Lean Design Studio


By the end of this program, your freshly optimized Lean production line will be live, your processes will flow together seamlessly, your staff will be certified in designing Mixed Model production lines, and you will have a solid foundation on which to build a sustainable Lean culture.

Click on the image below to view an introduction to the Lean Design Studio, or scroll down to review all of the different sections.


Our online courses were originally designed for a Fortune 100 client. They have been thoroughly reviewed to include the necessary in-depth information that you will need in order to design world-class production lines and material delivery systems. Each course will walk you through the complete series of steps, from research and data gathering, all the way through to deployment.

Line Design

Mixed Model Line Design Course and Certification

Mixed Model Line Design is the step-by-step methodology for designing high-mix production lines or value streams. The result is a production line that can manufacture a large number of different products and options, with high efficiency and quality.

The tools of Mixed Model Line Design allow the design of lines that can handle inevitable changes in mix and volume, without degrading throughput or productivity. And they avoid the need for batching models, and for extensive and costly line changeovers.

How do you know if the line is performing as expected? Is that slow down normal? Getting educated in Mixed Model line design will enable you to “read” the line so you know how it is performing.

Mixing products has a host of advantages including better lead times, increased flexibility, more efficient use of floor space, and leveled product volumes.

A Process Flow Diagram shows the relationship between your processes and the flow (or sequence) necessary to make one unit of a specific product.

One Process Flow Diagram does not provide enough information to make well-informed decisions on the whole line, so you must find a way to extract applicable information.

Takt Time is the line’s formulated production rate. This rate is calculated and is an important design parameter for the line.

In this lesson we’ll cover some of the difficulties you must overcome to calculate an accurate Takt Time, including how to account for many factors that influence Takt such as changes in Effective Minutes, Rework, Scrap, Options, and Quantity consumed.

Standard work is a foundational element of Lean. In this lesson, we will discuss the benefits of Standard work, how to use Standard Work, and why it is important to use graphics in your Standard Work definitions.

Understand how to use the Resource Calculation Formula, and learn how to interpret and apply the results of your Resource Calculations.

In this lesson, you will learn how to calculate the necessary number of workstations on your line and how to determine the distribution of work between those workstations.

In-Process Kanbans (IPKs) are a necessary component of many mixed model production lines. In this lesson we will introduce the benefits and application of IPKs, as well as the best methods for calculating the optimum number of IPKs between your workstations.

Learn about the six line balancing tools, how to use them, when to use them, and the incredible benefits that come with a well balanced line.

Every line designer has to consider how machine processes will impact his or her line. In this lesson, you will learn about the different types of machines, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to integrate machines with IPKs and the balancing tools.

Every mixed model production line has to deal with changeovers, but you don’t have to allow those changeovers ruin your design. This lesson is all about strategies to minimize, as much as possible, the negative impact of changeovers on your line design.

Before jumping straight into CAD, it is important to first create a conceptual design. In this lesson you will learn why conceptual designs are useful, how to create them, and which inputs go into a conceptual line design.

When is Simulation Modeling necessary? What data goes into a successful model? How do you get that data? And, when the model is completed, how do you analyze those results?

This lesson teaches you the steps that go into creating your Final Layout, as well as the departments that should be involved.

Once you CAD drawing is complete, how do you take that drawing and turn it into a live production line?

Material Management

Mixed Model Material Management Course

By the end of this course, you will understand how to design a material delivery system that supports the management of a large number of different products, options, and items, with high efficiency and quality. We would go so far as to claim that your material delivery system, following our methodology, will essentially shortage-proof your production lines.

The tools of Mixed Model Material Flow can handle inevitable changes in mix and volume, without delaying or stopping the line. And they can do so efficiently, without overstaffing or wasteful material delivery activity.

Develop a deep understanding of the optimum material delivery workflow and strategy.

The surprising source of modern material flow systems.

Every individual item that will be managed, both purchased and manufactured, will be documented in detail in the PFEP database.

Your job as the designer of a material delivery system is to know which tool to use. Kanban is a general term that refers to a variety of different pull signals, which will be examined one-by-one.

