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Posts Tagged ‘red tag’

What is 5S?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

A Place for Everything and Everything in it’s Place. 

Does this describe your work areas?

• Space is crowded with parts and tools
• Unneeded items are stacked between workers
• Excess inventory on the floor
• Excess items and machines make it difficult to make improve process flow
• Equipment is contaminated and a collection point for miscellaneous materials
• Needed equipment such as tools are difficult to find
• All of the above create an unsafe work environment
• Tasks and processes take different times and are unpredictable

Based on the Japanese words that begin with ’S’, the philosophy of 5S focuses on effective work place organization and standardized work procedures. 5S reduces waste and non value added activities, simplifies work environment and in the mean time improves quality efficiency and safety.
5S is a methodology for organizing cleaning, developing, and sustaining a productive work environment.

What are the 5S’s?

Step 1 – Sort – get rid of clutter

The first step focuses on eliminating unnecessary items from the workplace. An effective visual method to identify these unneeded items is called red tagging. A red tag is placed on all items not required to complete your job. These items are then moved to a central holding area. This process is for evaluation of the red tag items. Occasionally used items are moved to a more organized storage location outside of the work area while unneeded items are discarded. Sorting is an excellent way to free up valuable floor space and eliminate such things as broken tools, obsolete jigs and fixtures, scrap and excess raw material.  This step will also help with the „just in case” attitude.

Step 2 – Set in order – organize the work area

This step is based on finding efficient and effective storage methods.
You must evaluate the number of necessary items, the locations of those items and also evaluate what you need to do your job. Effective ways to set in order can be such as painting floors, using shadow boards, modular shelving and cabinets for frequently needed items etc. Just imagine how much time the employees waste every day looking for the proper tools for a maintenance activity. The philosophy must be this: „A place for everything and everything in it’s place.”

Step 3 – Shine – Clean the work area

Once you have eliminated junk and clutter and identified necessary items you are ready to take the next step: clean the work area. Daily follow-up is a must for this activity to sustain this improvement. This step will create ownership and build pride in the workers that they have a clean and clutter-free work area. This will also help the people notice changes in equipment and the production area such as: leaks, vibration, misalignment, breakage etc. If these abnormalities are left unattended they can lead to serious equipment failure and loss of quality, speed, production etc. These all add up to impact your company’s bottom line.

Step 4 – Standardize – Use standard methods to keep the good condition

Once the first three steps of 5S are implemented focus must be put on standardizing the best practice in the work areas. Give opportunities to employees to take active part in the development of these standards. All the workers area if given an opportunity can be a valuable source of information regarding their work.

Step 5 – Sustain – Maintain through discipline, commitment and empowerment

This is the most difficult part of 5S to implement. Human nature is hard to change. People often want to return to the old ways of doing things. Sustain focuses on defining a new mindset and a standard in workplace organization.

The fully implemented 5S will have a positive effect on everyone. People will feel better about their work place and the work they are doing. The benefits are endless. You will have improved safety, improved moral, improved productivity, and improved maintenance.



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