“Here in the North Pole our elves work hard every year to ensure presents are created and delivered on time to good little boys and girls all over the world,” says Santa Claus, “but with a booming world population and the ever increasing demands of modern employment and elf-and-safety regulations, our task is getting harder and harder and we need to modernize without breaking the bank or requiring specialist skills”.
On Christmas Day Santa Claus delivers toys to well behaved boys and girls all over the world. Budgets are tight, especially with the collapse of the Icelandic banking system where most of Santa’s investments were held. As an ethical organization Santa’s operation must also be seen to be economic and efficient and now has to adhere to strict new guidelines on the amount of hours per day elves can work.
Up until now Santa’s operation was largely manual. “We are in an awkward position,” says Claus “people expect us to carry on our traditions of elf-labour and creating products by hand, but at the same time the world has moved on and we need to compete with the likes of Walmart and ToysRUs and cut our costs. So we needed to find ways of improving efficiency without losing our traditional appeal. 100% mechanization is a no-no. But something that would help with the repetitive manual number crunching and data entry tasks would be ideal. We also had to find something that didn’t require specialist IT knowledge. I mean, our elves, bless them, they’re wonderful at toy-making, but technology? Not so much. So we turned to Google and found Macro Scheduler.”
Many of the tasks carried out by the elves are repetitive and time-consuming, taking elves away from the more productive work of producing toys and wrapping presents. “Once a day we have to download the new lists from our incoming server. There’s the naughty list and the good list.” says Jingle, Santa’s Chief Elf, “We need to check for duplicates, then copy and paste each list into our own master list. Of course boys and girls can switch from list to list too, so we need to cross reference. If someone was on the good list but has been naughty we need to find their record, remove it from the good master list and place it on the naughty list. This used to be a manual process, taking around 6 hours a day. With Macro Scheduler we were able to automate the entire process. A macro trigger responds to the lists appearing in the inbox and then reads through the data and cleans our master list automatically. It’s entirely automated. We used to take turns doing this job and you wouldn’t believe how much happier everyone is now that they can make toys instead.”
That task alone is saving over 2000 elf-hours a year. But it’s not just the elf-savings that Santa’s team is benefiting from. Elves are happier too. It also saves a number of embarrassing mistakes. “In the past it was easy to mess up a change in the lists. Some poor kid ends up being put on the naughty list by mistake and he doesn’t get a present. That was a real PR nightmare! Santa would lose his rag too. I mean you didn’t want to be there! Yeh, the elves are much happier now and we’re now more likely to hit our toy-creation performance targets too. Everyone wins”.
Santa and his team are now using Macro Scheduler wherever they can and can see many opportunities to expand its use across their North Pole operations center over the following year.
“We’re really impressed with the product and the support that comes with it. None of our elves were programmers, with only basic IT skills, but they’ve picked up Macro Scheduler quickly. The possibilities are endless and we’re really glad we found it.” says Claus.