Fresh News Articles
Across all categories in hort, the heat really goes on leading up to, and IN, “the season”. Come the New Year and everyone in kiwifruit and apples will be “all hands to the pump” ensuring their operations are ready and raring to go. Timelines are always tight, production capabilities are always stretched and supply chains need to be suitably prepped ahead of time.
Speaking of “seasons”, ‘tis the season to be jolly, grateful, giving and… suitably prepared’. No more than our main man Santa Claus. This leader of many (aided and abetted by Mrs Claus of course) has a large army of helpers to co-ordinate, an in-house freight forwarding partner (horizontal integration at its finest) to prep and a very fickle customer base who, based solely on their individual behaviour, have one of the broadest product demands you may ever encounter. In fact, the ONLY certainty Santa has to play with is the delivery date. Talk about pressure…
Yet, he has no real NEED to automate any of his production processes. Why?
Labour – He has an on-tap labour source who are committed, seemingly (Cookies and Eggnog?) well-remunerated and believe in the cause whole-heartedly. And, based on pure numbers, he needs a LOT of elves. And he always gets the job done! Whereas, horticulture (in general) competes with so many other industries for manual labour (hospitality, tourism and retail to name a few) that the supply of labour is fickle at best and any ROI based on replacing labour really needs to be judged on the cost of not having the job done at all…
Production Space – Given the endless nothing-ness of the North Pole, Santa (somehow) has space to boot. Notwithstanding global warming, this never-ending production facility (coupled with a long-standing arrangement with outsourced sub-contractors in Eastern Asia) means he never has to re-configure his workshop layout or give thought to a new “greenfield” site for a more efficient operation, reliant on less space and labour (see above). The most fertile of OUR national lands are under extreme pressure from new and existing residential and commercial developments, land is getting more expensive and any “greenfield” site is fraught with red tape, high infrastructural investment and the need for assurance of ongoing supply.
ROI – My 4 year old daughter asked me… “Why?”… “Why does Santa bring us presents daddy?” I have to admit she caught me off guard but the first thing I asked myself was “What’s Santa’s ROI on all this time, effort, cost and stress?” “What’s in it for Santa??”
The fact of the matter is that Santa isn’t running a business. He’s in it solely for the love of the game and I have to assume he’s amassed a huge wealth from product endorsements, song royalties and guest starring roles in movies, cartoons and TV series. Otherwise the numbers simply do not stack up.
As for the rest of us, whether we love what we’re doing (Yay for us!) or not, we DO need to know that it all stacks up financially and that we can continue to do what we love (or not).
So, while Santa has a range of options at his finger-tips to automate his toy-making/wrapping/distributing operation… he has no NEED to. Yet.
Merry Christmas. Stay safe and enjoy what the holiday season brings!