Starbucks Tests "Lean" Operations In Some Stores
We’ve known for some time that Starbucks has been trying to figure out how to use Lean principles in their stores. If you click on the “Starbucks” tag at the bottom of the post, you can see some of the archives.
This recent post from the Starbucks Gossip blog discusses some details of the pilot program “Lean” operations in Ohio and Kentucky.
What does this entail?
Basically, the backlines of stores are being completely re-arranged and the processes for labor deployment plus customer drink crafting are being re-engineered to:
- Increase efficiency/speed of service
- Maximize lower labor levels
- Save the company money/resources
- Follow the â€šÃ„ÃºShared Planetâ€šÃ„Ã¹ platform (environmentally friendly)
- Prevent workplace injuries
Sounds OK — changing the layout, engineering the process, increasing efficiency and reducing labor costs, improving worker safety, saving money, and being “green” could all fit into the Lean concept of management… eliminating waste and serving the customer needs. What about the “respect for people” principle? Is this being “pushed” by corporate in Seattle or is this an effort that engages all Starbucks associates in “kaizen” (continuous improvement)?
They are actually having everyone read John Shook, which is an encouraging sign:
SMs under the guidance of their DMs and RD are executing the transformations, plus they all are required to purchase and read the book “Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor, and Lead” by John Shook to know theories of:
- Continuous Improvement
- Everything in Place/A Place for Everything organization
- Repeatable Routines
So it sounds like standardized work and a good effort at 5S at Starbucks. Has anyone seen evidence of this?
As usual on the Starbucks Gossip blog, the comments are where the real information is.
One employee has a cynical view:
This comment talks about a standardized work method for rotating and brewing coffee according to a routine. I assume the goals are fresh coffee for customers (quality) with minimal wastage?
This comment provides some interesting corporate perspective: