Red Tags

In the factory or workshop, the possibility of items piling up in one place is rife. To prevent such a problem, facilities use the red tag method. This is simply a way of identifying the flagged items. When some employees have identified the items, everybody in the facility will know that somebody plans to remove them from that area. After the people in the workplace reach a consensus about that decision, they may move the item or let it stay.

Are you aware of the 5S implementation strategy? This strategy started in Japan immediately after World War II and has been perfected by Toyota. It refers to sorting, setting, shining, standardizing and sustaining in that order. The red tag strategy is within the first step, “sorting”.

How does the tag system work? This strategy follows steps that make sure that there are no errors when sorting items in the workplace. An employee identifies an idle item, and then the red tag attaches to it. If after some time another employee questions this decision, facility management may decide what to do with the item. They may opt to move the item to the red tag area or remove the tag. To prevent the area from becoming a dump site, items placed in this area may be collected within a stipulated time. Otherwise, the uncollected items may be disposed through auction or donation.

There are many types of tags, but the information on them is basically the same. The tag may bear the details of the person who tagged it, reason for removal of the item and the time that management intends to remove the item. If management plans to move this item to the tag area, more information is included in the tag.

The red tag area is away from the processing area and is for storage of tagged items. It is important for the Kaizen team to keep this area orderly and clean. Someone from the improvement team might need an item in the area and finding it is easy if the area is orderly.

Even here, items should have a stipulated shelf life. Generally, how long an item stays in this area depends on its usefulness and condition. To make this strategy even more efficient, factory management may consider using the online catalog approach. Also, it is advisable to make sure that the place does not become a dump site by setting relevant rules.

The Kaizen team is very important for any factory or workshop, but it is the red tag method that prevents instances of items going to the dump yard unnecessarily and abruptly. Every organization needs to have a well-managed red tag area to avoid disarray.

Most importantly, it is the duty of management to make sure that they train all people in the facility about Kaizen practices to avoid unnecessary delays and approvals. This method is simple, but it can easily become complicated. For the best results, the management should make sure that the red tag area is well-managed and ultimately complements the 5S process.

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