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METRO trusts WITRON’s warehouse automation technology for the third time

Good things come in Threes, and these three automated warehouse projects are definitely a respectable sign! METRO Inc. and the WITRON Group are further reinforcing their business relationship and will be building yet another automated distribution center. After two projects in the Toronto area, the companies are now eying the Province of Quebec and will start working on a site in the city of Terrebonne in the northern suburbs of Montreal. The 600,000 square foot (55.742 m²) hi-tech distribution center is scheduled to open in 2023.

Just like the other two buildings, this new warehouse will be part of METRO’s fresh and frozen food network initiative. WITRON’s OPM System (Order Picking Machinery), is already operating in many temperature controlled warehouses around the world. For this level of mechanization - a fully automated warehouse including storage, picking, and palletizing - it is unique to find a technology that works in sub-zero temperatures just as well as it does in an ambient environment.

The centerpiece of WITRON’s automation is the COM (Case Order Machine) – a palletizer that builds mixed, very densely, and well-packed pallets. Building such well-calculated pallets saves costs during transportation and optimizes store operations as well – a true end-to-end supply chain solution. In the new Terrebonne facility, 12 COMs in the fresh zone and 9 COMs in the freezer will pick up to 285,000 cases every day. The entire system will handle approximately 6,800 SKUs in the freezer and a fresh zone.

“It is truly remarkable that METRO has already put its trust into WITRON’s technology for three times since late-2017,” says Karl Hoegen, CEO of WITRON, North America. He adds: “We appreciate the great relationship that our two companies have formed. We always look for more than just a client, we want to find real business partners and create a win-win relationship for many decades to come. Our market presence in Canada has grown tremendously over the past years and we are proud to open our first office in the Montreal area in 2020. This is another important milestone in the 25 years of business success we have experienced in North America.”

Founded in 1971 in Parkstein, Germany, WITRON is a global leader in warehouse automation. As a general contractor, the company is responsible for the entire design and realization of all IT, control engineering, and mechanical components. In addition, system service and maintenance also belong to the performance scope of the logistics expert from Parkstein, who provides service and technical support through an OnSite team.

With annual sales of more than $16 billion, METRO Inc. is a food and pharmacy leader in Québec and Ontario. As a retailer, franchisor, distributor, and manufacturer, the company operates or services a network of some 950 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, as well as some 650 drugstores primarily under the Jean Coutu, Brunet, Metro Pharmacy and Food Basics Pharmacy banners, providing employment to almost 90,000 people. For more details, visit corpo.metro.ca.