As Founder and CEO of the world’s oldest global home delivery service, I have always taken a keen interest in the packaging of Christmas gifts. After all, the magic of a Christmas gift is all in the presentation. I’m sure each and every one of you will remember the excitement of receiving one of my gifts during the best holiday of the year. Remember that wonderful train set, that teddy bear with the twinkle in its eyes? Ah yes, of course you do.

Well, I have to be frank with you. Over the last 25 years, or so, packaging has become quite a monumental and challenging task, requiring more and more elves as the number of presents continues to grow each year.

Ever since the e-commerce boom and the start of emailed ‘letters to Santa,’ it has become increasingly more difficult finding the right-sized boxes for an ever-wider array of gifts. From clothes to toys to home goods to tools, the list is endless, and I’ve checked it twice! However, with all of the different size products, my SKU numbers were going through the roof and I was ordering so many box sizes with nowhere to put them all. The North Pole isn’t as large as you may think.

After reading about fit-to-size automated packaging solutions and how they miraculously make a perfectly sized box around each and every gift at incredible speeds, I decided it was about time to embrace progress. After due deliberation with Mrs. Claus and the elves, I recently invested in this magical auto-boxing technology. These machines use 3D scanning to measure, construct, seal, weigh and label fit-to-size corrugate boxes around single- or multi-item lists. This can be a toy airplane, a rag doll or even something for Mom and Dad. This not only pleases my ‘customers’ – who want presents, not cardboard – but it also reduces our corrugate use by up to 20% and completely eliminates void fill. And that’s a big plus for the environment.

Cutting out waste reduces our costs, and as a ‘not for profit’ service, I need to have rigorous cost control. But the automated packaging solutions also furthers our longstanding green agenda. Of course, there’s a little self-interest here as we certainly don’t want the Polar ice sheets melting any further!

Although I personally visit every home, I contract out a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ to conventional carriers, and I don’t want to pay them to ship fresh air. That’s why fit-to-size parcels has helped us meet our green targets. These smaller, perfectly sized packages have even boosted the Claus’ brand image and the number of parcels that we can carry by sleigh. What’s more, right-sized packaging has really helped me in negotiating ever-narrower chimneys.

Operationally, automated packaging solutions have been so helpful. Some can even make an impressive 1,100 boxes an hour, which even as a seasonal operation, still provides a healthy ROI. It’s just what I needed to confidently meet peak volume. Otherwise, I would have many disappointed children looking into empty stockings and that just wouldn’t do.

Productivity is as important to us as every other enterprise operating in the peak holiday season. A single automated packaging line can replace up to 20 elf packing stations, so I’ve been able to redeploy many of the elves into more value-adding and enjoyable roles, like toy or cookie making. Automated Packaging Solutions have helped us achieve economic and environmental goals while ensuring that Christmas will definitely not be cancelled. I’d like to give a big old’ ‘ho ho’ to that!

Merry Christmas to all and looking forward to the cookies and milk!

Santa Claus and his friends at Packaging by Quadient