A Question of Class in British Aisles
The familiar name of the John Lewis Partnership is successfully branded as the UK’s favourite retailer and is the market leader as a group embracing John Lewis, Waitrose, and Greenbee.
Launched as a single draper’s shop in Oxford Street by John Lewis in 1864, the business made the first move to partnership with the creation of its first staff council in 1919.
Today, it has some 70,000 partners who share the profits and benefits. The business has grown to include 29 John Lewis shops and over 230 branches of Waitrose.
It has progressively updated its offer with a website and delivery service.
John Lewis is committed to continued expansion and the use of new technology. Building a new automated distribution centre at Milton Keynes was key to this strategy. WT Parker’s custom-built system worked seamlessly as if it were in fact ‘off the shelf’.
The Challenge of Automatic Drive
This multi-million pound investment was a large scale project where quality would have to be cost-effectively merged with quantity. The 650,000 sq ft site at Magna Park, Milton Keynes (just off junction 13 of the M1) needed a vast automated system to drive the distribution of some 87,000 products.
WT Parker’s solution for this flagship development was the design, build and installation of the building services for this leading edge automated handling system that would feature 8.4 km of conveyors, serving over 250,000 bin storage sites.
The work of WT Parker rests on close working relationships with its clients – in a sense, its project team would be working as partners with John Lewis. The solution included 13 ASRS cranes to run in aisles no less than 78 m long and 15 m high.
WT Parker’s solution connected perfectly with the needs of the partnership.
Making Light Work of Economies of Scale
The commercial benefits of the new plant are there for the 70,000 partners to see. Lighting is the main source of energy consumption in any warehouse, typically representing the following amounts:
• 68% of consumption for 10 DegC ambient.
• 38% of consumption for 18 DegC ambient.
WT Parker reduced the energy requirement and profile on site with the introduction of T8 lamp ‘extreme version’ technology. And on quite a scale:
• Maintenance reduced by over one third.
• 12% lower lighting energy consumption delivering an 8% cut in the building’s carbon footprint.
• A saving of 546,500 kWh of electricity per annum.
• A saving of 230,623 kg of CO2 per annum.
In addition, daylight dimming and motion detectors were a vital part of the mix, adjusting electric lighting smoothly, unobtrusively and continuously with variable dimming control. This would switch to low level when a space was unoccupied or enjoyed daylight and revert as conditions required.
The efficient use of lit space meant:
• Over 35% reduction in the building’s carbon footprint.
• Saving 1,776,923 kWh of electricity and 749,861 kg of CO2 per annum.
Behind every retail outlet’s store room, there is an even larger one: behind the name of the John Lewis Partnership, WT Parker is at work.