Norbert Dentressangle recently held an ‘On Track For London 2012’ conference to highlight the delivery challenges of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and launched a ‘hot spot’ planning tool that helps customers avoid potential issues.
The online tool identifies if a customer’s delivery location might be affected by an event, if it is on the Olympic Route Network (ORN), which comes into force two days before the Games start, or if any restrictions apply. It then provides a proposed alternative date that is clear.
As well as getting an insight into Norbert Dentressangle’s advanced preparations, delegates heard from leading experts Natalie Chapman, Head of Policy for London at the Freight Transport Association, who spoke about understanding the challenges of the Olympics, and Ian Wainwright, Transport for London’s Road Freight Programme Manager, who looked at communication, providing solutions and contigency planning.
The implications of the ORN for the main London events, together with the challenges of the Paralympic Route Network (PRN), were discussed in depth, as well as the impact of the expected 20 million spectator trips during the Games.
Andy Gillespie, Vauxhall Aftersales Logistics and Quality Manager, said: "The conference was an excellent insight and quite thought provoking. It really hit you between the eyes that there is a lot of work to do and we will be working closely with Norbert Dentressangle to make sure we can manage our way effectively through this major event."
With over 80 customers attending, covering a wide range of market sectors from retail and food to manufacturing and automotive, Mike Bridges, Managing Director at Norbert Dentressangle Transport Services, said the large turnout demonstrated how businesses had recognised that early planning was key to mitigating risks and the importance of working together to develop flexible transport solutions.
"It’s not too soon to start planning for both the Olympics and Paralympics," said Bridges. "It is essential to look at delivery operations as soon as possible and we’re providing the tools to ensure we can work with all our customers and be prepared for the challenges ahead. The aim is to provide flexible solutions and manage the cost implications.
"This can range from pre-event deliveries to build up stocks and re-routing to avoid hot-spots, to a temporary switch to night time deliveries. As a responsible transport operator we will also be working with ORN Borough Councils to understand local limitations and residents concerns."
Norbert Dentressangle Transport Services Operations Director, Zac Brown, explained some of the main issues facing customers. He said: "London is a challenging environment at the best of times. When the Olympic Games rolls into town, nearly everyone will be affected by the delivery and transport restrictions of the ORN.
"There will a huge number of daily visitors across London and heightened security, which means the potential disruption to freight movement could be significant. This emphasises the importance of thorough preparation, regular communication and careful planning."
The conference not only looked at issues surrounding deliveries in and around London but the wider implications of events held across the UK and regional hot spots, such as Weymouth, Dorset, which hosts the sailing events and is expected to attract over 50,000 visitors a day.
"Some businesses will need to change the way they operate to meet the logistical challenges," concluded Bridges. "The aim of the conference was to highlight the issues and start working with customers to jointly develop and implement plans to minimise the effects on the supply chain and maintain deliveries by developing solutions to meet the needs of customers."
There was also a look at how sports psychology could be applied to business by Professor Ian Maynard, Director – Centre for Sport and Exercise Science at Sheffield Hallam University, who has worked with the Olympic sailing team. He oultined the importance of preparation, teamwork and leadership, and said that the ‘devil was in the detail’.
At the end of the event a Norbert Dentressangle Customer Olympic Action Plan was distributed to attendees, which detailed key considerations, suggested actions and timelines for completion.