The Vorne Learning Center is an educational resource for manufacturing best practices, with a strong focus on lean manufacturing. Our goal is to provide accurate, practical and easy-to-understand information on a broad range of topics.



Andon is derived from a Japanese term for a type of paper lantern. In manufacturing, Andon systems provide visual feedback to the plant floor. Typically, Andon systems indicate line status, show when assistance is needed (e.g. supervisor or maintenance calls), and empower operators to stop the production process (e.g. for quality issues).

Learn about Andon

Kaizen/Continuous Improvement

Kaizen is the Japanese term for continuous improvement, a strategy where companies and individuals work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements in the manufacturing process.

Learn about Kaizen

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics that facilitate achieving critical goals of the organization. The best manufacturing KPIs are aligned with top-level strategic goals, help expose and quantify waste, and can be readily influenced by plant floor personnel.

Learn about KPIs

Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing is a manufacturing methodology that is focused on eliminating waste, where waste is defined as anything that does not add value for the customer.

Learn about Lean Manufacturing

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a “best practices” metric for monitoring and improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes. It measures the percentage of planned production time that is truly and fully productive.

Learn about OEE

Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED)

Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) or “quick changeover” focuses on reducing the time it takes to changeover a production process from manufacturing one part to manufacturing the next part – ideally to less than 10 minutes. This enables smaller lots, less inventory, and a faster response to the marketplace.

Learn about SMED

Takt Time

Takt Time is the heartbeat of a lean organization. It is the pace of production that aligns production to customer demand. The term is derived from the German work Taktzeit, which loosely translated means “rhythmic time” or “keeping a beat”. Takt Time is calculated as Planned Production Time / Customer Demand.

Learn about Takt Time

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a holistic approach to maintenance that focuses on proactive and preventative maintenance to maximize the operational time of equipment. TPM blurs the distinction between maintenance and production by placing a strong emphasis on empowering operators to help maintain their equipment.

Learn about TPM

Toyota Production System (TPS)

Toyota Production System (TPS) is a manufacturing strategy developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan over a period of many years. TPS focuses on the complete elimination of waste from the manufacturing process, and is the progenitor of lean manufacturing.

Learn about TPS

Visual Factory

Visual Factory emphasizes the role of visual communication, and more broadly the role of information sharing, in empowering and motivating employees, and aligning their efforts with the goals of the company.

Learn about Visual Factory