The LINKED Program


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. 

"A completely different approach! Practical and results driven."
John Deere


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. 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.


We’ve made it easy for participants to track their progress as they work through the LINKED 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


Follow the proven steps that are needed to design a material delivery system. There are over 100 implementation steps that we have documented within the program, along with instructions, tips and how-to videos.

Certification Tracks


Participants will complete the Mixed Model Material Management online course as they go through the program. By passing a final test (which they should have no problem with) they will earn a formal certification in Mixed Model Material Management.



Easy-to-use simulation modeling software designed specifically for Lean professionals and process design. The simulation tool can be used to test delivery route performance before the plan is implemented.

Advanced Topics


Access our library of advanced Lean training materials including exercises, simulation tips, and mini-courses. All of these resources are available as a part of the Lean Design Studio platform.

"Rigorous, unique offering of one of the most important Lean flow manufacturing subjects there is!"
PBS Management Consulting



While the LINKED program is 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 online live sessions. 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.
"Excellent! This is an excellent class that needs cross-functioned group participation (Ops, ME, Material Flow, Supply Management, Supervisors). Excellent instructor!"
John Deere


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!

"Thanks to LGA, I'm now better equipped than I was a month ago. The modules really helped and boosted my understanding and confidence going forward."
CDG Products


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.