Kanban means “signal”, and the supermarket strategy for managing inventory and overcoming imbalances is an essential element of a Lean material management strategy.

Kanban is not the only signaling method that will be used, and this lesson reviews to options available to a Material Flow designer.

One of the goals of Lean Material Flow is to balance material coverage (no shortages) with high inventory turns. In this lesson you will calculate optimum inventory levels for a variety of different items.

Material presentation is an integral part of optimum workstation design. In this lesson you will review basic objectives and examples, as well as look at some provocative new ways to deliver and present materials to an operator.

Material presentation is an integral part of optimum workstation design. In this lesson you will review basic objectives and examples, as well as look at some provocative new ways to deliver and present materials to an operator.

Material presentation is an integral part of optimum workstation design. In this lesson you will review basic objectives and examples, as well as look at some provocative new ways to deliver and present materials to an operator.

You will choose from a variety of Material Conveyance methods, from hand delivery to Automated Guidance Vehicles (AGVs).

The philosophy of “frequent trips and light loads” will be accomplished through the design of your delivery routes. The establishment of Standard Work for material delivery is also applied in this step.

The Lean Material Flow strategy puts a strong emphasis on container standardization. The integration of containerization strategies with internal Kanban systems and outside supplies will be understood.

Material Flow designers use a “roadmap” or checklist, for consistency and completeness. In this lesson you will learn the 10 Key Design Principles.

A Lean Material Flow system will continue to use computer systems for planning and inventory control, and high inventory accuracy is a must.

The material delivery system needs continuous vigilance and management. In this important lesson we will review the methods and practices needed to ensure that your system is on a path of continual improvement.


The START and EXPLORE sections of the Lean Design Studio are the most varied and dynamic. This is the place where we store the tools, mini-courses, implementation tips and webinars that we have created over the years. You’ll find here content related to Lean Basics like 5S, Kaizen, Quick Changeover (SMED) and many other subjects related to Mixed Model Manufacturing. You’ll also get access to Excel-based and web-based tools like the Lean Benefits Calculator and the Lean Assessment Audit.

We will be continually adding to the Studio, primarily in this section as we comb through our archive of treasures created while working with hundred of clients since 1994.


The Lean Design Simulator was custom-built for our Lean Industrial Engineering methodology, and has been used for years in our private practice on implementation projects for some of the biggest names in industry. It is easy to learn and even easier to use. In fact, all you have to do is fill out an Excel spreadsheet and the Lean Design Simulator does the rest of the work for you!

Test for Variability

Eliminate bottlenecks, test for variability, implement sequence rules, and achieve your production goals before you bring your line live.

Eliminate Bottlenecks

Analyze each resource down to the workstation level for utilization, time spent blocked or waiting, and idle time. Learn how to identify bottlenecks, and how to fix them.

Achieve Design Goals

You don't want to have to fix your design after it is already implemented. Test it first in a low-cost environment, and reduce or eliminate the need for post-implementation Kaizen.

Short Learning Curve

Most simulation software requires a hefty investment of your time to get up to speed. You can be building sophisticated models using the Lean Design Simulator within a few hours.

Use for Kaizen Events

The time required to build a model is short, so you can even incorporate the use of simulation modeling into your Kaizen events, and analyze suggested process changes real-time.

Automated Sequencing

The Lean Design Simulator now includes an automated sequencing tool that really speeds up the creation of sequencing scenarios. Push one button and an entire sequencing plan will be generated!


Building products the right way, and getting good at that through repetition, is the pathway to building a Lean culture in a manufacturing company. How do we know what is the “right way”? We look to the best examples of excellence that we have: to companies that are achieving high productivity, high quality, high profitability, as well as an engaged and enthusiastic workforce.

These manufacturing companies typically apply what is called Flow Manufacturing. Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System, stated that the goal was to create a “River System” connecting all processes. This river, or flow, between processes is arguably the most important element of Lean Manufacturing.

