Here, the future is yours for the taking.

Leading wholesale group METRO AG uses Adobe Acrobat Sign to digitalize signatures.




(from the merger of Metro Group into METRO AG and Ceconomy)

Employees: More than 97,000

Düsseldorf, Germany


Implementation of the signature process


Adobe Acrobat Sign ›

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Accelerate internal releases and signature processes in human resources

Digitally collate all document processes in the employee life cycle

Scalable roll-out to a global organization

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Shortens signature processes from an average of up to 288 hours to 10 hours

Seamless integration into the processing of documents without disruption to media

Minimizes support and training requirements with cloud-based approach and intuitive user concept

28x faster implementation of the signature process when compared to previous manual process

Digital solutions for a good life

For many people, it is now more important than ever to thoroughly spoil themselves — whether at home or when returning to their favorite restaurant after a long absence. Restaurateurs, hoteliers, and retailers all play an important role in our attitude to life. Their significance was obvious in the previous lockdowns, when the food service industry shut down and was sorely missed.

The digital solutions offered by METRO AG simplify many of the daily processes of independent entrepreneurs. In this way, the trading company is supporting the digital transformation of small and medium-sized companies through DISH, a platform that offers restaurateurs a system for online orders, reservations, listings, and much more. Internally, digitalization is a topic that surfaces in a number of processes, such as any time a signature is required throughout the entire employee life cycle. With the help of Adobe Acrobat Sign, work and delivery contracts can now be signed electronically instead of with paper and pen.

“How can we get rid of paper forms completely?”

METRO AG’s objective: To digitally pool all document processes that relate to the employee life cycle, from the time they start at the company to the time they leave — right down to the first contract they sign. This could not be achieved using the previous signature processes, which were on paper and in folders. “This is why we asked ourselves the question: ‘How can we completely get rid of paper forms?’ The answer? Electronic signatures using Adobe Acrobat Sign,” recalls Thomas Oploh, Head of HRIT Project Management, who manages the digital strategic direction of IT in human resources at METRO AG.

“The rollout of Adobe Acrobat Sign was effortless in comparison. Usability is just brilliant.”

Thomas Oploh

Head of HRIT Project Management, METRO AG

“Monumental usability” helps to bring an international organization together

Adobe Acrobat Sign has been in regular use at METRO AG since August 2017. In Oploh’s opinion, the cloud architecture of Adobe Acrobat Sign is the best approach to a solution for the intended scenario. Originally, the IT team favored developing their own solution, which involved hosting all business data locally. However, building and operating a fixed solution for an international organization proved to be a disproportionately large task compared to using a web-based tool, which would be much easier to roll out. As a result, METRO AG suspended development and looked to Adobe Acrobat Sign.

“The rollout of Adobe Acrobat Sign was effortless in comparison. It required neither complex implementation nor major training. We virtually only created the users. Operation is pretty much self-explanatory. Usability is just brilliant,” says Oploh.

To start, electronic signatures were introduced by the HR department at Metro AG. Whether for the purposes of recruitment, training, salary increases, or pension plan agreements, Adobe Acrobat Sign has been used for almost all signature processes that form part of the employee life cycle of 40,000 German and international METRO employees to date.

Thanks to their good experience, the trading group has also expanded their use of electronic signatures to include purchasing. Suppliers who deliver goods to METRO wholesale markets in Germany as well as on an increasingly international scale simply use a digital device to sign the applicable agreement received by email via Adobe Acrobat Sign.

Everything is finished in ten hours rather than ten days

In his role as Adobe Acrobat Sign product owner at METRO AG, Oploh is also responsible for rolling out the software outside of human resources. Overall, there are currently 1,400 employees across the Group who use Adobe Acrobat Sign to start signature processes for around 200 different types of documents. The digital solution is used in more than 20,000 signature processes per year. It saves employees a lot of time with each use. In some cases, you can now complete the process up to 28 times faster.

“Using Adobe Acrobat Sign, all required signatures are received after an average of ten hours. The previous procedure pales in comparison, as processes including postage took up to ten working days,” says Oploh.

The IT specialist also sees added value in the consistent workflow, which has made media disruptions obsolete. “Adobe Acrobat Sign has made a very significant contribution to our digitalization. Instead of printing out and scanning documents, we can now seamlessly process and save them electronically.”

In this way, Adobe Acrobat Sign has enabled METRO AG to become a modern, flexible work organization. Although this was apparent beforehand, it became especially clear at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. “Thanks to the availability of electronic signatures, many employees were able to start working from home without a transition period. Without Adobe Acrobat Sign, this would not have been possible,” states Oploh.

In the IT specialist’s opinion, Adobe Acrobat Sign has changed what was once a laborious task into something that is pleasant and fast for authorized signatories, and can be done on the side. This presents the image of a modern employer to new employees. Suppliers commissioned at short notice are pleased that any contractual formalities can be settled on an ad hoc basis.

“Adobe Acrobat Sign is a great IT product that has won me over in every way.”

Thomas Oploh

Head of HRIT Project Management, METRO AG

More time for modern customer experiences

This is why more and more departments at METRO are interested in using Adobe Acrobat Sign, which is steadily gaining new users at the company. Oploh virtually never receives any questions. This eases the burden on IT support, which means they can therefore contribute in other areas, helping METRO employees to successfully create modern customer experiences across the wholesale sector using the best possible IT equipment on a daily basis. “Adobe Acrobat Sign is a great IT product that has won me over in every way,” notes Oploh.

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