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Commitment to Custom

Vendor View: Leon Speakers

October 2008 By CR Stuff
Built-to-order manufacturing has woven its way into many different industries as a means to achieve flexibility in today’s consumer-centric environments. For Leon Speakers, manufacturers of on-wall and flat-panel audio, this has been an essential tool to compete in an ever-changing, rapidly expanding, consumer electronics industry.

Leon Speakers’ most valuable asset is its ability to create custom cabinets at a breakneck speed while maintaining cutting-edge acoustic design. The company prides itself on handcrafting a wide range of elegant loudspeakers, custom-built and finished to match the exact dimensions and finish of any flat-panel display, with a very fast turnaround time: just three to five business days.

“At our core, we are a true CI company,” said Noah Kaplan, Leon’s president and co-founder. “We can customize our loudspeakers in any way our customers can imagine, whether it be the color, dimensions, mounting options, drivers or anything else. If you can think it, we can do it. We have built our reputation in the industry around that philosophy.”

Instead of being limited by a warehouse full of inventory, Leon stocks only the raw materials ready to be assembled into new products. “Our operations are totally focused on processes, rather than stocking in-the-box consumer electronics. For our dealers and installers, we don’t push product lines; instead we offer sets of parameters that can be easily customized to meet individual needs. This also allows us to not only respond immediately to industry demand, but also to be more creative and continually provide our craftsmen with different challenges, which they thrive on.”

The Flat-Panel Revolution

In the 11 years since its founding, Leon has evolved and expanded in order to meet industry demands. In the beginning, Leon’s products were a collaborative mix of the primary interests of the company’s two co-founders: Noah, a graduate of the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, and Jeff Gordon, a student at the University of Michigan music school. The first products featured an array of both traditional solid hardwood speakers and very non-traditional, wall-hanging speakers sculpted into works of art.

“Our wall-hanging products were very popular and were getting a lot of national attention,” said Jeff Gordon, CEO and co-founding partner. “We soon created our first product line, called PictureSound, which consisted of on-wall, flat-panel speakers with acoustically transparent, silk-screened decorative grills. They were only three inches deep and essentially appeared as framed artwork. They even showed up on the Discovery channel’s ‘Monster House’ featuring a Japanese silkscreened grille cloth for an episode called Zen House.”
 

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