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How Santa Keeps His Toy Shop Lean

How does Santa Clause optimize his toy-making processes?Think you’ve got a tough time helping your company manage hundreds, maybe even thousands of quality improvement projects?

Well, try being Santa Claus. With billions of children wanting just as many different types of toys for Christmas, process optimization is Santa’s key to success. Yes, even Santa’s toy workshop regularly undergoes a little Lean Six Sigma revamping!

How does Santa do it?

Besides all of the help he receives from his team of quality engineer elves, Santa implemented Companion by Minitab to help him manage all of his improvement projects in one project file.

“Companion helps our many Lean Six Sigma elves complete their projects more efficiently,” says Bernie Holly, Santa’s Lead Quality Elf Engineer. “This year is set to be our most productive toy-making season ever.”

With Companion, elves don’t have their projects spread across many databases and in different file formats. Instead, the entire quality improvement project can be executed in one application. Elves don’t need to waste time entering redundant data on project forms because all of Companion’s custom data forms link up and communicate when changes are made or data is added.

With this extra time, Holly says Santa’s elves were able to focus on the projects themselves. They were able to completely eliminate defects on the baby doll lines, and elves that learned to boost the speed of the bicycle-making lines were also able to decrease the time it takes to make toy trains by 40%.

Using Companion gave Santa a little extra time, too. He was able to meet a record number of children this year, and he spent more quality time adjusting (and re-adjusting!) his naughty or nice list.

Holly says the elves usually work right up to the last minute on Christmas Eve to make sure all the toys are made for Santa’s journey across the globe.

“This year Santa projects us to finish all the toys by Dec. 23rd, and that’s all because Companion helped us quickly and successfully complete our quality improvement initiatives,” he says.

Santa's favorite Companion features:

Process Mapping
The elf quality engineers used Companion to create process maps that helped them understand and communicate all the activities in their toy making processes.
Current State Process Map


Idea Mapping
Brainstorming tools, like the Fishbone, allowed the elves to easily record potential causes for problems in their processes and keep this information within the project file for quick reference.
4S - Fishbone

Project Prioritization Matrix
The Project Prioritization Matrix helped Santa evaluate potential projects and select ones likely to have the greatest impact in improving child satisfaction.

Project Prioritization Matrix

What’s the next quality improvement endeavor for Santa’s Lean Six Sigma team?

“To prepare for next year, we’ll be using Companion Process Mapping to help us streamline Santa’s route on Christmas Eve,” says Holly.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Minitab!

  
 

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