About Leonardo Group Americas

We use Lean Industrial Engineering principles to design the world's most efficient production lines.

Lean Design in Manufacturing

The goal of Lean Design is to arrange a production line as a series of sequential workstations so that you can build a product progressively. By arranging workstations to work progressively, flow lines facilitate the implementation of quality steps that double check critical product features.

The term we use to describe this type of production is "Mixed Model". Designing a Mixed Model production lines allows you to link and balance your processes, which eliminates waiting time and allows your materials to flow. The benefits of designing a Mixed Model production line include:

Reduced customer response time

Reduced customer response time

Shortened Manufacturing Cycle Time

Shortened Manufacturing Cycle Time

Less floor space is required

Less floor space is required

Quality is improved

Quality is improved

Flexibility increases

Flexibility increases

Less Working Capital is required

Less Working Capital is required

It is common to see Manufacturing Cycle Time improvements of 70% or 80% or even 90% when a manufacturer switches from traditional batch scheduling to a Mixed Model methodology.

How does Mixed Model production work?

A Mixed Model production line is designed to build a family of products using the same manufacturing resources. The advantages of mixing products in one line are many including the capacity to absorb swings in customer demand. A Mixed Model line requires planning or scheduling to build product, but that function takes place at the line level, rather than at the individual resource level. Products flow from process to process without interruptions, accumulating standard work toward their point of completion.

If you feel like you are conducting endless Kaizen events, there's a good chance it is because your production line was not designed correctly in the first place. Applying continuous improvement to a poorly designed line can actually become a form of waste. As Lean thought-leader Jim Womack put it:

“Is an organization’s skill in after-the-fact Kaizen – that is, its talent for process rework – actually reducing the pressure for the hard conversations about lean process development that ought to be taking place during product development instead?”

The solution to endless Kaizen events is what we call "Lean Industrial Engineering." Lean Industrial Engineering is the act of designing -- and implementing -- your manufacturing processes so that they flow seamlessly from one process to the next, without delays or mistakes.

Lean "Philosophy" is not enough

Incorporating Lean concepts into the physical design of your production line will guarantee far greater results than simply buying into an abstract philosophy. Lean Industrial Engineering will give you quantifiable results in terms of operator productivity, reducing your required floor space, and freeing up working capital.

At Leonardo Group Americas both of our Principals have 25+ years of experience designing Lean production lines and material management systems.

We've broken the Lean Industrial Engineering process into two major categories:

  1. Mixed Model Line Design
  2. Mixed Model Material Management

For the past several years, we have partnered with Toyota Material Handling in order to bring these workshops to hundreds of Lean Specialists, Industrial Engineers, and Supply Chain Professionals.

Large-scale production line redesigns occur once or twice in the entire career of most industrial engineers. We have completed thousands of line designs. Our proven set of steps has been successfully implemented by the biggest names in industry.

Managing Directors

  • Richard Rahn

    Richard Rahn

    Co-Founder and Principal of Lean Manufacturing Practice

    Richard Rahn is a Lean authority with more than 20 years of Lean experience. His professional career in Lean began at the John Costanza Institute (JCIT), where as Vice President of Technology, he introduced Flow Manufacturing to some of the best known companies in the world, including General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, John Deere and Emerson.

    Six years later, Richard joined Kiran Consulting Group as a Vice President, where he expanded his Lean skill set to include Simulation Modeling. He is the creator of the Lean operations track for the Aerospace Supplier Excellence Alliance (SEA), an international organization of aerospace suppliers.

    In 2007 Richard co-founded Leonardo Group Americas, headquartered in Boulder Colorado. As Principal of Lean Manufacturing Practice, he has trained over 5,000 engineers and Lean professionals. He is the co-author of the source book for Flow Manufacturing, The Complete Guide to Mixed Model Line Design, as well as Aerospace Flow.

    Richard was raised in Manila and Mexico City, and can teach in both Spanish and English. He graduated Cum Laude from Middlebury College in Vermont and received his MBA from the University of Colorado. He is APICS certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), and has an additional 14 years of manufacturing and management experience with Ball Aerospace and Storage Technology Corporation in Boulder Colorado.

    Contact Richard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Gerard Leone

    Gerard Leone

    Co-Founder and Principal of Lean Hospital Practice

    Gerard Leone is a seasoned Lean veteran with more than a 20-year career delivering game-changing Lean transformations. His professional Lean career began as Vice President of Technology at the John Costanza Institute, where he built a track record of successes as a respected leader in the fields of productivity improvement and manufacturing systems. Gerard has instructed and implemented Flow Processing techniques throughout entire enterprises, from factory to office administration and engineering in Fortune 500 manufacturers like General Electric, American Standard, and Carrier.

    In 1999 he co-founded Business Process Consulting Group, and led Lean transformations at GN ReSound, New Piper Aircraft, Whirlpool, Mobile Tool International, Lucent Technologies, Beltone, AVAYA, and Thermo King.

    Gerard is the co-founder of Leonardo Group Americas and co-authored The Complete Guide to Mixed Model Line Design and Aerospace Flow.

    Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, his bilingual skills in Spanish and English have been valuable in spreading Flow Manufacturing around the world. He taught Statistics at the University of Buenos Aires and Production Management at Colorado State University.

    Contact Gerard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • David Coombs

    David Coombs

    Senior Leonardo Instructor

    Since 2007, David has been a Senior Consultant with Leonardo Group Americas, leading process improvement projects in manufacturing and hospitals. He is a certified instructor in Mixed Model Line Design and Lean Material Management. Prior to joining LGA, he was the owner and President of Coombs Manufacturing, designing and building innovative farming implements. During that time, he also served as Board Chair and Director of Dietzgen Corporation, where he directed a major restructuring of the company, and orchestrated several acquisitions.

    David led his first Lean implementation over twenty years ago, dramatically reducing WIP, cycle times and workplace injuries for a premium-quality boat manufacturer. Since then, he has developed and managed successful Lean projects in a host of industries, including hospitals, across the world. Several of his consulting engagements led directly to executive positions, giving him general management experience, in addition to his strategic analytical skills.

    A graduate of Harvard University, he also earned his MBA in Operations and Business Strategy from Boston University. He was part of the team that climbed the East side of Mount Everest in 1983, and can be frequently seen riding his bike in the mountains around Boulder County.

    Contact David at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Juan Emilio Aranda

    Juan Emilio Aranda

    Senior Leonardo Instructor

    Juan Emilio brings over twenty years of high-tech manufacturing and management experience from the semiconductor industry. He led teams to over 4000 hours of labor reduction from Kaizen activities, model-based problem solving, designing IT solutions, driving knowledge capture, and work standardization.

    Juan Emilio is known as a skilled facilitator and project manager, passionate about listening to the needs and ideas of workers on the shop floor, and advocate of promoting a safe, standardized, and creative learning environment for the scalability of complex operations.

    Since joining Leonardo Group Americas, he has concentrated on promoting the tools of Mixed Model Line Design and Materials Management at factories in Latin America, thus improving the supply chain into the US and beyond.

    Juan Emilio was raised in Mexico City, enriched by the benefits of a bilingual and bicultural upbringing. He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of New Mexico and a Professional Certification in the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ). When he is not ramping up factory operations, he can be found learning about permaculture and trying his hand at urban farming.

    Contact Juan Emilio at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.