The STREAM Program


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

Coronavirus Update


Many manufacturing companies are contemplating their near-term plans for dealing with the Coronavirus. Working from home is not an option for factory floor workers, but may be possible for administrative and support jobs. The material supply chain is also being heavily affected, which makes production difficult even if all of your workers are there. Since we are entering a period of time when remote working may be the only option, here are some ideas to continue to make progress and to get ready for the future.

If demand is down now is the perfect time to redirect resources and design/redesign your production line(s). The STREAM program is a structured roadmap plus training plus coaching to achieve a transformation in 16 weeks. You’ll come out of the downturn ready to run! More about the STREAM program below.

The LINKED program is a step-by-step guide to the optimization of your material delivery system and inventory, including Plan For Every Part, formal delivery routes, optimization of inventory quantities, Kanban and Kitting systems, containerization and conveyance. Structured like the STREAM program, it includes online training, a detailed roadmap, coaching from the Leonardo Group.

Your Manufacturing Engineers and Managers can take advantage of this challenging time by pursuing formal certification in Mixed Model Line Design. Earn a formal certification by completing online course work, doing an implementation project, and passing a final exam.

Your Material Flow professionals and Managers can take advantage of this challenging time by pursuing formal certification in Mixed Model Material Management. Earn a formal certification by completing online course work, doing an implementation project, and passing a final exam.

Why Lean Cultures Can Underperform

We recently did a survey of our list of process improvement specialists, asking them what the biggest challenge was in their work. The top three answers were all versions of “Building a Lean Culture”. The feeling among many Lean and Six Sigma professionals is that they don’t have sufficient support from either management or the troops. And that a Lean Culture something they need to create first before they can be successful. They are wrong.

What is “Lean culture”? It sounds a bit spooky, mysterious and intangible. And how would you build such a thing in any case? One of our clients described it this way: “Our culture is just how we do things around here”. So maybe what is meant by culture is simply company-wide habits or ways of doing things… that doesn’t sound so mysterious.

When you learn a new skill your brain begins to make connections and develop muscle memory. At first the connections are very weak, and your skill is correspondingly poor. But through repetition, layers of myelin are physically deposited on these neuronic pathways, allowing a stronger and more stable signal. So the key to developing habit or muscle memory is focused repetition.

In an institution or a company, therefore, what we call “culture” is habit built up through repetition at a group level. That habit is built up by doing, not by sitting in a conference room. Unfortunately, it’s easy to build bad habits. That’s why doing the right things is so important. It can be very hard to unlearn the wrong way of doing things. 

The STREAM Program

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.

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

What Does "STREAM" Mean?

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 or Value Stream.


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.


Participants will complete a Decision Matrix to select the target area, estimate financial benefits, and do some Current State analysis. They will then collect process-related data including demand, products, processes, process relationships and times. The development of Standard Work is included here, and could be the biggest part of the effort.

When Standard Work Definitions have been completed for each cell in the matrix, the Launch stage is done.

Getting to this level is a major accomplishment, and there are opportunities to implement and start earning benefits right away with the current process. Create a training matrix to determine Standard Work implementation that can be started right away.


Build a Process Flow Matrix worksheet and use it to calculate Throughput Volume, Takt Time, Resources (by Resource Type) and number of Operators and Stations. As a team create a Block Layout of the proposed workflow, showing individual stations, feeders, signaling methods, etc. Ignore physical constraints for the time being. Document process times and path of highest volume on layout.

There are two main deliverables that will need to be uploaded: the Resource Calculation Process Flow Matrix and the Block Layout.

The team will have a concrete picture of the future workflow.


Participants will perform “line balancing” for each Product and Process, and assign work elements to each station. They will also develop initial testing sequences, i.e. optimum order of production for the various products in their product family. They will then have all of the information needed to build a simulation model of the proposed line, using our custom-made Lean Design Simulator. Optimum buffer sizes can be set using the simulator, and confirmation of the line design will be completed.

The deliverable for the Leanout stage is a completed simulation model of the proposed workflow that can:

  1. Achieve the designed target volume for a mix of different demand scenarios
  2. Achieve a 90% or better utilization of labor (with flexing).

A fully tested design which will achieve performance goals with high confidence.


Using CAD software or a layout tool like Visio, create a detailed layout of the tested design on an actual floor plan. Consider existing facilities constraints, dock doors and material access, aisles, material storage, operator flexing, ergonomics and safety, tooling and fixture storage. Build a deployment plan document as a part of this process, listing tasks that will need to be completed along with estimated time-frames.

The final layout should be presented to management and signed off. Create a video “tour” of the proposed design explaining various features.

At the end of the Layout stage all of the various sub-teams: Operations, Facilities, Materials, Training, Quality, etc. will have a clear idea of what needs to be done to bring the project live.


Follow the implementation checklist created in the Layout stage. If the existing line must continue running, set up the new line in a new area if possible. Training in any new work standards will need to be done ahead of time. Start building products on the new line, and ramp up to full production volumes within a reasonable time period.

Track daily performance for productivity and throughput. The new line will be considered “done” when it is meeting daily production goals consistently.

Completion of the formal STREAM program will be declared when the team completes the final performance audit (provided). This will validate that the benefits planned have actually been achieved.


Maintain the new line and continue to improve it. Engage the entire workforce in making improvements to their area, and empower supervisors and team leaders to lead the Kaizen effort.

Note: This State is never-ending and outside of the formal STREAM program.

What Else is Included in the STREAM Program?

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 industry-proven steps that are needed to design a flow line, based on the Toyota Production System. 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.

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

Certification Tracks

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 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?

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

Simulation Software

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

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.