Emmanuel Langdorf, head of fruit and vegetables for Metro AG and Laurent Renard, trading office manager, provide a comprehensive overview of Metro Cash & Carry’s activities
Metro AG, also known as the Metro Group, is a leading international retail and wholesale company. The Düsseldorf- based group’s food activities consist of wholesale trade and hypermarkets. Metro Cash & Carry represents the largest and most international business in the group and is a leading player in self-service wholesale trade, active in 29 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Metro Cash & Carry’s main clients are hotels, restaurants, catering firms, independent retailers, service providers and public authorities.
City center locations and delivery services
Our sales lines offer customised assortments and services and are excellent value for money. This offer is complemented by innovative solutions as retail concepts and professional services to optimally support professional customers in their respective business.
The Metro Cash & Carry sales concept is flexible and adapts to meet specific evolutions, conditions and needs of the respective countries. The format of our stores varies significantly, with an assortment depth from 2,500 m2 to 16,000 m2. In addition, Metro Cash & Carry has introduced new sales formats to take into account differing customer specifications. For example, the wholesale company in Poland (under the brand Makro) offers a new store format called Makro Punkt. Targeting the needs of small independent retailers, the stores under Makro Punkt primarily offer beverages, tinned foods, dairy products and fruit and vegetables – exactly those products that a kiosk or small grocery store needs. Meanwhile, Odido is a retail-franchise concept initiated by Makro Poland. These stores are run by private owners. Small traders who choose to enter Odido’s franchise programme have the opportunity to grow their competitiveness in the market. Makro Cash & Carry Poland supports small independent shops with advice and marketing tools. In return, these retailers agree to include a number of Makro’s own branded goods in their stores. In addition, discounts are available if goods are purchased from Makro’s wholesale stores. Shop owners keep their financial and managerial independence throughout the entire process of the programme. Independent traders – particularly those in emerging markets- are important to Metro Cash & Carry. For this group, our sales lines have been tailored towards trader support programmes to help them modernise and make their business completely professional. Together with the customer, specific store parameters are assessed and measures are pinpointed in term of assortment and layout. We also develop special formats for city centre locations. These have already been successfully introduced in Paris, France, in addition to Madrid, Spain and Italy, Rome. These stores have a selling space of up to 3,000 m2 and address the needs of hotels, restaurants and catering firms, offering primarily fresh foods. Thanks to central downtown locations, Metro France can shorten trips made by customers and contribute towards improving the quality and freshness of the fresh produce offered. Another major development within Metro Cash & Carry is the development of the delivery service. This option has become an integral part of the service and is creating value for customers as it saves them time. Professional customers can quickly place their individual orders by e-mail, fax or telephone and the delivery service guarantees that customers consistently receive high quality fresh fruit and vegetables. Our logistics organisation ensures the cold chain is unbroken and that the principles of HACCP, the internationally recognised quality assurance certification, are adhered to.
Strong emphasis on local producers
As an international retailer, we have considerable strengths. These strengths benefit not only our customers but also the community as we believe growth is created in the regional economy and that we play a significant role in improving the quality of life in these areas.
Indeed, our stores and buying organisations in the 29 Metro Cash & Carry countries secure local supply, create and expand supplier relationships. The fruit and vegetable category is a prime example of this. The ‘De ale Nostre’ programme in Metro Romania supports and offers local products to our customers. The local organization has implemented a specific programme with growers, mainly in vegetable sourcing areas in the country, and provides growers technical support and marketing pointers to better serve the needs of Romanian customers. Metro Cash & Carry emphasises local products: in general up to 70 per cent of our assortment is purchased from local producers and providers. But local does not mean excluding global!
200,000 tons delivered by the International Trading Office
Metro Cash & Carry is more international than any other Metro Group sales group. It operates on three continents and faces different opportunities in each market. A new global sourcing strategy has been created to identify specific customer needs and exploit market potential. The international trading office concept was created in 2009 to source and procure fruit and vegetables. Located in Valencia, Spain , the newly created organisation aims to support the group in :
• Developing competence and innovative products for customers
• Increasing quality and freshness of products by shortening the length of product marketing
• Creating synergies and meeting Metro Group’s needs on Mediterranean assortment, overseas products and processed fruit and vegetables
• Developing direct sourcing with growers and suppliers in certain areas based on long term and transparent relationships.
The Valencia trading office accounts for 200,000 tonnes of the volume generated in 2013 by the Metro Group. There are regular deliveries to more than 20 countries where Metro operates. Thanks to the collaboration of the group’s buying organisations, this figure is on track to double within 3-5 years. It is a competitive business but the Valencia trading office focuses on nurturing transparent and progressive relationships and initiatives to increase its percentages of sourcing fruit and vegetables. Sourcing activities are focused on Spain, Morocco, Italy, Greece and Turkey for products such as citrus, tomatoes, vegetables and summer fruits. Other core selected countries are used to source overseas specialties or dry fruit.
Social and ecological objectives too
Sustainability has many facets. A range of activities and cooperative partnerships are needed, as well as the commitment of each individual who can contribute to achieving predefined milestones. Our commitment is not an end in itself. We always consider social and ecological factors alongside our economic objectives. Metro has developed a group- wide sustainability vision. This provides all employees, not just the fresh produce team, with a solid starting point and framework and starting. The Valencia international trading office aims to provide safe, quality products, implementing HACCP but also using other procedures related to the sourcing of products. These include product specification to elicit technical information about product compliance with safety and legislative requirements, and compositional and packaging information. It forms part of the binding agreement between Metro and the fresh produce providers and ensures clarity and transparency in these transactions.
Efficient procurement structures, bundling volumes and efficient transport in well-organised logistical chains also reduce the amount of energy required during the various stages of the supply chain.