Subject: Reengineering Christmas
The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the
early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern
about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring
decisions at the North Pole.
Streamlining is due to the North Pole's loss of dominance of the season's
gift distribution business. Home shopping channels and mail order
catalogues have diminished Santa's market share. He could not sit idly by
and permit further erosion of the profit picture.
The reindeer downsizing was made possible through the purchase of a late
model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip. Improved productivity from
Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is
anticipated. Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne
environmental emissions for which the North Pole has received unfavorable
I am pleased to inform you that Rudolph's role will not be disturbed.
Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole. Management
denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that
Rudolph's nose got that way, not from the cold, but from substance abuse.
Calling Rudolph "a lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his
share of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's
helpers and taken out of context at a time of year when he is known to be
under executive stress.
As a further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North
Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective
immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the
"Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary:
- The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never
turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a
plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance.
- The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply
not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could
not be condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated.
- The three French hens will remain intact. After all,
everyone loves the French.
- The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice
mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to
determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they
- The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board
of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have
negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into
other precious metals as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology
stocks appear to be in order.
- The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no
longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one
egg per goose per day is an example of the decline in productivity. Three
geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by
Personnel will assure management that from now on every goose it gets will
be a good one.
- The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in
better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are
on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes
and therefore enhance their outplacement.
- As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been
under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce
is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with
no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try
a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching.
- Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This
function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no
longer do the steps.
- Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords
plus the expense of international air travel prompted the Compensation
Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work
congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the
savings are significant because we expect an oversupply of unemployed
congressmen this year.
- Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a
simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string
quartet, a cutback on new music and no uniforms will produce savings which
will drop right down to the bottom line.
We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals
and other expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching
deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one
day, service levels will be improved.
Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking
expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing"),
action is pending.
Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary
in the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, the Board will
request management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven
dwarfs is the right number.
Note: I'm not the author, these tidbits were all forwarded to me via
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The From: header may be the author, or it may just be the person who
forwarded it to me.
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