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Case study: Seasonal toy manufacturer and distributor

Ebit worked with a large non-profit manufacturer and distributor, headquartered in the North Pole, with global operations and incredibly strict deadlines. As the client’s location is Top Secret, Ebit worked remotely to deliver substantial cost savings, increase efficiencies and add value.

The client’s business model is unique, with year-round manufacturing and distribution via one highly specialist multi-species courier team taking place during one 24-hour period. Fuelled by carrots and mince pies, the courier team delivers to all 195 countries around the world, a huge logistical challenge.

Ebit worked on numerous indirect spend categories, including Logistics, Facilities Management, IT & Telecoms, Marketing and more. It was agreed that Utilities was out of scope as all operations are powered by Magic.

Logistics

One of the largest spend categories for Ebit’s client in the North Pole was Logistics, due to the highly complex nature of the global operation. Some of the projects we worked on are highlighted below:

Inbound freight

When Ebit started working with the client, suppliers delivered raw materials by ship to the ice’s edge, which were then transported by the Elvish workforce by husky sleigh to the Top Secret factory location. The lack of phone signal in the North Pole meant that elves were often unaware of delays, having to camp out in home-built igloos until the ship was able to dock. Ebit was confident that this time-consuming, resource-heavy task could be made more efficient. By implementing satellite technology and improving real-time visibility of SKUs and smart analytics, key stakeholders including Frosty the Snowman (Operations Director), Rudolf (Head of Logistics) and Father Christmas (CEO) all now have clear visibility of the supply chain and can dedicate resource more accurately. This resulted in increased productivity as well as an improvement in elf morale.

Fuel cards

Ebit introduced pop-up carrot fuel stations in partnership with retailers who happened to be closed on the annual day of distribution. Ebit successfully negotiated with food retailers to donate carrot fuel for free, as otherwise it would have gone to waste. This project resulted in a 100% cost reduction and contributed to our client’s ESG goals.

Elf post

Our client receives millions of letters per year, all written in different languages. Previously, elves used an outdated system of manually translating each letter individually into Elvish. After Ebit introduced automated translation and sorting software, efficiency improved and significant resource saved, which could then be reallocated elsewhere.

Facilities Management

The majority of the year, Ebit’s client in the North Pole focuses on manufacturing and production of toys, meaning that Facilities Management was a high priority spend category. We worked on numerous FM projects to deliver significant improvements in productivity, efficiency and employee welfare.

Lighting

Infrastructure in the North Pole is limited with no natural light at all during the Winter months. Before Ebit’s involvement, the client was reliant on expensive, inefficient oil lamps which did not comply with modern fire regulations. Ebit implemented full LED lighting in the factory and warehouse, having sourced a specialist supplier who adapted the lighting system to work on Magic rather than electricity. Lighting was customised to reflect brand colours of red, green, and sparkly white. Long term, this project significantly reduced running costs as well as the client’s carbon footprint, contributing to the client’s ESG goals.

Security

Whilst the client’s HQ is Top Secret and therefore there is very limited security risk from outsiders, Mr. Grinch (Head of Security) had recently reported numerous attempts to hijack operations with pranks that, quite frankly, had got out of hand. When the packing team realised that product had been swapped for bags of coal, Mr. Grinch decided it was time to invest in heightened security measures. Ebit supported with the procurement of a state-of-the-art CCTV system which caught the perpetrator in the act – Elf on the Shelf didn’t realise the impact of his actions and has been appropriately reprimanded.

Catering

With thousands of shift workers working on-site 24 hours a day, the staff canteen was always busy. Senior management asked Ebit to review catering as the workforce was being affected by high levels of sugar which was impacting productivity and resulting in higher-than-average sick days being taken. Ebit engaged an expert catering supplier to advise on appropriate menu options to provide a nutritionally balanced diet, making sure to factor in stakeholder concerns. The new menu of a turkey roast with all the trimmings provides a variety of vitamins, minerals and plenty of protein for stamina and energy. Dessert options now include a choice of mince pies with brandy butter, steamed brandy fruit pudding, or cookies with milk. The elves are happy; senior management has seen a boost in productivity, and costs have been reduced by switching to a new catering supplier.

IT & Technology

IT was a complex spend category for our client in the North Pole. Nothing was automated and senior management recognised that it was time to upgrade to a more modern way of working.

Custom database

At the request of the CEO, Father Christmas, Ebit sourced a specialist software developer to create a custom-built ‘Naughty & Nice’ database. This piece of work had traditionally been a manual process, but modernising operations was part of the client’s 2021 strategy.

Communications

Ebit also tendered a walkie-talkie contract to replace broken and unreliable sets. A key stakeholder, Frosty the Snowman (Head of Operations), was pleased to hear that the new contract would provide upgraded models with integrated hands-free headsets and extended warranties at lower cost than the original contract. Ebit was able to use the high volume of units required as leverage when negotiating with the supplier. Elf productivity and efficiency was improved and time spent repairing broken models was drastically reduced.

Supplier contract management

Ebit also provided its Contract Management System free of charge to help the client stay on top of its supplier contracts. Programmed jingle-bell alerts chime before a contract is due for renewal and a flashing red reindeer nose highlights areas of risk in the business. The client can now store, analyse and report on supplier contracts, gaining total governance and increased contract compliance.

Client testimonial

With significant cost savings delivered, a substantial increase in elf efficiency, and sustainability goals not only met, but exceeded, the client was very pleased with the work Ebit delivered.

“Ebit’s procurement services have freed up enough funding to allow my team to gift extra candy canes to every ho- ho- home! Rudolph, Head of Logistics, is particularly pleased with the increase in carrot fuel stations, and Frosty the Snowman, Head of Operations, says that Elf morale and productivity is at an all-time high. Time for an eggnog and a mince pie or three to celebrate!”  

– Father Christmas, CEO

Case study: Non-profit seasonal toy manufacturer and distributor. Geographically challenging location, global time sensitive operations, logistics, FM, IT, marketing and more. Substantial cost savings and efficiencies delivered.

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