That’s a 120-year-old idea, Taylorism aka Fordism — the Ford who figured out how to most efficiently use human labor on his car assembly lines — that Starbucks has now decided to resurrect in its efforts to make service faster and more efficient. Turns out all that “moving, bending and reaching”, as those who prepare and serve your coffee and pastries now do it, is leaching profit. Seems that their old-fashioned ways, (maybe the way people prefer it, the one they built their brand on) are just too slow for today’s consumers. Not to mention expensive, with 24 percent of the company’s costs squandered on all those goateed, tattooed baristas. You know, the ones who remember your order and smile and know your name.
Now, it’s all about the lean thinking.
Writes Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal:
Pushing Starbucks’s drive is Scott Heydon, the company’s “vice president of lean thinking,” and a student of the Toyota production system, where lean manufacturing got its start. He and a 10-person “lean team” have been going from region to region armed with a stopwatch and a Mr. Potato Head toy that they challenge managers to put together and re-box in less than 45 seconds.
Mr. Heydon says reducing waste will free up time for baristas — or “partners,” as the company calls them — to interact with customers and improve the Starbucks experience. “Motion and work are two different things. Thirty percent of the partners’ time is motion; the walking, reaching, bending,” he says. He wants to lower that.
Yeah, fewer “partners” moving with the grace and economy of freaking robots.
Sounds like a great idea. Not.