Logistics firms risk missing Olympic opportunities

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Almost a third (32 per cent) of logistics firms run the risk of not capitalising on the economic opportunity of the Olympics because they are not making basic preparations such as plans to deal with staff absenteeism or adapting their delivery schedules, according to research from BT.

The study surveyed 1,200 organisations of varying sizes across both private and public sectors and found that two thirds of logistics firms expect to benefit from the Olympics.

Three out of ten logistics firms do not expect benefits to their bottom line. BT said this suggested a cautious view within some parts of the sector, with competitive pressures and fuel costs balancing the opportunities associated with increased demand. Nearly half (45 per cent) of logistics firms surveyed expect new international business opportunities both during and after the games.

While the predicted million extra visitors is a major opportunity for logistics operators to play their part in meeting increased consumer demand, the majority (82 per cent) do have concerns about negative knock-on effects. Issues like unpredictable dips or surges in demand, staff attendance and employee productivity are among the top concerns.

Despite this, 64 per cent of logistics firms are not making provisions for higher than normal levels of call centre volumes as a knock-on effect of increased demand. Only a quarter (25 per cent) will hire more temporary staff to cover expected absentees. On the more positive side, 45 per cent of logistics firms plan to increase flexible working practices, such as remote working (73 per cent) and web conferencing (43 per cent).

Emer Timmons, president of BT Global Services UK, said: “There’s still time to get plans in place, but with less than seven months to go, we do urge all organisations to begin preparations now or miss out on the economic benefits.”

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