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Operations Strategy – Starbucks | Operations Management

Operations Strategy | Starbucks | Quality Function Deployment | Operations Management | Westcliff University | Management Notes

The first discussion question of week 1 requires us to address several questions in relation to operations strategy and Quality Function Deployment. The discussion question further requires us to analyze the operational strategy of one of the companies that we are familiar with to understand how they are winning their customer’s trust along with exploring the impact of OFD in the operations process. Currently, I am not associated with any organization which I would take as an example but one of the organizations that I am quite familiar with my research is Starbucks. Therefore, in this discussion question, I will be exploring the operational strategy of Starbucks. To complete this assignment several articles have been reviewed.

Starbucks (Background of the Company)

Founded in 1971 as a single coffee shop in Washington, Starbucks is one of the leading American multinational Coffee Company. Coffee is the main product of the company and they offer a variety of coffee in the form of whole beans, ground coffee, roasted premium coffee, blended coffee, etc. Around the globe, the company has been operating various café services to serve their coffee along with other drinks and food. The company also sells products like Handcrafted Beverages and Merchandise. The company sells its product both physically (café, retailers, distributors, etc.) and electronically (e-store).

Operational Strategy of Starbucks and Winning Customers

                In simple words, operations strategy is defined as the action plan prepared by the company in reconciliation with market requirements and operational resources that help to reach the overall objectives and mission of the company efficiently and effectively (Nigel Slack, 2017). Starbucks has implemented various operations strategy in their organization that helps them in allocating resources in a proper manner which further supports the company in smooth production process ultimately satisfying the customers’ needs. Better Customer experience is very important for the company because it is the key aspect that helps in building their brand image. Some of the operations strategy adopted by the company is described below:



Accessibility and Availability

When the company has covered its market in the US, the company went for a global strategy to expand its business beyond borders that helped it to reach huge customers and earn a high return on investment. The customers around the globe residing in any country have the access to visit their nearest location and have an amazing experience of Starbucks Product.




There is a famous saying called “ Quality comes with a cost” which indicates that if you want to have things with better quality you need to pay higher prices. Starbucks sells the product with premium quality that’s why the company charges a premium price for it. Because of the Quality Customers become ready to pay the price and get satisfied.
Layout The company does not focus on the utilization of space rather the objective of layout strategy is to focuses on premium customers’ experience. The layout of Starbucks is structured in such a way that it enhances workflow efficiency (GREGORY, 2017). As it is based on premium experience the more space you use premium price is charged.


As I mentioned the company offers premium quality products at a premium price, it normally opens its cafes in the urban areas where people could afford their products.


Inventory Management

The company uses automation for the possible things in the office and manual monitoring as well. The company continuously assures that their products are not out of stock.

This increases customer loyalty and trust as the customers will always be able to get what they wanted from Starbucks and are never returned back from the cafe because of stock-out.

 Activities that Starbucks is undertaking to fulfill these strategies

Most of the things I have had already explained in the above strategy. To maintain a better quality of products, the company invests its time and effort in selecting and picking the best quality of coffee crops by visitors to the farmers and suppliers around the world. Further, the company uses various TQM tools like continuous improvement and the JIT approach to make the products better. To make the process efficient the company has the policy to hire well-trained personnel and specialized as well as customized equipment. The company researches certain locations regarding its population density, income level, etc. before establishing the café in that area so that it can position better to its potential customers.

Role of Quality Function Deployment in operations

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) refers to the formal method that helps in transforming/translating the desires of users/customers into target design and then the final product. Firstly it is very necessary to understand and determine what the customers actually want and the thing that satisfies them. It is the planning tool that figures out the most important areas where the effort is to be made. In the process of operations, QFD helps to reduce cost and time for development as well as reduces the cost of startup and engineering. QFD enhances communication by bringing together multifunctional teams of the organization (Jaiswal, 2012, p. 33). Initially planning is made it becomes easy to maintain consistency with the goals in the production process. As the customer’s needs are prioritized it helps to gain customers satisfaction.

Although there are lots of benefits of incorporating QFD in an organization there are some limitations. It is not always easy to implement QFD especially in case of the large organizations. It takes a very long time for the full development of QFD chart. There is ambiguity in the voice of customers and it being a qualitative method it is hard to trace the customers’ demands.


GREGORY, L. (2017, January 31). Starbucks Coffee’s Operations Management: 10 Decisions, Productivity. Retrieved from Panmore Institute:,office%20automation%20and%20manual%20monitoring.

Jaiswal, E. S. (2012). A Case Study on Quality Function Deployment (QFD). Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, 3(6), 27–35.   

Slack, N., & Lewis, M. (2017). Operations strategy (5th ed.) [E-book]. Pearson Education Limited.

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