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TJ Morris relies on WITRON for its continuous expansion strategy

OPM lighthouse project in the UK

The new logistics center in Warrington will supply almost 1,000 stores of the “Home Bargains” brand in the future.

Image: TJ Morris

The highly dynamic system is designed for a daily picking capacity of 646,000 cases.

Image: TJ Morris

The heart of the logistics center: the fully automated OPM system with 32 COM machines.

Image: WITRON

TJ Morris Ltd, headquartered in Liverpool, is one of the UK`s fastest growing and highest rated retailers in Europe. While the family business currently operates around 550 shops under the “Home Bargains” brand, it is expected to be close to 1,000 in just a few years. A new store will be added almost every week. TJ Morris distributes a wide range of food, household goods, and general merchandise products.  

Shortly before Christmas 2019, the decision was made to continue the ambitious expansion strategy together with the general contractor WITRON Logistik + Informatik GmbH from Parkstein (Germany). Tom and Joe Morris signed the contract for the design and implementation of a 79,000 square meter, highly dynamic distribution center in Warrington (North West England). It will store 12,000 different items from the dry goods assortment.  Productive use is scheduled for mid 2023.

The Morris brothers agree, “WITRON absolutely convinced us - the high efficiency of the overall concept, the proven technology, as well as the evident culture of a family-run business:  keeping promises, having the courage to innovate, rolling up one’s sleeves, short decision-making processes - these are values that are also important for TJ Morris. Values that impressed us from the very first meeting with WITRON. The parallels between our companies as well as numerous successfully implemented projects speak for WITRON as a trustworthy lifetime automation partner.”

“We at WITRON are also very proud that TJ Morris continues its impressive company development - its promising path into the future - together with us”, says Jack Kuypers, WITRON’s Vice President for the North West Europe sales region.

As a general contractor, WITRON develops all IT-, control- and mechanical components. The logistics center will be controlled by a multi-functional warehouse management system. Due to a high level of “supply chain intelligence”, the DC is integrated “end-to-end” into TJ Morris’ entire logistics network – starting with the supplier, including the transportation, and through to the end consumer. TJ Morris and WITRON are currently working on the future operator concept for the plant. Here, WITRON’s portfolio includes a wide range of services, which will be individually tailored to the customer’s needs in terms of maintenance, spare parts supply and system operation.   

The mechanized system is designed for a daily picking capacity of 646,000 cases, which are sorted into roll containers and totes in a store-friendly and error-free manner. WITRON’s highly dynamic logistics systems OPM (Order Picking Machinery) with 32 COMs (Case Order Machines), DPS (Dynamic Picking System), and the semi-automated CPS (Car Picking System) are handling this volume. A fully automatic shipping buffer intelligently decouples order picking from the shipping area so that all shipping units are made available for loading in the dispatch area by means of stacker cranes and heavy-duty lanes - “just in time” sorted by routes and stores, in the optimal trailer loading sequence, and taking into account storage space utilization.

“Thanks to its leading-edge technology, ergonomic and economic processes, as well as its size - the logistics center will have more than 470,000 pallet, tray, and tote storage locations, more than 100 stacker cranes, and a conveyor network system of more than 15 km - the logistics center will probably be the most modern of its kind in England. Almost 95% of the entire throughput will be handled fully- or semi-automatically and the remaining 5% will be handled manually. With a height of 38 meters, the facility is not only functional, but also visually impressive”, explains Duncan Pointon, WITRON Sales Manager in the UK. “WITRON’s OPM technology will be used for the first time ever in the United Kingdom.”

The OPM is indeed regarded as the most successful fully automatic picking system in food retailing across the globe. For many years, market leaders in Europe and North America have relied on the patented WITRON technology, which can be used universally and multi-functionally across all distribution channels (store / online), across all assortments (food, near-food, non-food), as well as across all temperature zones.

So far, WITRON has sold almost 1,200 COM machines, realized more than 70 projects with this technology, and through its operation stacked more than 6 billion cases in the dry, fresh, and frozen goods area onto pallets or roll containers. On average the company receives four repeat orders from all OPM customers.

TJ Morris currently employs approximately 30,000 staff members. Revenue amounted to than 2.5 billion Euros in 2018.