- Starbucks has joined a public-private partnership in Washington to assist in the state's vaccine distribution efforts, according to a press release from the Washington Governor's office.The effort, dubbed Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center, aims to help the state reach a goal of vaccinating 45,000 Washingtonians each day and also includes companies like Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft and Costco.
- Starbucks will be tasked with providing expertise on operational efficiency, scalable modeling and human-centered design expertise and support.
- The coffee chain may be the first restaurant brand to participate in a public-private partnership related to vaccinations and could show how larger brands with experienced supply chain operations could assist in this effort across the country.
Starbucks' expertise could aid a slow vaccine rollout, especially since it has been focused on creating a better supply chain for over a decade. The company made a dramatic shift in its supply chain management over a decade ago when its operational costs were rising even though sales were slowing, according to Supply Chain Quarterly. The company reorganized supply chain functions and found ways to reduce costs and boost efficiency, such as having its manufacturing group create a better model for delivering coffee beans to its processing plants. It also created a single logistics system because its supply chain was expanded across the globe.
Starbucks has invested more than $1 billion over the past few years in sustainability bonds to help local farmers build robust and sustainable supply chains. The chain also has improved the way in which customers can receive orders, enhancing its mobile app and providing different means for pickup, including drive-thrus and curbside.
The coffee chain has also been particularly active in the community of late, investing $100 million to create its Starbucks Community Resilience Fund that supports small business growth and community development projects in Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. Its effort with vaccine distribution will likely further bolster its positive brand sentiment.