his reindeer have 31 hours to make their way around the globe), but Santa also has other secrets up his sleeve. We sat down with him to learn more. [This interview was conducted during Santa’s summer vacation, but we are publishing it now for the Christmas delivery season.]
Q: How do you calculate your route to visit each child on Christmas eve?
A: Well, most people think my elves are just jolly little toymakers, but we have some real smart cookies at the North Pole. They’ve developed software to map out my route down to the last detail. They use fancy technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning if you can believe that! Then, on Christmas Eve, after everything has been mapped out and communicated to the reindeer, I hop into my sleigh and follow that highly optimized route!
Q: Which part of your route is the toughest?
A: That last-mile segment to each house can get tricky! Flying through the sky on my sleigh is just calm and relaxing, but those deliveries are the tough part. You need to make sure you get the right items to the right kid – and of course, you can’t be late. There’s zero tolerance for late deliveries in my business.
Q: How do you deal with weather and traffic issues?
A: As you know, we can have some awful snowstorms up here at the North Pole. And while Rudolph’s red nose is a big help, the elves’ route optimization software can reroute my sleigh to avoid storms altogether. It also makes sure that airplane traffic doesn’t interfere with my take-offs and landings.
Q: Is customer satisfaction a big issue for you?
A: Are you serious? I wouldn’t be in business unless every kid was delighted! (And of course, get their gifts on time!) I check in on the kids on Christmas Day with my magic snow globe, and I’m happy to say I have a perfect Net Promoter Score!
Q: So, for my final question, how do you travel so fast?
A: Well, my dear, that is a secret. But it has something to do with magic corn.