May 17, 2020

Olympian Appetites

Supply Chain Digital
London 2012
Freddie Pierce
3 min
Phelps scarfs 12,000 calories a day during training
What does it take to make the Olympic Village tick? To keep the multitudes of athletes – 16,000 representing 200 countries to be exact – ha...

What does it take to make the Olympic Village tick? To keep the multitudes of athletes – 16,000 representing 200 countries to be exact – happy, healthy, toned and ready to perform at their peak?

Delivering the goods on time and making sure everything runs smoothly is no small feat, a champion event in and of itself, and worthy of Supply Chain Digital’s attention. Here, we delve deeper into the netherworld of the Village.

Running with the Big Dogs                                

The intricacies of the supply chain procuring materials for the Games comprise a ripe opportunity for contributors to gain recognition, increased exposure and in short, the opportunity to forge a long-lasting, successful business endeavor.

“Virtually every UK manufacturing sector has a major opportunity to advertise its products,” a column released by VEGA proclaimed. Food and beverage merchants, makers of athletic clothing and health products, and pharmaceutical distributors, to name a few, will be given the chance to flex a little muscle as well, given they’re up to the task.

Logistical challenges will abound, including the exacting demands of the organizing committee which have been likened in past years to a diva’s backstage demands. Suppliers better be on point.

Often, past host cities’ sole endeavor was to paint a happy picture for the masses, and be able to collapse with an exhausted sigh of relief at the resolution of the madness. This time is different, though, as London’s bid placed a particular emphasis on the calculated, deftly allocated management of available resources.

The International Olympic Committee chose the site with the specific intent that the Games would leave behind a legacy of sporting, with a resounding effect on the economy for generations to come.

UPS Logistics Prepares to Meet the Challenges of London 2012

Primed and Ready for Action

While we all know the immense amount of grub, not to mention fancy electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks, needed to keep these thousands of studs and lithe beauties in tip top shape before their explosive expenditure of energy, some of the supplies needed to keep everyone happy are not what you’d expect.

Known to be a hotspot of budding international camaraderie, the Olympic Village at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver saw 100,000 condoms provided – roughly 14 per person per day (!!) – yet demand called for back-ups.

Apparently, distributors had failed to take into account the somewhat fearsome amount of stamina these young athletes train their bodies to achieve. This year the organizing committee will up the ante by distributing 150,000 condoms.

To match their voracious appetites for fun, Olympians need to take in a phenomenal amount of food to keep their bodies running at maximum capacity. Gold medalist Michael Phelps has admitted to taking in a whopping 12,000 calories a day to fuel his 8-hour-a-day workouts.

Dubbed the “largest peace-time catering operation in the world” over 14 million meals at the Village will be made up of 25,000 loaves of bread, 100 tons of meat, 232 tons of potatoes, 330 tons of produce, and 19 tons of eggs.

That Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

After the start guns are exhausted, the podiums have been mounted and the celebratory drinks guzzled, an undeniable fact remains: everyone involved in the logistics of the 2012 Olympic Games will have made an invaluable contribution.

Viewers know the athletes participate in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but everyone involved in the behind-the-scenes work do as well. And the Games would not be possible without them. 

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Jun 16, 2021

EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs

3 min
Supply chains embroiled in Airbus-Boeing dispute will no longer be impacted by $11.5bn tariffs imposed on food and beverage, aircraft and tobacco

The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years. 

It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC. 

The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn. 

In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products. 

Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers  

  • The dispute began in 2004
  • Tariffs suspended for 5 years 
  • $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
  • $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date 
  • 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended

Both sides welcome end to tariffs 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.

“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.

Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”. 

The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."

This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.

Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”

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