CVW took a trip to the Morris Lubricants manufacturing plant in Shrewsbury to find out more about the company, and how it plans to keep up with the evolving market.
With almost 150 years in the oil and lubricant industry, Morris Lubricants is acutely aware of the ever-changing industry it works in.
The modern day Morris Lubricants started from humble beginnings in Shrewsbury back in 1869. The family run business has been passed down the generations, with Managing Director Andrew Goddard currently at the helm, a 5th generation direct descendant of J.K Morris, the company founder. The site in Shrewsbury has provided plenty of jobs for local residents and the current location of the manufacturing plant, a former ironworks, has become a bit of landmark in the area. The company has grown from strength to strength and now distributes its products across 85 countries worldwide.
The company own the entire Shropshire- based site, giving it the opportunity to invest heavily into areas of the business it is looking to expand. The laboratory is one example of the on-going improvements to the facilities. There is already land purchased that is earmarked for expansion of the business, as well as increased investment into the technical equipment used to analyse the products that are produced at the factory.
The laboratory plays a crucial role in every step of the production, ensuring that the products meet and exceed current standards. This facility can also be utilised by customers. Should they have a reason to suspect that there is something wrong with a Morris product, they can send it into the team to be analysed. Despite the age and old fashioned appearance of parts of the interior of the building, the computerised plant has been brought into the 21st Century, with the belt lines and automated labelling systems allowing the company to produce products into the tens of millions of litres.
How it’s made
The process of the oils being made is a lengthy and strictly monitored procedure, beginning with the raw material being ordered and delivered to site. Following the delivery of the materials, a stringent quality assurance process is then followed:
■ Once on-site, the raw materials are quarantined, sampled and sent to the on-site QC laboratory, where they are subjected to a suite of tests to ensure they are suitable for use.
■ Once approved, they are released for production. These raw materials are then carefully blended together, in compliance with strict formulation guidelines, to produce the finished lubricant.
■ The blended lubricant is then sampled, sent to the QC laboratory and subjected to a series of chemical and physical tests. This ensures the formulation has been followed exactly. Testing and methods will vary depending upon the given formulation.
Once the sample has been approved by the QC laboratory, it is then released for filling. Before filling commences, a final sample is taken from the filling head and checked one final time to ensure compliance. Once approved, the lubricant can then be filled into the appropriately labelled and batch numbered package, these range from 5L contour, 25L drum, 205L barrel and 1000L intermediate bulk container.
Once packaged it is palletised and then shipped out to customers, in the UK or overseas.
The company prides itself on being a family run business. Morris Lubricants feels it has the ability to offer a strong relationship with its customers because it can offer personal communication from the very same site that the products are made. The site in Shrewsbury consists of 40 admin staff from accounts to sales support. The company’s ‘Ask The Expert’ service can be accessed through a dedicated website, email or phone. The fully trained sales staff has a number of resources available to them in order to help customers. The wide availability of knowledge is crucial to maintaining the vehicles that use Morris products. This knowledge spreads over a wide number of industries from the commercial vehicle market, to agricultural and even to the rail industry. The expertise that the support staff offers, allows for the smooth day-to- day running of customers’ vehicles.
Another type of support offered by Morris is its ‘WhatOil?’ website. This allows technicians to search by vehicle make and model for recommendations on what oil or lubricant to use on a specific commercial vehicle.
From its humble beginnings to worldwide distribution, the family run business has grown and invested in technology over the last 150 years in order to keep up with the competition and set itself apart. Keeping one eye on the future, Morris Lubricants will hope to replicate the success of its past and continue to supply a quality product in the demanding industry it thrives in.
Morris has committed to a zero-waste initiative, opting to use recycling facilities where possible, to avoid using a land fill. With programmes to reduce fuel consumption already in place, as well as entering into its second phase of installing solar panels onto the factory roofs, the company takes its environmental commitment seriously, with its infrastructure reflecting that. Morris Lubricants has also committed to reducing its fuel consumption within its delivery fleet, to further minimise its carbon footprint.