Fundamental Mistakes in 5S: Part 3

3. Not deciding time for action on Red Tag

Deadline for removing RED TAG

“Removing a Red Tag is more important than putting a Red Tag.” Usually the top management that starts 5S activity is not aware that the during the 1s (Seiri) activity, they would have to take timely decision on many items (especially if you are doing 5S for the first time).

As mentioned in my earlier post there are three agencies involved in 1s (Seiri) activity.

  1. Those who put the Red Tag / decide 1s items.
  2. Those who take decision
  3. Those who actually dispose the material.

It is usually easy to put Red Tag, but the bottleneck is “Decision” on 1s items. This responsibility most often lies with the senior management. If they do not give timely decision on these items and it keeps delaying the entire program / initiative / drive. In fact there are lot of side effects of not taking timely decision

  1. Loosing trust of the team on the entire 5S initiative.
  2. Delaying initiative will demoralize employees.
  3. You cant do 2s without 1s. (There is no point in just beautifying unnecessary items)

Case 1: In one company after doing 1s activity, it was found that the decision was not taken to discard / reuse / modify the red tag items. Upon investigation it was found that those items were procured for a project 10 years back. Management was thinking it can be used in future project. But further investigation revealed that design of those items no more is being used in new project.

Some of the excuses of not taking timely decision on 1s items is

  1. May be used later – Just check the reality. If it is not used for past 2 years, it may not be needed.
  2. Emotional Attachment – Sometimes there is emotional attachment to certain items. Some old machine, some old documents etc. People just cant discard those items because it is having some emotional connection.
  3. Looking for better scrap value – May be we will get some better deal on scrap value of those items. let’s wait is most common excuse for not taking decision on 1s items.

Here are some tips to get rid of this problem.

  1. Decide timeline for Red Tags e.g. max 3 weeks to take decision, max 3 months to dispose 1s items.
  2. Create a committee to take decision on Red Tag rather than depending on a single person to take decision.
  3. Decide review frequency for Red Tag Zone. – In one of the company they decided to keep red tag items near the main entrance of the company, to ensure everyone passing by ses it and takes timely decision.

Next time you see a red tag item laying there for more than 3 weeks without decision, discuss this with concern person.

Keep Improving!

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