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Food, Beverage & Hospitality Industry Updates Leadership

Supply Chain Management is a People Business, Too


For Jacquelyn Howard, vice president of food supply chain and sourcing at Starbucks, it’s not just about beans. People, too, are a major concern for the supply chain industry veteran.

Howard says one person who is top of mind for her is the delivery driver who must navigate boxes of products into Starbucks outlets, on time and sometimes in awful weather. “That’s why I come to work, because I want to find solutions to that guy’s day,” Howard said during a recent talk as part of the Women in Supply Chain Initiative at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. “Every time I want to do something internally at Starbucks I think about him and I think about the store managers … I think about solutions, people-engagement issues, transportation and safety, back of house.”

As reported in the MIT Sloan School of Management newsletter, Howard says she’s learned some important lessons in her long career, which has included work at DuPont and McDonald’s. Those lessons include:

  • Challenges help you grow as a professional.
  • You need to be able to change up your perspective to adapt to new situations.
  • Don’t be afraid to hit “pause” in your career. That can help you grow, too.
  • Get out of the office and visit your organization’s facilities.

Howard says she has made the effort to learn the roles of store managers and baristas. “I do a mean Flat White,” she reports. “That is my favorite [beverage], but it’s hard. People do have really complicated orders.”


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