The STREAM program walks you through the step-by-step method for implementing flow, not in a classroom but through an actual implementation project for a target area of your plant. The key to the STREAM Program is that you will get trained while you implement. By the end of this program, you’ll not only end up with a high-performing line, but you’ll be able to take the habits that you have built during the project and apply them to other areas of your company.

And that’s how you build a Lean Culture.


We have organized the STREAM Line Design Program into six stages. Participants in the STREAM Program have complete access to the entire methodology, as well as all of the tools, downloads, and worksheets necessary to design their own optimized production line. The program includes private and individualized coaching by the Lean Design Studio mentoring team.


Perform the preliminary planning and data collection steps that provide the foundation for a solid Process Design.


Perform data analysis and calculations to transform the current workflow into one where all processes are connected in a continuous flow.


Apply balancing tools to optimize work flow performance. Then ensure that design will meet performance goals with simulation modeling.


Create a CAD-based layout, including layers for facilities changes, material delivery and presentation. Use actual floor plan and dimensions.


The implementation phase where the design will be physically built, participants will be trained, and the line will begin working.


Engage the entire workforce in making improvements to their area, and empower supervisors and team leaders to lead the Kaizen effort.


We’ve made it easy for participants to track their progress as they work through the STREAM Program. Managers have the added ability to monitor the progress of their team by viewing each team member’s roadmap and course completion status, exam scores, and uploaded assignments.

Implementation Roadmaps

Implementation Roadmap

Follow the proven principles that are needed to design a flow line. The result of our step-by-step methodology is a world-class Lean production line.

Certification Tracks

Certification Track

Online courses and certification in Mixed Model Line Design and Mixed Model Material Flow. Master the key principles to designing a flow line.


Simulation Software

Easy-to-use simulation modeling software designed specifically for Lean professionals and process design.

Advanced Topics

Advanced Topics

Access our library of advanced Lean training materials including exercises, simulation tips, and mini-courses.



By the end of this program, your team will have completed a Plan For Every Part database, assigned delivery strategies for every item, calculated and optimized inventory quantities, your staff will be certified in Mixed Model Material Management, and you will have a solid foundation on which to build a sustainable Lean material delivery system.

The foundation of a Lean production system is built on an engineered work flow design and on an engineered material delivery flow. The LINKED program guides you through the detailed knowledge and implementation steps to create the optimum material delivery system. You are not alone…the program includes coaching by the Leonardo Group team with experience in hundreds of Material Flow projects over the past 25 years. This methodology is being used by organizations around the world, and is based on the Toyota Production System.

What does “optimum” mean? It involves achieving the Seven Rights of Material Flow: the Right Quantity, the Right Part, the Right Container, the Right Sequence, the Right Time, the Right Place and the Right Total Cost. 


Linking and Balancing both work flow and material flow are foundational elements of a Lean production system. We have organized the LINKED Line Design Program into six stages. Participants in the LINKED Program have complete access to the entire proven methodology, as well as all of the tools, downloads, and worksheets necessary to design their own optimized material delivery system. LINKED is an acronym, explained below, that stands for LOAD, INVENTORY, NAVIGATE, KEEP, EXTEND and DEVELOP.


Material flow design is highly data-dependent. In the LOAD stage you will create your detailed deployment plan, and load the necessary parts-related data into a database or spreadsheet. We call this a Plan For Every Part (PFEP). Every item that must be managed, both purchased and manufactured, will be included.


Once your PFEP is ready with the required input data, you will establish inventory goals, and calculate the target quantities for every item in your PFEP database. 

Not every item will be managed with Kanban signals, and you will make this determination at this stage as well.


NAVIGATE means to establish the plan (documented in your PFEP database for every item) for three main elements: conveyance methods, optimum and standardized containerization plan, and designing physical delivery routes.


The KEEP stage works on some of the elements that will be necessary to keep the material delivery system running smoothly. These include staff and material handler training, maintaining a high level of inventory record accuracy, and having a plan for introducing and sustaining these new material delivery methods.


In the EXTEND stage you will move beyond the factory walls to include outside suppliers in your material flow system. This will be a long-term effort, but a critical one in achieving optimized inventory levels with zero shortages.


