Ask an Expert: Ted Farris

Written by: 
Adrienne Nettles

The holidays are an exciting time of year, but only with careful planning will your gifts reach your loved ones on time. So, how does Santa accomplish such a momentous task in just one night?
Ted Farris, professor of marketing and logistics, is absolutely certain it is possible — if Santa follows the fundamental principles of logistics.
“By traveling from east to west, the lovable Saint Nick adds three hours to his schedule to take care of the 57 million children in the world who celebrate Christmas,” says Farris, who joined UNT in 1997 as its first logistics professor and has helped transform the program into one of the Top 25 in the nation.
“In Dallas-Fort Worth alone, Santa spends just 12 minutes to visit more than 400,000 children, delivering more than 2 million pounds of gifts — enough to fill 1,800 railcars.”
Farris offers these tips to make your shopping and present deliveries as successful as Santa’s:
Planning ahead

  • Make a list for both the naughty and nice. Check it twice.
  • Map out an efficient route for shopping to save time and effort. For example, avoid taking left-hand turns on your drive route like UPS, which engineers its delivery routes to be as time-efficient as possible.
  • Keep yourself energized by planning shopping breaks for milk and cookies (or your favorite cappuccino and biscotti).

Help from elves

  • Use third parties to help handle the heavy lifting.
  • Don’t run around shopping when you can order gifts from the comfort of your computer. Internet shopping also saves gas and effort as long as you allow for delivery times.

Shopping smart

  • Do your homework. Half of consumers buying gifts in a bricks-and-mortar store previously have researched the items online. Ironically, half of consumers buying online started by going to a bricks-and-mortar store.