quality 1


 The more inventory a company has, the less likely they will have what they need. 

Taiichi Ohno
The Father of the Toyota Production System

The inspiration for Equation1 Vortex™ is from the now famous just-in-time replenishment system, called Kanban at Toyota, developed by Taiichi Ohno.  This system transformed the flow of parts within the supply system on a day-to-day basis.  Parts would  be produced at up-stream steps only if there was demand at the next down-stream step.  As a container carrying parts to the next step was depleted, it was sent back to the previous up-stream step as a signal to produce more parts.

The results were extraordinary, enabling Toyota to increase productivity, improve quality, and respond to market changes while utilizing less factory space.

But we experienced during years of operations consulting experience in North America and Europe that non-repetitive manufacturers struggled, mostly unsuccessfully to implement this Kanban system. The complexity of their workflows and rapid changing of product mix made Kanban demand-pull impractical. This just-in-time lean production system has not been available to non-repetitive Discrete Manufacturers or to the Semiconductor Fabrication industry, until now with the Equation1 Vortex™ time-based demand-pull, real-time production dispatching software.

It's about time!

U.S. Auto Industry Crushed


The Japanese automobile company, Toyota, introduced products produced with the Toyota Production System, TPS, in 1958 and slowly set fire to the US auto industry. Over the next 40-years, the TPS was a key component in enabling Toyota to overtake GM as the #1 selling car brand in the US, even though the US automakers did their best to emulate it.

One of the primary elements of TPS that allowed Toyota to be so efficient is demand-pull production dispatching, or the Kanban system in their idiom.

kanban management

The Kanban System Results were Stunning

40% Less Factory Space
By dramatically reducing factory inventories, Ohno's Kanban system reduced factory space by 40%. *
50% Less Touch Labor
The improvements in quality and reductions of waste enabled by demand-pull dispatching resulted in dramatic labor reductions. *
66% Fewer Defects
Defects discovered during the production process, stopped upstream activities from producing more and the result was a 66% reduction in defects. *
99% Less Inventory
While General Motors carried 2 weeks of factory inventory, the Kanban system enabled Toyota to carry only 2 hours! *

* Womack, James P., et al. The Machine That Changed The World. Free Press, 1990.

kanban management

Kanban Introduced in North America


Fast forward to 1984, when the Toyota Production System was introduced to North America.  Kanban (Just-in-time) replenishment systems were introduced into repetitive discrete product manufacturing environments and U.S. manufacturers reaped a 2 to 10x reduction in cycle-times and inventories.  Quality improves and costs are reduced.

Left Behind – Until Today


vortex blue logo time tag

Manufacturers dramatically reduce WIP and cycle time through the adoption of Kanban demand-pull systems.  While practical for repetitive discrete manufacturers, Kanban, which relies on unit-replenishment, is impractical or even impossible for high-mix and semiconductor manufacturers that are not able to pull production using the same-unit replenishment due to the complexity of product mix and workflows. Nearly 5000 enterprises, representing 1.3 M employees and over $250B in annual revenue are left behind, until today.

Our team has been involved in the transformation of factories for over 30-years and has struggled with the implementation of demand-pull in complex workflow environments. From the struggle was born the Time-based Demand-pull System (TDPS) technology and it is now available to your team.

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