Winning the logistics race this Summer
Jul 25, 2012
By Mike McCreesh, Office Depot's Procurement and Supply Chain Director for the UK and Ireland.
Sourcing a practical delivery solution for businesses throughout London during the Olympic period can be challenging and requires a great amount of planning in order to ensure it's 'business as usual'.
With around 11.5 million additional people expected to travel into London between July 27th and September 14th 2012 and 3 million extra journeys expected to take place on the peak day of the games period, suppliers and distribution networks would be foolish not to prepare contingency plans in anticipation of the games.
There is no reason to suggest, however, that business cannot continue as normal if due diligence has been carried out during planning and preparation.
A number of distribution hurdles need to be overcome when planning for the Olympics, specifically around delivery routes and times. Much information has been published that states there will be restricted vehicle movement in central London due to 'games lanes', rolling road closures and increased security, as well as specific times for deliveries within the Olympic Route Network.
Looking at the wider picture, however, these enforcements will affect only a small proportion of London businesses as 70 per cent of London's roads will be unaffected by traffic associated with the Olympics. In fact, the Olympic Route Network covers just thirty per cent of the entire London road network with games lanes covering only one per cent.
Suppliers and distribution networks, therefore, need to work closely with those customers within the affected areas to establish a sustainable delivery plan from the outset.
At Office Depot, planning for the Olympics has been on the agenda for the past 12 months and we have worked to ensure many areas of the business customer services, account management, eCommerce, marketing and communication teams share a close working relationship to ensure the smooth flow of information to our customers.
Communication is fundamental in order to work out viable delivery solutions and advice should be given to customers in order to influence ordering patterns over the Olympic period. By pre-ordering before the Olympic and Paralympic events, deliveries can be consolidated and managed so not to coincide with the events and consequently, the route networks. The time in-between can also be successfully used to replenish stock.
For any customers where this is not an option and delivery time enforcements mean that deliveries cannot be made from 06:00 to midnight, early morning deliveries can be arranged.
As it should be for many companies, Office Depot will be 'business as usual' throughout the Olympic period. Yes, there are certain challenges that have required practical solutions to manage the supply chain, but the only service we will not be offering during the Olympic and Paralympic Games is same day delivery.
The solutions Office Depot has in place are:
- Night time deliveries - we already deliver into central London at night so we will expand this offering during the Olympics. All customers on the Olympic / Paralympic Route Networks and a selection of larger customers who can accommodate overnight deliveries will be offered this solution.
- Cargo Cyles - our Cargo Cycles currently deliver within central London. We will be expanding their delivery range to include W1F, W1S, E1 and SE1 postcodes.
- Double-manned vehicles - we will have a driver and a mate in areas where severe parking restrictions are in force, mainly around the Olympic venues. This means one person can make deliveries whilst the other stays with the vehicle.
- Consolidated deliveries before and after the games.
As well as these initiatives, our Transport team has developed an information pack for drivers in the affected areas to ensure they understand the restrictions and know how to overcome them. Information will also be posted on the twitter page of our SME focused brand, Viking (@Viking_chat ) with live updates to keep momentum on communication during the lead up to and throughout the games.
Our aim is to remain transparent to our customers and try as much as possible to be proactive to their needs throughout what is one of the largest logistical events in Britain. Without this necessary preparation, our business and other businesses alike, would suffer.