Starbucks Ad Influenced by Their Lean Education?


Here's some weekend fun leading into the holiday season… I received a marketing email today from Starbucks that included a phrase that would jump out at any Lean thinker.

Who knows how broadly the Starbucks Lean education efforts have gotten into the marketing department… or this is just a fun Lean coincidence… full ad appears below.

Here's the portion of the ad that jumped out at me:

You should be able to view the full ad online by clicking here. It's reminding people that they can order online through December 20 and still have items shipped to you by Christmas… if you're new to “Lean,” the phrase “Just-In-Time” refers to a production and materials management strategy that's one of the core Lean methods – producing or delivering supplies just as they are needed, typically in smaller batches at a higher frequency. Lean or the Toyota Production System was, for a period, often just referred to as “JIT,” but that misses the larger Lean management system to only focus on the JIT piece.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. The “lean” Starbucks blog just brought a smile to my face. The company seems to be doing everything right (except maximizing use of retail shelf space). I just got my Gold Loyalty card and see how Game-Based Marketing really works there. I just finished a book by that title by Gabe Zichermann (Wiley, 2010) that explains how humans are driven to participate not for the rewards, but for the “game”. Gabe got his MBA from me at Rollins College 15 years ago and is the most brilliant student I ever had. Starbucks “gets it”.

    • Thanks for the comment, Barry. The one thing my local store didn’t seem to “get” was good flow this morning. I was there having breakfast with another local lean friend (and blogger) Ron Pereira.

      We noticed WIP of about 8 empty cups queued up between the register and the sole barista.

      People were waiting a long time (not me, I had plain black coffee). I don’t know if someone called in sick, but certain did have have capacity to meet demand (at least without queueing time and long CT).


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