Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, was founded in 1981 by Bob Stiller (Green Mountain Coffee Roasters [GMCR], n. d.).
From a small café to a company listed on NASDAQ and then to a company with more than $2.6 billion net sales revenue by Sep 24 2011 (GMCR, 2011), GMCR enjoyed great financial successes. Besides, it has been recognized consistently as a socially responsible company.
Key Factors in GRMC’s Success
After studying GMCR case, several key points are identified which together contribute to the success of GMCR as both corporation and corporate citizen. First, GMCR convenes members from all parts of its system for important company activities. In many companies, most of the staff in the lowest level of organizational structure are excluded from company activities. But representatives from GMCR’s whole system get together in its annual summit meetings (Mary 2008).
The get together is useful in helping its participants better understand their importance within the organization and realize they can do more to better serve the system. People from all parts of GMCR also go to training programs (Mary 2008).
These programs are a platform for staff to learn necessary knowledge with which they can better serve the customers. Including members from all parts of the system gives them a sense of personal involvement which encourages them to align their own interest with that of company.
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When employees feel that they are truly part of the organization, they tend to internalize the needs of the company rather than just treat their jobs as externally imposed obligations. They may also find their job meaningful and pleasant, have a stronger feeling of belonging and eventually are likely to work harder and exhibit increased labor productivity. In a nutshell, Bob Stiller makes all members truly participate in his venture and sparkles their potentials to better serve GMCR. Bob Stiller also take employees from different parts of the company to coffee farms(Mary 2008).
Therefore employees can have personal experience about coffee farming which may increase their awareness and attention. For example, roasters may learn that lots of hard working is needed to harvest organic coffee bean and hence may pay more attention when roasting coffee bean which cause less waste of bean. Second, GMCR’s decision making process is based on the interest of all stakeholders rather than the company itself.
For example, GMCR works to add social value by engaging in education programs for the children from farming families and communities (Mary 2008).
Assisting these children builds stronger relations between GMCR and its farming families. GMCR also provides interest free financial resources to the farmers (Mary 2008), which eventually results in smooth supply of high quality bean. By taking all members’ interest into account, Bob Stiller builds a strong, desirable and sustainable network with all members within the system, which in turn supports the growth of GMCR. Third, GMCR has committed to organic coffee and creates social value by offering a much healthier lifestyle.
Besides, GMCR’s success sets an example for other companies want to join organic market. GMCR improves environment by protecting coffee farm from the bad impact of chemicals and assuring the future generations a viable farm (Mary 2008).
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It is difficult for farm owners to keep coffee trees alive as long as possible (Mary 2008) and the support from GMCR makes it possible. Therefore farmers are able to make a living out of coffee beans, and more importantly, they have a higher satisfaction because they can preserve and pass the farm to their future generations(Mary 2008).
GMCR’s partnership with its farmers not only guarantees a smooth bean supply but also increases farmers’ spiritual wealth and again strengthens their relations. For trade-off problems, Bob Stiller always adhere to “future thinking” (Collins & Porras, 2002), making decisions based on long term benefits for the whole interconnected system rather than GMCR itself. Besides, Bob Stiller has committed to creating wealth which not only incorporates financial value but anything brings value to the whole system and the whole society.
Collins, J., and Porras, J. I. (2002).
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. New York: Harper Business Essentials. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. (n. d.).
Corporate review. Available at http://www.gmcr.com/about-GMCR.html, accessed August 24, 2012. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. (2011).
Consolidated Statements of Operations. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. Form 10-K. Available at