Information Technology



Managersof the modern organizations receive a lot of data, courtesy of thedigital as well as the information eras. However, this data can onlybe useful to organizations if it is analyzed and shared among therelevant stakeholders in an effective way. The information managementsystem (IMS) is a critical tool for any organization that wishes tomake effective decisions and enhance its competitiveness in themodern environment (Raisiene, 2011). This paper will provide adiscussion of Starbucks’ IMS. Starbucks is a coffeehouse and coffeecompany based in the U.S.

ADescription of Starbucks’ Information Management System

Theaim of establishing a comprehensive IMS at Starbucks was to enhancethe efficiency with which different stakeholders could accessinformation needed to make critical decisions. Starbucks’s IMS hasthree layers. In the first layer, members of staff are given the roleof applying the graphical interface in gathering data as well asinformation from all departments and clients and feeding it into adynamic IMS (Wardhana, 2012). In the second layer, the applicationserver installed by the company analyzes the data to make it usable.In the last layer, the data is stored in a centralized database fromwhere all concerned stakeholders can access it from any geographicallocation. The three layer system is referred to as the transactionprocessing system. At the access point, Starbucks has developed thepartner portal and the store portal. The partner portal allowsexternal stakeholders and employees working in the field to accessthe company’s information system. The store portal was developedfor the members of staff working in the warehouses.

CompetitiveAspects of the IMS

Starbucks’sIMS has three key competitive aspects. First, Starbucks’ IMS isdynamic, which has enhanced the company’s competitive advantage byenabling the management to have a deeper and better understanding ofits market. This type of competitiveness is achieved by maintainingand updating the customer data regularly (InforTech, 2014). Secondly,the IMS has enabled Starbucks to increase its competitive scopethrough an effective coordination of all operations. Thiscompetitiveness has made the Starbucks Company one of the largestchains of coffeehouses in the world. Third, the IMS allows Starbucksto collect and share information in real time, which enables themanagement to respond to trends in the market before its competitors.The real time sharing of information help Starbucks remainsup-to-date and competitive. This paper recommends that Starbucks’sIMS should allow the addition of more features and tools in order toaccommodate changes taking place in the modern dynamic environment,which will be accomplished by minimizing the current level ofrigidity.

Coordinationbetween Supply Chain Partners

Starbucksenhances efficiency in the management of its supply chain using twotypes of software. The first one is known as the SharePoint that isbased on the Microsoft Office. The SharePoint increases thefunctionality of the stores department by allowing the members ofstaff to have a centralized access to information, web links ofvendors, and other partners (Microsoft Corporation, 2011). Therefore,the SharePoint created a converging point at which partners in theStarbucks’s supply chain and internal stakeholders (including thestore employees) can share information, thus facilitating effectivecoordination. Secondly, the company adopted the Internet-based SupplyChain Execution Software that automated the warehouse operations(Microsoft Corporation, 2011). This automation facilitated real timecoordination of transactions between the company and its partners.

MonitoringInventory Levels and Orders and Satisfying Customers

Themanagement of Starbucks applies the EOQ and P-systems to monitor itsinventory and orders. The systems are integrated into the company’scomprehensive IMS. The role of the P-system is to monitor themovement of inventory in and out of the company’s warehouses or atthe point of sale (Starbuck, 2016). This information is shared withthe managers of the EOQ system who place orders after every sevendays. Orders for some items (such as milk, cups, and espresso) areplaced on a daily basis in order to satisfy customers by offeringthem with fresh products. In addition, Starbucks’s IMS allows thecompany to maintain a 15 % excess stock in order to ensure that thereis sufficient retail for customers (Starbuck, 2016). In addition,Starbucks’s IMS is linked to Bartlett Deliveries’ online orderingsystem that allows the management to place orders on the internet,which is more efficient than traditional methods (Starbuck, 2016).Customers get satisfaction through the application of the IMS tofacilitate the availability of products at any given time andprovision of fresh supplies.

InformationManagement is equally or More Significant than Moving Products

Althoughthe company is expected to oversee the movement of products in themost effective way, the management of information is vital. Aneffective management of information enhances the competitiveadvantage of the company in all areas, including the delivery ofdifferent products. For example, the ability of the company to manageinventory information effectively helps it determine the quantity ofproducts that needs to be ordered and how it they should be delivered(Vleva, 2013). Therefore, the Starbucks should focus on themanagement of information, instead of spending time on theadministration of the moving products. The IMS should facilitate theflow of information to the relevant stakeholders, who will in turnmanage the movement of different products.


Thecurrent level of Starbucks’ competitiveness can be attributed toeffective management of information. The three layers of thecompany’s IMS ensure that useful data is gathered, stored, and madeavailable to the relevant stakeholders. The dynamic nature of theStarbucks’ IMS, coupled with the fact that it allows the managementto share information in real time has increased the company’scompetitive advantage. Moreover, the SharePoint system creates apoint at which the company meets with its supply chain partners.Starbucks can enhance the effectiveness of its IMS by minimizing thecurrent level of rigidity in order to facilitate the addition of newtools.


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Starbuck(2016). Team 1 Starbucks: Inventory management. Starbuck.Retrieved September 8, 2016, from

Vleva,O. (2013). Information technology and systems in transport supplychain. TransportProblems,8 (1), 67-72.

Wardhana,F. (2012). Strategicmanagement of Starbucks Company.Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaysia.