When it comes to kaizen there are some fundamental building blocks that establish foundations for improving the organization.

Of these 5s is commonly seen as a methodology used to optimize the workplace. Usually deployed at the commencement of improvement or lean manufacturing initiatives, 5s can help optimize in a variety of ways.

5s itself stands for
• Sorting
• Straightening
• Sweeping/Shining
• Standardizing
• Sustaining (which implies regular 5s activities)

The key benefit of 5s is establishing a working environment or workplace that is fit for duty where only those tools or objects required by the worker are present and the operative is able to carry out his duties with minimal disruption or delay.

5s and the Red Tag Process

The red tagging procedure varies organization to organizaiton but will typically contain the following activities.

1/ The workplace is reviewed and objects are sorted
2/ Items that are not required by the worker get given a “red tag” and relocated in a review area

3/ Once “sort” is completed all objects that have been red tagged are assessed
4/ If not required or surplus the object is discarded or scrapped
5/ Where the item is needed or belongs to another workplace the object is then processed accordingly (either moved or stored).

As part of the activity, workers should sort items at their workplace and remove items that are not required. These items are usually tagged (with a red tag) and removed to a review area, to ascertain need, before being disposed or moved.

The actual red tag itself isn’t significant – they can be purchased or indeed made in house – what is important is the information the card carries. It should include relevant information such as where the item was previously located, the reason for it being tagged and removed together with a contact

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