In any business, starting 5S can seem like an overwhelming task. Although the benefits are vast, the idea of organizing and sorting through hundreds of items in the workplace can leave one questioning the best way to start. I mean, you can’t just snap your fingers and miraculously meet your 5S goals, right?
But the sorting process, also known as the first step in 5S, doesn’t have to be hard with 5S red tags.
Use 5S red tags to identify items in the work area that don’t bring value, haven’t been used in a while, and/or need to be disposed of. Before you tag items, identify the item type, reason for tagging, the appropriate action, and date and initial it. The idea is to sort items so it’s easier to organize your workspace. Sort the items you need and if they’re not being used move them out.
An additional benefit of red tagging, since it’s usually the first step in implementing 5S, is that it motivates people to start changing behaviors. Rather than simply dumping stuff in a corner somewhere or letting unnecessary materials take up valuable space, the workforce starts to consider the impact of their actions.
With the 5S red tagging system, you don’t have to figure out why an item is placed in a specific location - just look at the tag that’s been placed on the item and determine what you need to do with it.
Eliminate items that are unnecessary or misplaced by moving them to a designated red tag area. With a red tagging system, you can answer questions such as, what is this, should I keep it, store it, or dispose of it?
So how long should items stay in the red tag area?
To have a successful 5S red tagging system, a team member should be held accountable for ensuring the items in the designated space are moving out of the area on a timely basis. Continuously monitoring the red tag area will keep unnecessary items moved to the right locations.
Remember, the red tag area is a temporary location for items, not a forever home. At most, items should stay in the holding area for no longer than a month – or until you’ve determined whether they bring value or waste into your business.
Think of 5S red tags as a visual management tool that helps your team successfully sort items around your facility.
You can optimize the organization in your workplace with your red tag program when:
Keep your red tagging system beneficial to your business – not a dumping ground of unwanted or questionable items. Holding your workers accountable for sorting items to the appropriate locations is the key to a successful 5S red tagging system.
Stay on top of items that need to be sorted throughout your workplace, so you can create organization and eliminate waste.