If you trade out of, or near, London – or other venue sites such as Weymouth (sailing), Broxbourne in Hertfordshire (canoeing) or Eton Dorney in Buckinghamshire (rowing) – chances are, the Olympics will have an effect on your business. Even if you and your customers experience a sales uplift, the effects might not be entirely positive.
Wholesalers near Games venues need to plan for disruption to deliveries in and out of depot because of road closures, disruption to public transport, overzealous security or even staff taking time off to watch.
LOCOG, the Games’ organiser, has created a free online resource for businesses that may be affected at http://www.london2012.com/business/travel/, and for firms with fewer than 200 employees, it’s running free workshops in 50 locations near Games sites.
There’s also support available for larger multi-site operations. In both cases, there’s still time to sign up (but hurry) at: keeponrunning@london2012.
It’s also well worth visiting the Get Ahead of the Games site on: http://bit.ly/H09qPn. Another excellent resource is Transport for London’s site. It has details of all road closures – easily searchable by postcode – maps of congestion hotspots and a code of practice for night-time deliveries.
The TFL site can be accessed at: www.tfl.gov.uk/2012 and will be updated as and when necessary as the Games draw closer.
And finally, check your insurance policies – are you covered for business interruptions; late or missed deliveries to your customers; and police or fire response times to alarms?
See next month’s issue for more on the Olympics – including the views of wholesalers on how they’ve prepared for disruption and advice on passes and access.
WHOLESALERS INVEST TO KEEP TRADERS RUNNING, FWD TELLS MPS
Road closures or no road closures, thousands of small businesses in London will be relying on wholesalers to supply them, FWD told a parliamentary committee last month.
James Bielby, the Federation’s chief executive, warned the Transport Select Committee that shops, cafes and restaurants on and around the Olympic Road Network (ORN) could face long-term financial difficulties and even closure if they are starved of products to sell.
“Small businesses depend on their wholesaler as their stockroom, especially for fresh and chilled products, and are set up to expect deliveries up to five times a week,” he said. “They do not have the cash flow to survive without goods to sell.” FWD members would ensure that their customers would be supplied through several weeks of road closures, loading restrictions and congestion.”
Wholesalers would also be operating night time delivery schedules to service customers on and near the ORN, meaning extra cost in employing drivers and depot staff, as well as lorries operating at as little as 50% capacity. Cash and carries would extend opening hours, he added.
Bielby also alerted MPs to the concerns of members near the Olympic Park, particularly Essex Flour and Grain, a wholesaler which believes the security restrictions around its premises will put it out of business. “This is a substantial concern for a business in the eye of the storm, which may not still be trading after the Games are over,” he said.