How Starbucks Applied LEAN to Win the Caffeine Race — Propel Solutions

How Starbucks Applied LEAN to Win the Caffeine Race

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How Starbucks Applied LEAN to Win the Caffeine Race

By Marilouise Muller

Have you tried the new Starbucks app to order your coffee on the go?! Total. Game. Changer. Did you know they used Lean process principles to streamline the ordering process and revolutionize the coffee market? Here’s how they did it:

  1. Start with the customer goal first: What does your customer want from you? For Starbucks it was simple – customers want to grab their customized coffees and go. Starbucks doesn’t even offer ceramic mugs; they have always provided deluxe coffees on the go for customers on the move. From their app, they removed all of the non-value added time for me as a customer. They started by removing the need to even bring my wallet out of my purse. Now I can pay for my Grande Non Fat Americano Misto with my trustee smart phone, which is permanently glued to my palm anyways.
  1. Look for waste in the process: Once you have determined what your customer wants, everything that is not directly related to that end goal is waste. Waiting in line to order? Waste. Waiting for a drink to be brewed? More waste. The perfect process is one that adds value to the customer the entire way through.
  1. Evaluate where to save time for your staff to allow them to add more value to your customers: Starbucks removed the need for me to have to recite my extraordinarily long order while still allowing me to benefit from their massively customizable menu. They also took away my frustration from constantly telling them how to spell my name, which they disregarded anyways and then took all sorts of creative license.
  1. Don’t wait until it’s perfect: As much as I love this app and use it any chance I can to walk in and look like a VIP with my coffee order waiting on the counter for me, there are definitely things that Starbucks can work on. Needless to say, change is a never-ending process that can continually be improved upon. When you have the opportunity to bring more value to your customers, go for it!
  1. Don’t be afraid to turn processes on their heads: Sometimes looking at processes from a different perspective can help you discover new ways to approach problems. Starbucks found a way to serve more customers without having to proportionately increase their staff resources.

Starbucks has given me back the one thing that is not replaceable and it’s time! See if you can find ways to save time in your processes. Designing processes that maximize customer value and reduce workload can open up opportunities for discovering increased ways to increase value to your customers.

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