Preparation does not need be a full-time pursuit

Q&A: London 2012 TIME TO GET READY

Q. We run a small company and do not officially have a specific person or department who is looking after the logistics of the business during the Games. Where should we start? And is there help available? I want us to be prepared, but do not have the capacity to allow someone to devote their attention to this full-time.

A. It is not necessary for a small business to employ a specialist or dedicated logistics member of staff to manage deliveries during the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year. There is help and advice for businesses available online and there are a number of simple measures companies can adopt to ensure that delivery and servicing activity runs smoothly in the run up to, and during, the Games. As a first port of call and for more information on deliveries during the Games, see: www.tfl.gov.uk/freight.

As a priority, businesses should speak to their suppliers well in advance of the Games in order to allow plenty of time to plan and prepare themselves. Make your suppliers aware of your needs during the Games and discuss any changes to both yours and your supplier’s normal operations. Work with them to develop solutions to any issues you think you may face and ensure you’re in the best position to maximise the opportunities the Games will bring.

New data has been released recently to help freight companies manage the deliveries they make and plan the routes they use during the 2012 Games. Companies can use the data to check whether individual postcodes in the capital will be affected by the Olympic Route Network (ORN), Central London Zone (CLZ) or road events. By entering the data into their routing software, companies are able to highlight the postcodes that contain both the ORN, for example, and one or more of their delivery locations. This will allow them to produce a list of both clients and locations that will be impacted. The information is available online at www.tfl.gov.uk/developers.

It is important to consider the supplies you require during the Games period and whether demand for supplies is likely to change. Many businesses are planning to stockpile non-perishable goods during the Games. For businesses with limited storage space, it may be possible to work collaboratively with neighbouring businesses.

Make sure you are fully aware of what deliveries you currently receive. Keep a diary of deliveries during a one month period, or review your invoices for the summer period. This information will help you to plan in advance for the Games and then develop an action plan to minimise disruption to keep your business on track.

Consider changing your delivery and collection slots to avoid peak days and times and make use of out-of-hours deliveries, where possible. Your suppliers might be able to avoid disruption by using a different route to reach you. Ensure they are aware of any changes to the road network in your area and, if necessary, work together to identify different delivery points and alternative loading and unloading locations. It may be possible for your supplier to use a smaller vehicle, deliver to a different location or walk or cycle smaller deliveries the last part of the journey.

Free workshops are available for organisations with less than 200 employees based in areas set to be most impacted by the London 2012 Games. To register your interest in attending a workshop email keeponrunning@ London2012.com.

For more advice, please visit the London 2012 Travel Advice for Business website (www.london2012/ traveladviceforbusiness.com). It offers a wealth of information and businesses can sign up for regular updates to help prepare for the Games.