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Metro offers careers in Cash & Carry
By M. A. Winter
Date of posting: 22-08-07
      Organised retail and modern wholesale which have come to India in recent times have brought also new job profiles and individual competencies on demand which are far away from the jobs done in traditional mom-and-pop shops.

      A mom-and-pop shop is normally a relative small unit, where the owner is mostly deciding himself and organising all aspects of purchase, operations, pricing, and sales. We all have seen already a shop where the owner is standing behind the counter and is talking to customers and gives instructions to someone in the back at the same time. He is in the center of all decisions, without any middle management.

      In principle, the core decisions about sourcing, pricing, assortment, and so on, are the same for both small shops and big retail and wholesale organisations, but as the big organisations have other market strategies and another size in terms of number or articles in their assortment, different turnover targets and many employees involved, they need a total different organisation to streamline and co-ordinate their management decisions and operational processes.

      The division of labour inside the orgainsations and required processes have led to new job profiles and individual competencies on demand. Many aspects of a job or a work process can certainly be done by computers. And India is of course the best place to hand over work load to the machine which re-calculates margins when entering new prices, orders new articles when the inventory control system gives a signal, and many more activities. But many functions can be handled by humans only.

      Take the case of Metro Group, the big player in retail and wholesale business who is present in India since 2003. Cash & carry (wholesale) markets have been opened in Bangalore and Hyderabad, and another one is expected to be opened in Mumbai (Bhandup West) this year and in Kolkatta shortly. Metro is employing staff for a broad variety of functions within their organization and for the individual markets. Apart from functions like finance which can be found also in any other company of other industries, Metro has special departments for functions in Operations, or Buying & Merchandising.

      A Metro cash & carry market sells 18,000 different articles, out of which 8,000 are food items and 10,000 non-food. The buying department has to overlook and handle that variety and has to make sure that articles are available in the wanted quality, new articles are identified, and that sourcing prices are managed, and so on. Obviously, core processes here are IT-based, but without human guidance and some other human competences, it won’t work. The machine clearly needs the human interface. And their colleagues on the shop level are interacting less with computers and more with customers. They have to listen to these customers and understand their requirements, comments and wishes, and must be able to explain products to them and to identify reasons why some products do not find a buyer and indicate these findings to their management, among other aspects.

      In view of these complex and interconnected processes and interactions in their business, it is no surprise that Metro regards competences like leadership, the ability to communicate as well as to negotiate, and team working abilities to be most critical to be successful in their business. Metro, with their vast experiences coined in many countries, has therefore set up specific programs to train employees in India. Freshers, for example, will run through a structured one year program called the Management Trainee & Graduate Trainee Programs. Graduates join as trainees from campuses and “undergo a rigorous one year long training”, as was told to FoodIndustryIndia.com, and can get confirmed as Sr.Supervisors, if successful. In 8 to 9 years they can grow to become the General Manager.

      For young and also experienced Indian graduates and undergraduates, Metro unbolts a new and fascinating world of business with exciting career paths for the professional life. As it is the case with many other multinational companies in India, such careers could even lead to postings overseas after some time and under the usual individual circumstances.

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