While the UK’s Olympic hopefuls are busy training for 2012, delivery companies are intensively preparing for a record 45 days of disruption to roads around London and other venues.
It is expected that many roads in the capital will be closed to all but emergency vehicles, public transport and official Olympic vehicles from 0600 to 1900 – or even later – creating a major logistical challenge.
Companies which make regular deliveries near official venues now face a race against time to put alternative arrangements into place which will prove to be a winner during the big events.
Disruptions will start in the UK in May when the Olympic torch rally starts its ten-week tour of Britain at Land’s End, swiftly followed by four days of celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee over the first weekend in June.
And that is just the warm-up – more closures are expected throughout the training camp fortnight in July, when the torch procession makes its way through London from 21st to 26th July, during the main Olympics from 27th July to 12th August and then during the Paralympic Games which takes place from 29th August to 9th September, not to mention the Notting Hill Carnival being held as usual in August.
Stuart Miller, Chief Executive and co-founder of ByBox, said: "It is an enormous challenge, even for an innovative company such as ByBox, but one which I believe we will overcome with careful preparation – much like any Olympic athlete.
"In the past we have coped with the Royal wedding, high profile sporting events and exceptional weather from floods to the ‘big freeze’, but never before have we faced so many planned road closures in such a concentrated time.
"With so many of our customers relying on us to get parts to their field teams on time so they can keep vital services running, we will find a way and we are currently drawing up detailed contingency plans
"ByBox is particularly well-placed to find a solution, as we already deliver parcels overnight pre-8am to our network of 1,500 drop boxes and manned handover sites around the UK, ready for the field teams to collect before the start of their day’s work.
"We are looking at options such as doubling the number of vans on selected delivery routes, offering even earlier collection times for field teams and holding more stock for customers who are in the affected areas."
Olympic venues in London stretch from Lee Valley White Water Centre in the north to Wimbledon in the south, and from Wembley in the west to the Royal Artillery Barracks in the east.
Events are also taking place in Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Weymouth and Portland, Eaton Dorney in Buckinghamshire and Hadley Farm in Essex.
Many of ByBox’ customers work to demanding Service Level Agreements with their own customers who expect repairs and maintenance to be carried out promptly and efficiently on equipment ranging from computers to vending machines and from medical equipment to utilities.
Mr Miller added: "Many of our core customers are expecting a boom in business during the Olympics and I am confident that ByBox will help them perform to optimum levels by offering them a top-class support service throughout.
"Our network operates seven days a week, 365 days a year, including Bank Holidays and is completely transparent, reliable and robust and we are therefore in a great position to rise to the Olympic challenge."
ByBox has the advantage of being able to track the whereabouts of customers’ stock at all times through its unique Thinventory™ software platform, making it easy to locate the nearest part for a particular job and move it accordingly. Returns of unused or faulty parts can be made by using the network in reverse.
And ByBox is not just looking to deliver a business solution but is also hoping to capitalise on the growing numbers of internet shoppers who are choosing the convenience of picking up their parcels from a drop box at a time that suits them over the inconvenience of waiting in for a parcel to arrive.
With traditional deliveries facing serious disruption during the summer, ByBox is expecting more internet shoppers to look for alternative methods of delivery that will fit into their lifestyles – and is determined to meet the growing demand.
Mr Miller said: "We believe that many shoppers will think ahead to the likelihood of their parcels being delayed and turn to modern solutions such as myByBox, our consumer offering. After all, life doesn’t stop because of the Olympics.
"Thousands of people will live in areas affected by the road closures and picking up their parcels from a myByBox locker could be just the answer they are looking for."
Founded in 2000, ByBox has grown swiftly to become a £41million turnover company which makes more than 20 million deliveries a year. Customers include Coca-Cola, Ricoh, Siemens and Computacenter.