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UPS is gearing up for the Olympics


16 January 2012

New trucks and trailers have been purchased a year early by London 2012 logistics company UPS to cope with additional workload for the Olympic Games.

Alan Williams, UPS director of 2012 operations, said while some of the required vehicles could be taken from the main fleet, they needed to increase the number of new vehicles purchased ahead of schedule.

“Each year we buy a lot of new equipment, trucks and trailers and other vehicles,” said Williams. “So we brought forward our 2013 requirements so that I can use them for the games and then return them [to other parts of UPS] post games for day-to-day operations.”

The new vehicles will be used by Williams to carry out “the biggest logistics event in the world”, transporting 30 million items, including one million pieces of sports equipment between warehouses and host venues.

“If you get a venue or a stadium and turn it upside down everything that falls out of it – apart from the people and horses – is what we manage and store. It could be boxing rings, table tennis balls, bicycles or computers.”

In order to plan and manage the project, Williams and his team have worked closely with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

Among the many areas where they have teamed up is the transportation of medals.

“When we transport medals about, it’s done in a fashion LOCOG is happy with. Prestige-wise they’re huge and very symbolic. So we work very closely with our own internal security but also with LOCOG security,” he said in an interview with Fm World’s sister publication Supply Management.

In order to prepare for the event, UPS has been running emergency scenarios, such as how to cope if volcanic ash were to hit during the games.

Williams said UPS was busy supplying material for a number of test events during the time of the London riots, so the logistics company has built up strong continuity plans.

“It’s vital to brace for any potential things that could go wrong. You’ve got to look at it street by street, postcode by postcode, and plan sooner rather than later.”

(This report first appeared in Supply Management, the magazine for the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and a sister publication to FM World)

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