Morrisons opened a huge distribution centre at Sittingbourne in Kent last autumn giving it the capacity to expand its stores across the South East.
Logistics development controller John Passman says: “The new facility in Sittingbourne currently services up to 65 supermarkets across the South East of England and London, but has the capacity to increase that number.”
The site uses Link 51 pallet racking to provide some 50,000 pallet locations. Five beam levels plus the base are now available for storage within the 450,000 sq ft ambient facility. The Link 51 XL wide aisle system has been specified to provide back-to-back racking throughout a total of 44 aisles.
In addition, a separate 270,000 sq ft area, dedicated to specific storage requirements including bread, produce and chilled products, uses Link 51 racking at key locations.
Passman says the new site “has given us the opportunity to grow our retailer network via one distribution location that can handle most of the ranges across most temperature regimes – in other words, the vast majority of products and goods available to our customers. At the same time, the investment is seen as a key step in helping Morrisons to build on its position as a truly national retailer.”
Link 51 co-ordinated a number of additional services, including in-rack sprinkler installation and floor contracting, to provide one point of contact for the customer covering a wide range of project requirements. The operation also now benefits from a, computerised warehouse management system, allowing unit picking of items from where they are moved to the despatch area for distribution 24 hours per day, seven days per week to the Morrisons stores across the region.
“This is an important development for the company and one which is central to our ongoing growth plans,” says Passman. “The ability to store products efficiently and to enable their retrieval to meet customer requirements from our stores, whilst also reacting to seasonal trends, is clearly a key objective and one which Link 51 has made a significant contribution towards.”
* The warehouse complex is split across two units at Gazeley’s G.Park Sittingbourne, located close to the M2 motorway in Kent. The building has been designed to contribute to Morrisons’ sustainability objectives and aims to deliver 585,830kg of carbon dioxide savings through a range of eco-friendly technologies including solar heating, a grey water system, vertical wind turbines and efficient lighting control systems.