Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream Workbook from the Lean Enterprise Institute Wins Prestigious Shingo Research Award

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The liberally illustrated book explains a practical, how-to approach to lean logistics and supply chains to improve responsiveness while reducing total costs.

Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream shows how lean thinking converts supply chains into swift, smoothly flowing fulfillment streams.

Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream, a pioneering workbook published by the Lean Enterprise Institute on how to apply lean principles to supply chains and logistics, has won a 2012 Shingo Research and Professional Publications Award.

Authors Robert Martichenko and Kevin von Grabe will receive their awards at the Shingo Prize International Conference, April 30 – May 4, in Jacksonville, FL. Named for the late Shigeo Shingo, a Toyota Production System contributor, the prize is administered by Utah State University to recognize research, publications, and organizations sustaining operational excellence.

“This very important and respected award recognizes the new knowledge and insights that Robert and Kevin have brought to the Lean Community,” said Jane Bulnes-Fowles, LEI’s Lean Learning Materials manager. “Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream shows how lean thinking converts supply chains into swift, smoothly flowing fulfillment streams.”

“Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream will change the way you think about your supply chain and logistics networks,” reads the Shingo award citation. “Even better - it gives you a way to act using lean principles to transform and continuously improve these two key flows.”

Building Lean Supply Chains
Despite the substantial progress many organizations have made using lean management techniques to improve internal operations, they have paid little attention to launching lean transformations in their external links to downstream customers and upstream suppliers.

In Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream, lean logistics veterans Martichenko and von Grabe describe a proven approach for applying lean principles to supply chains and logistics.

Using a fictional but very real example company, the authors illustrate both the implementation process and the bottom line benefits of applying lean principles. Plus, they show how the conversion process is a win-win for every company along the supply chain. The narrative is supported by 41 charts and illustrations, including value-stream maps, calculation details, and financial analyses.

Readers learn:

  •     How to calculate the critical total cost of fulfillment to make decisions that meet customer expectations at the lowest possible total cost, no matter where costs occur in the supply stream.
  •     How to apply the eight guiding principles for implementing lean fulfillment, even when all the data and variables are not known.
  •     The seven major types of waste in logistics and supply chains.
  •     How a fulfillment stream council comprised of representatives from internal departments, customers, suppliers, and transportation providers give critical guidance and support.
  •     The “eight rights” used to measure perfect order execution.
  •     What lean metrics to use to measure progress, such as why average-days-on-hand of inventory is a better measure than inventory turns.
  •     A method for collaborating effectively with customers.
  •     How to identify waste in shipping, receiving, and yard management.

Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream: rethinking your supply chain and logistics to create maximum value at minimum total cost

  • By Robert Martichenko and Kevin von Grabe
  • Published May 12, 2010, Lean Enterprise Institute
  • 111 pages; 41 charts and illustrations
  • ISBN: 978-1-934109-19-9
  • $50.00 (spiral bound)
  • Excerpts, author Q & A, bios, and more

Lean Community Resources
Join LEI’s Lean Community at for access to case studies, webinars, weekly newsletters, John Shook’s lean management column, and many other resources for your lean journey. Based on the workbook, the workshop Building the Lean Fulfillment Stream: Supply Chain and Logistics Management teaches supply chain and logistics managers key lean concepts and applications.

Robert Martichenko
Robert is an LEI faculty member and CEO of LeanCor, a third-party logistics provider dedicated to the application of lean principles throughout supply chain functions. He learned about lean working at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana and has over 15 years of lean supply chain and third-party logistics experience. He is co-author of the business management book Lean Six Sigma Logistics and the lean primer Everything I Know about Lean I Learned in First Grade. Robert also teaches global business at Saint Louis University's John Cook School of Business.

Kevin von Grabe
Kevin is vice president of lean deployment LeanCor. His experience in materials management, transportation, and third-party logistics includes a greenfield start up at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. Kevin’s international experience includes operational start ups for Jabil Circuit at plants in Hungary and China.
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 Leaders Network.

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