Major Event Supply Chains in Australia: Challenges, Opportunities, and Success Stories

April 13, 2023

Major Event Supply Chains in Australia: Challenges, Opportunities, and Success Stories

Australia has a rich history of hosting prestigious international events, including the Olympics, sporting World Cups, and Commonwealth Games. Successfully organising these events requires meticulous planning and flawless execution, especially when it comes to supply chain management.

Large scale events in Australia are also complicated by our massive geography and multiple population centres. In this article we will focus on leading Australian experiences and global best practices with organising major events with complex supply chains.

Challenges and Opportunities:

Tight Timeframes and Scheduling

Challenge: Major events typically operate on strict deadlines, making it crucial to ensure that all aspects of the supply chain run smoothly and efficiently. Delays in delivery or installation can jeopardise the success of the event, potentially damaging the host country's reputation.

Opportunity: By adopting agile project management methodologies and investing in real-time tracking technology, event organisers can effectively manage tight timeframes, ensuring that all elements of the supply chain stay on schedule. Moreover, increasing visibility by digitising the supply chain - enabling scenario planning can also drive significant benefits.

Complex Stakeholder Management

Challenge: Major event supply chains involve numerous stakeholders, including government entities, private sponsors, vendors, and suppliers. Coordinating and aligning the interests of all parties can be a complex and time-consuming process.

Opportunity: Implementing a robust communication and collaboration platform can help streamline stakeholder management, promoting transparency and fostering cooperation among all parties involved.

Case Study: Sydney 2000 Olympic Games

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was a prime example of effective supply chain management in a large-scale event. The organisers developed a comprehensive logistics plan, which involved the coordination of over 6,700 suppliers, 40 competition venues, and 65,000 staff and volunteers. By leveraging real-time tracking technology and employing an integrated logistics control centre, they were able to manage tight deadlines, complex stakeholder relationships, and high levels of security, ultimately ensuring the successful delivery of the Games.

Statistics: According to a report by the University of Technology Sydney, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games generated an estimated AUD 6.3 billion in economic impact, showcasing the potential benefits of well-managed major event supply chains.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

Challenge: Large-scale events often have significant environmental impacts, including carbon emissions, waste generation, and resource consumption. Balancing the demands of the event with sustainability goals can be a challenging task for event organisers.

Opportunity: By incorporating sustainability principles into the procurement process and engaging eco-friendly suppliers, event organisers can minimise the environmental footprint of major events while still meeting operational needs.

Case Study: Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games focused on sustainability, setting ambitious targets for waste reduction, carbon emissions, and resource conservation. The organisers implemented a sustainable procurement policy, engaging environmentally responsible suppliers and prioritising the use of reusable, recyclable, and compostable materials. These efforts resulted in a 40% reduction in waste sent to landfill compared to previous events, highlighting the potential for sustainable supply chain practices in major events.

Effective Procurement in Major Event Supply Chains

Challenge: Procurement for major events involves sourcing a wide range of goods and services, often within tight budget constraints. Ensuring the timely delivery of high-quality products and services at competitive prices, while also considering sustainability, local economic impact, and social responsibility, can be a complex task for event organisers.

Opportunity: By adopting strategic procurement practices, leveraging technology, and prioritising transparency and collaboration with suppliers, event organisers can drive efficiency, cost savings, and positive social and environmental outcomes.

Strategic Procurement Practices:

a. Centralised Procurement: Centralising procurement processes for major events can help organisers achieve economies of scale, improve contract negotiation, and streamline supplier management. By pooling the purchasing power of various stakeholders, organisers can secure better deals and ensure consistent quality across all goods and services.

b. Market Analysis and Supplier Evaluation: Conducting thorough market analysis and supplier evaluations can help organisers identify the best suppliers for their needs. By assessing factors such as price, quality, delivery times, and sustainability credentials, event organisers can make informed decisions and establish long-term partnerships with reliable suppliers.

c. Collaborative Contracting: Developing collaborative relationships with suppliers can promote innovation, improve service quality, and facilitate risk sharing. By involving suppliers in the early stages of planning, event organisers can leverage their expertise and foster a sense of shared responsibility for the success of the event.

Technology Solutions:

a. E-Procurement Platforms: E-procurement platforms, such as SAP Ariba or Coupa, can help streamline the procurement process by automating tasks, improving visibility, and facilitating collaboration between organisers and suppliers. These platforms can also provide valuable analytics and reporting tools, enabling event organisers to monitor performance and make data-driven decisions.

b. Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Systems: SRM systems can help organisers effectively manage their supplier relationships, track performance, and identify opportunities for improvement. By centralising supplier information and facilitating communication, SRM systems can promote transparency and trust between organisers and suppliers.

Case Study: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games showcased effective procurement practices in action. The organisers implemented a centralised procurement strategy, established collaborative relationships with suppliers, and prioritised sustainability and local economic impact in their sourcing decisions. As a result, the Games achieved cost savings of over £100 million, while also supporting the local economy and minimising the environmental footprint of the event.

Effective procurement is a critical aspect of organising successful major event supply chains. By embracing strategic procurement practices, leveraging technology solutions, and fostering collaboration and transparency with suppliers, event organisers can achieve cost savings, ensure timely delivery of high-quality goods and services, and create positive social and environmental outcomes for their host countries.

Organising major event supply chains is a complex and demanding endeavour, with challenges ranging from tight timeframes to stakeholder management and environmental concerns. By learning from the successes of past events, such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, and leveraging technology solutions and sustainable practices, future event organisers can overcome these challenges and create lasting, positive legacies for their host countries.

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