SportWorks ANSWERS: How to stop events logistics headaches and save money? – A review

A sports event is an amalgamation of multiple processes. Athletes compete in front of thousands of people, and they are further broadcast to millions (if not billions) around the world. However, what enables an event to be organised? What goes behind the scenes that allow for its smooth functioning? 

Among the numerous things going on, for anything to take place, we need to ensure that we have the material for it. Does a canoe race need to take place? We need canoes. A stadium needs to be fit with timing, scoring, and results technology? We need the wires, scoreboards and everything else required. But how do these things reach their destination? Short answer: Logistics. The complex world of logistics is made up of a web of stakeholders and processes. To simplify all of that, we organised a SportWorks ANSWERS with DB Schenker, the global leaders in logistics solutions.

From packaging and transporting material to preparing the ground for future events to take place, our guests – Anja M. Schweikert (Regional Manager Europe for Sports Events) and Martin Ritter (Head of Fairs, Events & Special Logistics, Switzerland) – broke down the dense world of sports logistics and explained bit-by-bit how they have overcome challenges in the past. 

Their presentation covered the end-to-end processes in transporting equipment. With more than 20 years of experience, DB Schenker have been involved in organising the logistics for multiple events, including the past few Olympics. But what does “logistics” mean here? It entails going beyond just transporting goods from source to destination, but accounting for every little thing to reach the host cities and venues. And that includes sports equipment, broadcasting, media platforms, grandstands, uniforms and even enabling catering at the Games. 

The logistic process also covers putting things on a ship or airplane and sending it across, besides scoping for storage units in host cities, keeping in mind sustainability and allowing for smooth handling. After all, a broken canoe is no good in a race. And all of this is often a race against time, engaging with stakeholders across the board, dealing with customs, travel delays, and in 2020 – a pandemic. There are challenges every step of the way, and we need to iron out every minute detail to reduce headaches. These ideas were central to the insightful presentation. 

This SportWorks ANSWERS was an opportunity to shed light on what goes behind organising sports events, and encouraged intriguing questions. Participants delved in the effect of the pandemic, sustainability, the future of logistics, and more, leading to a better understanding of the larger-world effects of effective logistic planning. Reduced shipping times can have a whole host of positive effects, ranging from reduced costs to a positive footprint on the environment. And that is when it becomes crucial to think logistics in a mindful way to plan everything better. 

The DB Schenker speakers also delved into the technical details about what needs to be ensured to have a successful final delivery, when asked about the gaps at various stages. This includes better engaging with Federations, Associations, and streamlining the process as much as possible. But amidst all of this, what does the future hold for all of us? With a push towards digitalisation, there is a need to integrate events with digital services, including increasing the use of data. Global logistics are quite vulnerable, and will remain for some time. Therefore, we need more solutions that account for unforeseen circumstances like a pandemic.

The SportWorks ANSWERS was an opportunity for the industry and our community to not only further their understanding of the processes behind sports events, but also gain an insight into how they are constantly being improved every day. If you wish to watch the great discussions of this SportWorks ANSWERS, we invite you to watch the event recording – you only need to register for a video replay, in case you did not register for the event. You can also participate in our discussion forum to keep the conversation going and connect with other attendees of the event.

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