It's early Sunday morning, and today is the end of daylight saving time, which gives me one hour extra time to blog while the wife gets a well-deserved extra hour of sleep. Sipping my coffee and browsing the Internet for anything supply chain risk, I came across an article in the British newspaper The Telegraph, which said that Britain could miss out on the full economic benefits of hosting the 2012 Olympics because companies are not prepared for the Games and have mixed views about its impact.To me, more interesting than the disbelief in business opportunities, though, was the disbelief in any impact on their supply chain from the Olympics.
A new Deloitte report found that over two thirds of companies in the UK expect no impact on their operations from the Olympics. Rick Cudworth, head of business continuity and resilience at Deloitte, said: "Many of these businesses need a wake-up call. They operate in service industries where people are vital, where the supply chain is time critical, where having products on the shelf or food to serve in restaurants is essential to their daily business. Thinking through the impacts that an Olympic-scale event could have on logistics, the supply of goods and the movement of staff is essential."
Scaremongering? Perhaps. I was living and working in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and while for a large portion of the city it appeared to be business as usual, for other parts the the impacts were severe, particularly because of the beefed-up security so shortly after 9/11. And there probably won't be any less security this time around. Security restrictions and cordoned-off areas leaving businesses stranded aside, supply chain logistics challenges will have many managers scratching their heads in 2012. I do believe that much.
In the Deloitte survey, although only half of businesses said they expect an increase in demand, 20pc expected a strong increase. Also, a quarter of the 200 large companies surveyed – which employ more than 500 people – have appointed an individual or group to assess the potential opportunities and disruptions from the Games.
Is Britain still unprepared? After all, they do have a Civil Contingencies Act and the BS 25999 Business Continuity Standard, something many countries still lack. They have the tools, but are they simply oblivious to their value in securing business operations?
Nigel Bourne, the CBI's London director, warned there needs to be an "education" with businesses about how to financially benefit from the Games and prepare for potential disruption. He said that demand on London's transport network during the six-week period that the Olympics and Paralympics are held will be "far greater than anything we have seen".
I was in London two months ago, and even on a normal weekday the strain on the transport system seemed to be quite heavy. That said, it all went very smoothly, even in the midst of strikes over staff cutbacks.That was a one-day event, but the Olympics will run for weeks on end.
The London Olympics are still 18 months away, enough time for planning ahead, and for considering the negatives and the positives of such an event. Am I scaremongering? Hopefully not.