Archive for the ‘Process Alert’ Category

This is the first installment of “Process Alerts.”  Look out for more of these.  As I find interesting process changes in the news, I’ll post them on the blog as a “Process Alert.”  In the comments, please submit your predictions whether these changes will succeed or fail…

Instead of grinding coffee only in the morning, baristas will grind beans each time a new pot is brewed.

From “At Starbucks, It’s back to the grind” WSJ – June 17, 2009 (Subscription required)

Next month Starbucks will begin to make some changes they hope will bring customers back to their shops.  Along with changing their coffee grinding schedule, Starbucks will also change how they utilize their coffee brewers.  Today, they dedicate each brewer to one coffee variety.  Starting next month the coffee chain will begin to rotate the varieties through the brewers as necessary.

There are at least two reasons for these process changes–each having something to do with meeting customers’ expectations.

  • Reducing wait times for customers.  By rotating the coffee varieties through the brewers, Starbucks claims their is a better likelihood that all varieties will be available when ordered. Starbucks fears they are losing customers when they do not have all varieties available.
  • Revitalizing the customer experience.  By grinding coffee throughout the day, Starbucks hopes to increase the aroma in the stores and “restore some of the theater.”

Whether  or not the smell of coffee enhances the Starbucks experience and  impacts sales and market share remains to be seen, but the changes are compelling nonetheless.  This seems like an excellent example of changing a process with customer expectations in mind.  The process change most likely did not emerge from an exercise of capturing boxes, diamonds, and lines on a Visio diagram.


Read Full Post »