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How The Largest Logistical Operation In History Meets Unprecedented Demand With A Top-Flight Executive Assistant

Even during his summer slowdown, CEO Kris has a workload that would turn the most efficient exec into a Scrooge.

During his peak season, though, he’s responsible for online sales over $200B. Throw in retail stores, and the fact that Kris’ specialty toys are on trend to be a top seller this year, and you can see how the logistics would make anyone’s head spin.

Kris runs the longest-standing manufacturing and distribution organization in the world, with a completely unique supply chain system that reaches into nearly every home. A multinational company of this magnitude faces significant challenges, and Kris knows each of them.

  1. Customer database in the billions? Check.
  2. Hard manufacturing and delivery deadlines? Check.
  3. Large numbers of staff functioning in both management and production? Check.
  4. Remote location with limited hiring pool? Check.

As Kris’ customer base grew and he struggled to adapt to changing times, he reached a point where it was time to make a shift. An executive assistant to help with the management of his complicated organization would make end-of-year activities much less stressful.

But where to find one near his isolated manufacturing facility? That’s where our virtual assistants came in and literally saved the day.

How A Virtual Assistant Can Help The World Go ‘Round

We sat down with Kris over milk and cookies and asked him to explain how a remote executive assistant was able to make the difference in his operation.

“Everyone has heard of us, but so few realize what we go through every year,” Kris said. “Every few years we have to overhaul our production facilities to adjust for new trends. Our customer base is constantly changing and frankly, we were overwhelmed.”

Kris also detailed how a new AI system they’d installed earlier hadn’t proven entirely reliable, causing confusion between naughty and nice. This created supply chain challenges which had the potential to damage his reputation in the lead-up to the busy season.

Add to that the remote location and inability to find workers in a tight labor market, and Kris knew they were reaching a breaking point.

“I knew I needed a better solution,” he said, and he was right. He needed a remote executive assistant, fast.

To clarify what he needed, Kris created a list of what he was looking for in his ideal virtual assistant. Wanting to get a jump start on the months ahead without critical missteps, he checked the list twice to be sure.

  • Able to work remotely due to a geographically limited labor pool
  • Customer service excellence on various platforms
  • Familiarity and skill in using AI to help with increasingly complex logistics
  • Capable of handling a broad slate of administrative tasks, including data entry, marketing, communication management, and project management
  • Travel and event planning
  • Customer list management
  • Multilingual capabilities
  • Good personality and culture fit

This list went beyond typical admin duties and required a virtual assistant who could take a complicated system and see that it ran efficiently.

“The administrative side was more than our workers could handle at this point,” Kris explained. “They were really coming up short.”

Baking. Toy-making. Global communications. Exotic livestock management. Rooftop repair. Weather ops. Flight regulations. Glitter acquisition. There were responsibilities from every direction, and so much was being handled manually as it had been for centuries. For example, two bright red ledgers full of customer names, followed by their lists of requested products, were being used instead of a digital database.

“My wife has helped me for years, but it’s not as easy to keep up with the fast pace of everything,” Kris said, admitting that while he knew the manual approach was slowing him down, he wasn’t sure where to even start updating things. His experimental foray into AI hadn’t gone well because he admitted he hadn’t had time to master the skills to use AI.

He pointed out the unique nature of his customers, noting that the lists were constantly changing based on whatever new toy or Minecraft expansion hit the shelves that day. “Our customers contact us through a variety of channels—mail, text, social media—and are constantly updating their list of requests. We have to match those with criteria to determine who will get what’s on their list, and accurately enter that data so our delivery schedule stays on track.”

Knowing he needed help, Kris turned to Boldly.

When A Virtual Assistant Helps You Find Your True North

One of the first things Kris did when he contacted Boldly was to give us an overview of his organization’s work style so we could find the perfect virtual assistant who was both skilled, experienced, and a good match for the workplace culture.

Culture fit was almost as important as anything.

“We’re a jolly place to work,” he said. “Lots of happy souls, with a high sugar tolerance and the ability to spread hope and joy 24/7. I need a virtual assistant who understands that and reflects our brand to my customers.”

It’s one of the reasons he came to Boldly. He had heard that our team strongly believes in being caring and kind, and that most of all we want to see our clients and their customers happy.

After listening to Kris describe what he needed, we connected him with Holly, an executive assistant who was a perfect match in both skillset and work style. Having worked with other multinationals, she had exactly the expertise Kris needed. She quickly grasped the situation, taking a birds-eye-view of the organization and spotting the bottlenecks that were slowing the team down.

“I can’t imagine life without Holly,” Kris said. “I absolutely trust her. She immediately began streamlining how we did things. With the advent of our new Slack channel, billions of lists pour in from kids all around the world in one place. It’s so much more manageable than all the channels we’d used before!”

Using her past HR experience, Holly came up with an employee handbook. She also revamped the process for qualifying customers to determine which list they would end up on, cleaning up the errors made by AI. In fact, what she brought to the organization extended far beyond the needs of the year-end busy season.

Still, even the fluctuations in needed hours was manageable to Kris’ bottom line because of the Boldly subscription staffing model.

Revealed: Kris Kringle’s Productivity Secret

Kris pointed out that subscription staffing had helped immensely, since the seasonality of the organization meant that the hours he’d need his executive assistant would vary from month to month. He could adjust his subscription fee to match the hours he needed from Holly throughout the year, instead of being locked into a contract.

“The fractional executive assistant model is a game changer,” Kris said.

Plus, he didn’t have to worry about any typical new-hire concerns since Holly was our employee. With an already large staff and extensive benefits that included on-site gingerbread house residency and unlimited snacks, he was relieved that he could access top-level talent through a subscription without having to go through hiring another employee.

“Our super-secret manufacturing location makes hiring difficult,” he admitted. “It takes a long time and I wanted to avoid all of that, especially with December approaching so quickly.”

While you may not face the same limitations and infinite growth that Kris Kringle has, every business of every size can benefit from an executive assistant. And, because of subscription staffing, your budget can easily afford access to the best talent available. Whether you have billions of customers or a bit less, one conversation with us can elf-evate your hiring and help you sleigh the future.

About the author Sandra Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Boldly. She's passionate about helping Businesses, Organizations and Executives increase productivity and move their work forward with the right skills and resources. Setting an example of the efficiencies gained working remotely, she’s been leading her entire team on a virtual basis for the past decade.

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