Once the LINKED program is completed you are not done! As you already know, continuous improvement is never-ending. In this stage of the program you will ensure that your Kaizen system is organized and active.



While the STREAM and LINKED programs are a remote-support system, that doesn’t mean that live mentoring and coaching are not available. We envision three options:

  1. For non-urgent inquiries we will be providing a private online forum for questions and comments. We will respond within 24-hours to issues posted here.
  2. We will be scheduling weekly or bi-weekly private online live sessions with the Lean Design Studio mentorship team. Ideally these will happen at the same time every week, for ease of scheduling.
  3. We will schedule ad-hoc live online sessions as required for urgent discussions.


There are many great options available today to conduct online communications. Here is what we are currently using:

  1. Zoom for online video conferences. Options include Microsoft Team or Skype.
  2. A private online forum that is only available to your team members. This will be used for non-urgent communications, but we still committ to getting back to you quickly.
  3. Regular business email and text messaging. This is sometimes the best and fastest method to communicate with your coaching team.


Feature Free Professional Certification


Mixed Model Line Design

Mixed Model Material Management

Crash Course in Simulation Modeling

Introduction to Mixed Model Line Design

Introduction to Flow Manufacturing

Introduction to Material Management

Simulation Modeling for Lean Professionals

Certification Exam and Project

Mixed Model Line Design Certification

Mixed Model Material Management Certification

Mixed Model Simulation Modeling Certification

Simulation Modeling Software

Lean Design Simulator Software

Lean Design Simulator Training Videos

Additional Mixed Model Training

Lean Basics Video Series (START)

Advanced Mixed Model Line Design Methods (EXPLORE)

Advanced Material Flow Methods

Mixed Model Simulation Tips

Other Mixed Model Tools

Lean Benefits Calculator

Lean Design Studio User Forum

Download The Complete Guide Sourcebook


Free Membership

$0 / month
  • Access to select online courses: Intro to Line Design, Intro to Material Management, Intro to Flow Manufacturing, Crash Course in Simulation Modeling
  • Access to select online courses: Intro to Line Design, Intro to Material Management, Intro to Flow Manufacturing, Crash Course in Simulation Modeling
  • Full access to the Lean Basics area of the Studio.
  • Download a copy of The Complete Guide to Mixed Model Line Design
  • Post questions and comments in the online Forum
  • No credit card required

Professional Level

$47 / month
  • Access to all online courses: Line Design, Material Management, Simulation Modeling
  • Access to the Lean Design Simulator and support documentation and videos
  • Access to the Lean Basics and Advanced Topics sections of the Studio.
  • Download a copy of The Complete Guide to Mixed Model Line Design
  • 24/7 support via an online Forum
  • Cancel membership at any time

Individual Certification

$1,995 / certification program
  • Access to all online courses: Line Design, Material Management, Simulation Modeling
  • Complete an actual design project (or complete one that we provide)
  • Live coaching for design project by Lean Design Studio staff.
  • Pass a 120-question exam covering all lessons in the course
  • Get access to all Lean Design Studio resources, videos and tools
  • Earn certificate as "Certified in Mixed Model Line Design" or "Certified in Mixed Model Material Management" or "Certified in Mixed Model Simulation Modeling"
  • Personalized coaching for certification project
  • 12-month membership to Lean Design Studio

Who We Are

Leonardo Group Americas was founded by Richard Rahn and Gerard Leone, industry vets with 25+ years of experience. They are the authors of eight books on Lean subjects, including The Complete Guide to Mixed Model Line Design. Since 2011 they have partnered with Toyota Material Handling to present workshops on the subjects of Mixed Model Line Design and Mixed Model Material Management to thousands of Industrial Engineers and Lean Professionals.

The Lean Design Studio is the culmination of the tools and the methodologies that these two experts have developed over their two decades in the industry. The Lean Design Studio combines online versions of our core training courses with a newly developed simulation tool, designed specifically for Mixed Model Manufacturing applications.