A job at Starbucks could come with an extra perk

Nancy Anderson
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Starbucks isn't just the world's largest coffee shop chain. It's also in the logistics business - as is any large company that operates its own supply network.

During Starbucks' years of rapid growth, that supply network couldn't keep up with the pace. It struggled to keep up with orders from stores - and no one in management had any idea how poorly it was keeping up with orders. According to a profile of the company's supply chain operations that appeared in a recent issue of DC Velocity magazine, when the company's vice president of supply chain operations, Peter D. Gibbons, instituted metrics for the supply chain operation in 2008, he found that more than half of all North American store orders were delivered late.

Gibbons has spent the two years since then fixing that - now, more than 90 percent of deliveries are on time. And to make sure things stay that way, the article reports, he is scouting some of the country's top engineering schools for talent as the first step towards creating a logistics internship program within Starbucks.

Gibbons is looking for the best of the best - the top 10 percent of students in the programs they partner with - but in the future, that search could take him to his nearest Starbucks store. A good number of Starbucks baristas - the frontline servers - are college students, and there's a chance that some of them are either enrolled in transportation and logistics programs or might be interested in pursuing that path.

Before you run to fill out an application, be aware that the internship program doesn't exist yet - the outreach to colleges described above are part of a pilot program. But if that program expands, a job behind the counter at Starbucks could become a stepping stone to a career in logistics.

By Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is an award-winning writer and editor who has spent most of his career in public relations and corporate communications. His work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia CityPaper, PGN, and a number of Web sites. Philly-area residents may also recognize him as "MarketStEl" of discussion-board fame. He has been a part of the great reserve army of freelance writers since January 2009 and is actively seeking opportunities wherever they may lie.


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