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      Science of Santa: how gifts make their way around the globe

      It's being called the "science of Santa" -- the almost magical Christmas shopping experience. You click a mouse, and in a matter of days, what you were viewing on a computer screen is now on your door step.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The Christmas season has the global economy in full swing, with last minute gifts from around the world arriving at their destinations.

      It's being called the "science of Santa" -- the almost magical Christmas shopping experience. You click a mouse, and in a matter of days, what you were viewing on a computer screen is now on your door step. Clemson University professor Scott Mason says it's all part of the supply chain.

      "The supply chain is the collection of companies and people and goods and services that get the right stuff to the right place at the right time," says Dr. Mason, Professor & Fluor Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Optimization & Logistics at Clemson University. "So in terms of the science of Santa, it's, 'I want a new iPod for my daughter. I want to go online, find out what the cheapest price may be, I wish to order it, and even though Apple may have made it somewhere else, and they may store it in a different country, I want it in my door step in two days because I want it.'"

      Just as magically as Santa's gifts appeared beneath the tree when you were a kid, the supply of products, many of which are Christmas gifts this time of year, flows with incredible efficiency.

      A large number of the processes those global products go through happens right in South Carolina.

      "South Carolina is in a fantastic position when you think about Amazon's fulfillment center here close to Columbia; Target has a distribution center here; Wal-Mart has a distribution center right up the road in Laurens; QVC; Continental Tire," says Mason. "There is much industry coming to our state to take advantage of the fantastic work force, our climate, and the transportation and logistics capabilities -- whether it's the Port of Charleston where boats can bring in their goods, our fantastic highway system, our rail system, our cargo airports -- all of the different modes of transportation we use to move these goods. Companies are coming to our state."

      With South Carolina's large industry of imports and exports, the supply chain often starts and stops right here. Add the holidays, and that means big money for South Carolina.

      So if you're running to get that last minute gift at Wal-Mart, and you think you're not buying local, in South Carolina, you just might be.