Love them or loathe them the London Olympics are set to have an impact on everything we do this summer and with just over three months to go until “London 2012” the impact on business is beginning to become clear.

UK parcel delivery companies are already preparing to cope with traffic flow issues across the London road network. Many of the big name delivery companies are thought to be considering surcharges during July and August to help cover additional costs such as even sending staff out on foot to skirt around the disrupted transport networks. With nearly a fifth of all deliveries in the UK made to London-based addresses the forecasts suggest that the number of deliveries made per driver may even halve.

Yet it is not just parcel delivery agents and couriers that need to be worried. Almost every trade and business is likely to be affected. Retailers will have to work hard on customer service to manage expectation of customers waiting for urgent deliveries that may not be able to get through.

Transport for London (TFL) and Olympic officials have been consulting for years to assess the impact and have designed a 109-mile “Olympic Route Network” and “Paralympic Route Network” . The aim is to allow participants at the games to travel quickly between event venues, but with each network expected to cover 2.6% of London’s roads, the impact on the local and national communities could be massive. The route networks will add waiting restrictions, various checkpoints, traffic flow modifications and even complete road closures to non-event traffic.

That may have a massive impact on people travelling to and from appointments, even commuters getting to work. While the roads are likely to be the most affected, the railway and London Underground network will be hard hit too, with

While the main event only runs for 16 days days from 27th July, the disruption is likely to be from the day the torch relay his London on 21st July until the 10th September which is the day after the Paralympics closing ceremony. That’s longer than the traditional school summer holidays when Londoners normally heave a sigh of relief that peak-time traffic has dropped off. It’s not just Londoners who will be affected either. The parcel delivery issues will have nationwide impact, as will people’s movement restrictions in the capital, but in addition the Olympic torch relay will be travelling the length and breadth of the country from 18th May when it arrives in Cornwall, bringing with it days of local disruption too.

So how can you Olympic proof yourself? Here’s a few ideas from us:

Avoid the Capital

If you don’t need to be in London during this time, it is probably wise to avoid it, the biggest disruption will be in the capital city.

Be flexible

If they are going to be affected by traffic issues, consider allowing your employees to work from home or at least work hours that will avoid the worst of the issues.

Be pro-active

Give your customers a heads-up that you may be affected, especially if it is not obvious – ie you are not located within a few miles of the Olympic park.

Promote social media as a communication tool

If you run into problems you will want to let your customers know as quickly as possible. Twitter and Facebook are proven to work in this regard so make sure your customers know about your channels and that you will be using them.

Replenish stocks now

While it may impact on cash-flow now if you rely on parts to be delivered on a regular basis you will save a lot of headaches in the long-run by buying ahead and stockpiling now, as deliveries in a few months time may not be able to service the demand. The same is true regarding your own offices stocks such as paper and ink. Think ahead and save time and hassle.

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