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Lean Lessons Began in First Grade, According to New Book from the Lean Enterprise Institute

Cambridge, MA, March 28, 2012 — Most of today’s lean-thinking business people probably didn’t notice, but when they were in first grade “lean enterprise” was as much a part of the curriculum as reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.

Lean practitioner Robert Martichenko noticed the connections during a visit to a daughter’s first grade class and put them into the simple, fun, and quick-reading book Everything I Know about Lean I Learned in First Grade. It’s an effective introduction or refresher to essential lean principles.

The book is available now for $17 from the publisher, the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI). The first chapter is available for download.

“The fresh and engaging perspective of this book means you can give it to business colleagues, friends, or family -- including students -- to help them understand  lean for what it truly is: a way to create a learning and problem-solving culture,” said Jane Bulnes-Fowles, LEI’s Lean Learning Materials manager.

“For some time, I searched for an analogy that would best illustrate lean concepts,” said Martichenko, who is president of lean logistics company LeanCor. “The analogy that forms this narrative was revealed to me during a visit to my youngest daughter’s first grade classroom. It was all there.” For example:

•    Nameplates on desks and storage cubicles illustrated the lean principle of visual management
•    The paced cafeteria process for serving lunch demonstrated the concept of takt time, producing to the “beat” of customer demand
•    The school principal on daily rounds personified a lean executive practicing “go see” management
•    A system of stockroom cards used to reorder supplies illustrated how a pull system worked

A concise summary of the lean principal discussed along with important additional information and illustrations follows each chapter.

Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in First Grade
- By Robert Martichenko
- Published March XX, 2012, Lean Enterprise Institute
- Pages: 105
- ISBN: 978-1-934109-34-2
- $17.00 (soft cover)
- Media: Chet Marchwinski, cmarchwinski@lean.org, 617-871-2930

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About the Author
Robert Martichenko is CEO of LeanCor, a third-party logistics provider. He learned about lean management working at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. He has over 20 years of experience implementing lean supply chains, logistics operations, and organizational transformations.  He is also the co-author of Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream (LEI, 2010), which won a Shingo Research Award. He is a senior instructor at the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Georgia Tech Supply Chain and Logistics Institute.

Lean Enterprise Institute
Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc., was founded in 1997 by management expert James P. Womack, Ph.D., as a nonprofit research, education, publishing, and conference company with a mission to advance lean thinking around the world. We teach courses, hold management seminars, write and publish books and workbooks, and organize public and private conferences. We use the surplus revenues from these activities to conduct research projects and support other lean initiatives such as the Lean Education Academic Network, the Lean Global Network and the Healthcare Value Network.  Lean Enterprise Institute and the leaper image are registered trademarks of Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.