Moving Goods

Strong Vision for Myanmar's Wholesale Trade

Just a few clicks - and METRO delivers. If desired, all the way to Myanmar, where the wholesaler officially launched its delivery business in March 2019. An interview with Jens Michel, CEO METRO Wholesale Myanmar.

The central foundation for this is our state of the art warehouse in the special economic zone Thilawa, south of Yangon, which we officially opened on the 8th of March.

Mr Michel, Myanmar is the 36th country in which METRO is doing business. However, you are not focussing on brick-and-mortar business there ...

... correct. Unlike in other countries, we do not operate wholesale stores in Myanmar. Instead we are focusing on the delivery business together with our joint venture partner Yoma Strategic Holdings. We have established an innovative and modern one-stop-shop solution that is unique to Myanmar. It combines E-commerce and food service distribution (FSD). Our customers in the Yangon region and later Myanmar as a whole can conveniently shop online with us - we deliver the goods to their businesses. This enables our customers to spend more time in their business and eliminates the lengthy commutes to shop for products. The central foundation for this is our state of the art warehouse in the special economic zone Thilawa, south of Yangon, which we officially opened on the 8th of March.

 

The food service sector in Myanmar is growing dynamically. How does METRO intend to successfully position itself in this market?

The key to us is that we are not just another importer selling products in Myanmar. We built on local sustainability. Our goal is to build an innovative and market-leading delivery business that sets new standards in Myanmar in terms of quality, traceability, product freshness, and safety. We have consistently adapted our approach to the Mobile First culture, which has captured the country in recent years.

 

Our objective is to establish local procurement channels and obtain most of our fresh goods from local farmers and producers.

Jens Michel, CEO METRO Wholesale Myanmar
Jens Michel, CEO METRO Wholesale Myanmar

Which specific measures are expected to help achieve this goal?

A key aspect is our procurement policy that will in future deliver on our sustainability vision. Our objective is to establish local procurement channels and obtain most of our fresh goods from local farmers and producers. Ultimately, 3/4 of all products in our range are planned to be sourced locally, with the remaining 25% coming from the import business. This means that we deliberately concentrate on close partnerships as well as the development of quality and food safety standards with local farmers and producers.

Local procurement alone is no guarantee for high quality and product safety. How can you succeed in actually setting new standards in these areas?

By not only acting as a buyer, but also as a strong partner to our suppliers, by working with them directly to ensure the quality and safety of our products. For example, we have already delivered a vast amount of training to local fruit and vegetable farmers and we will in future expand this to fish, meat and poultry suppliers with a focus on food safety and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and organise training sessions on principles of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). We want to continue these efforts in the coming years. This approach should also contribute to us becoming a long-term stakeholder in Myanmar shaping a solid foundation for safe food

What is your personal motivation to support a wholesale company in its launch into the new Myanmar market?

I have already lead a Swiss company in Myanmar in the past. I gained a lot of experience in wholesale and distribution during that time. During my stay in Myanmar, I also developed a real passion for the country. A key element that inspired and motivated me to take this fantastic challenge and the role of CEO of METRO Wholesale Myanmar is METRO's strong vision for Myanmar: Become a leading wholesale e-commerce company with a clear focus on sustainability.

 


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