How did your first suppliers react to you?
Initially, the local suppliers were tentative. Their businesses were not designed to supply a wholesale company. For instance, they did not use pallets. We held supplier conferences where we informed them how our orders should look, be packaged and delivered. Six weeks after the first meeting in Russia, everything was being delivered on pallets. As a result, suppliers were equipped to work for other international companies as well.
In what areas do the Russians have their very own special rules - and where did METRO Cash & Carry have to adapt to them?
Accounting practices are different. In Russia, you need a bill of delivery that shows the price, an invoice and the signature of the managing director and the head cashier. Different rules apply to the sale of alcohol as well. You also need a different merchandise management system.
What is the key to METRO Cash & Carry's success particularly in Russia?
As a first mover, we at METRO Cash & Carry have found a lucrative niche. Our customers really like the fresh products, the selection, the prices and the transparency. Above all, they know that they can count on the quality of products - this is particularly important for restaurants. Until we arrived, there was nothing that got close to our comprehensive assortment.