Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz opened the CSCMP Annual Conference with insights about what makes Starbucks successful, including the behind-the-scenes efforts of the supply chain team responsible for getting products to 32,000 destinations, including Starbucks locations and other retail outlets.
He recalled that until 2008, leaders at Starbucks and many other companies paid little attention to supply chain, but he now considers supply chain the primary co-author of strategy for the business. When the company reached a troubled time, as so many others did in 2008, leaders realized for the first time how critical supply chain is. According to Schultz, “It’s impossible to scale a company today without a world-class supply chain organization.”
He also said that in the U.S. today, there are many problems to be solved, and he feels for-profit companies have a responsibility to address problems, leading to many of Starbucks’ initiatives, including hiring veterans and their spouses and providing free college tuition to Starbucks employees (“partners”). His goal is to make sure Starbucks as a company is profitable, oriented toward making a positive difference, and a source of pride for employees/partners.