Handle with Care: 2012 London Olympics
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The Olympics attract millions of people from all over the world, crowding streets, cluttering train stations and creating all sorts of trafficking problems at airports.
The next stop on the Games carrousel is London in 2012, with 5.3 million tourists projected to flood the UK’s capital next summer. This will undoubtedly create transportation and logistics problems in and around the city, but remarkably, the area’s businesses are reportedly not gearing up for the increase in traffic.
THE LONDON GAMES PREVIEW
Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, warned that “businesses are going to have to wake up to the fact that London is going to be a different place (during the Olympics).
“We need to make sure business can show its best face to the world and we don’t want transport clouding that,” Stanbridge added.
London does have one thing working for them, however. Unlike a natural disaster, businesses have the ability to plan ahead for the Olympics, and should be able to accurately predict the rises and falls in demand.
“We’ve seen a couple events that have really been unpredictable with the [Chilean] ash cloud and the [Japanese] tsunami,” Oracle Supply Chain Business Development Director Andrew Spence said. “The Olympic Games is not about being reactive, it’s about being proactive.
“We know exactly where it’s going to happen. We know exactly how many people are going to be there. We know when it is; if people just use the information that’s at hand, this shouldn’t be that big of a problem.”
A typical supply chain scales up and down to meet the market’s needs, but the Olympics will create such a stress on London’s supply chain that it will not be about how quickly a supply chain flexes.
OLYMPIC ARCHITECTURE TAKES SHAPE
“This isn’t about speed at all,” Spence explains. “It’s about predicting accurately what the volume you will need in a way that’s planned and controlled, and that way you’ll be able to make the best of the opportunity that you’ve got.”
A recent survey by Deloitte could prove otherwise. The study showed that more than two-thirds of large companies in the UK believe the Olympics will have a minimal impact on their ability to operate normally.
That can’t be the case if businesses expect to benefit from the games, according to Spence.
“This is an opportunity for everybody, and if we plan ahead, it will be very good for UK business,” Spence said. “As a country, we need to find out what the supply chain impact will be so we can grasp this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.