What if Santa was Lean?

No, I’m not fat-shaming Santa Claus and his belly full of jelly! Rather, I was thinking what if Santa ran a lean operation at the North Pole? How would it be run? How would you go about applying Lean thinking to his awesome operation that brings happiness and delight to children all over the world?

  • Who are the customers? Children
  • Value-added? Children happy with their presents on Christmas morning
  • How will Santa do it?
  • He contacts 2Gemba for help and some TLC^2 (Training in Lean and Consulting with Tender Love and Care)
    • Raw Materials, Tools, Assembly Line etc gets sorted wth 5S training for Santa and the Elves
    • Teach Santa and Elves about Value-added vs Waste
    • Santa and Elves work on a Value Stream Map!
    • Elves make and assemble only the toys requested by children
    • Is the Purchase Order the Naughty and Nice list?
    • No Toys Left Over! No children left behind!
    • They have 365 days to make them! What is the Takt Time? A toy every 0.000000076 seconds? Gosh, I’m glad those elves are on the job!
    • Minimize transport by figuring out the most optimal route of delivery
    • Number of Reindeer used to pull the sleigh is balanced!
    • Plus, get Rudolph involved so his talent in lighting up the way doesn’t go unused!
    • Mrs. Santa is happy that Santa gets home safe and on time!
This awesome Santa VSM was created by the wonderful folks at Lean.org https://www.lean.org/LeanPost/Posting.cfm?LeanPostId=517
What if Santa went Lean? (Image Source: unknown, I’d love to give credit if I could find who created this)

I hope you enjoyed the article!


2 Thoughts

  1. How many elves are subpoenaed to work in the “coal factory” and how does that extra weight add to Santa’s sleigh? There are definitely a lot of children on the naughty list every year.

    1. I’m not sure about the subpoenas elves, I’m sure Elves are unionized and underperforming Elves go to work at coal processing. He could also be outsourcing drop-shipping of coal to domestic Goblin unions in each city.

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