What is 5S Red Tagging

Guide: 5S Red Tagging

5S Red Tagging is a technique used during the Sort phase of 5S. Items that are not immediately necessary are tagged with a red label and moved to a designated area to decide their fate - whether to keep, discard, or relocate.
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Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is an experienced continuous improvement manager with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. With more than ten years of experience applying his skills across various industries, Daniel specializes in optimizing processes and improving efficiency. His approach combines practical experience with a deep understanding of business fundamentals to drive meaningful change.

5S Red Tagging is a useful decision-making tool that’s part of the broader 5S methodology, aimed at improving workplace organization. This simple yet effective process helps you identify and remove unnecessary items in your workspace. By tagging and temporarily relocating these items, you can create a cleaner, safer, and more productive environment. Sort and Red Tagging is a crucial first step in implementing 5S.


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What is 5S Red Tagging?

5S Red Tagging is an important tool that is used in the 5S methodology. This has five stages: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Red Tagging comes into play primarily during the first stage, “Sort,” where the aim is to declutter the area by identifying unnecessary items and removing the.

In the Red Tagging process, items that are not immediately obvious they are needed for operations are tagged with a red label or “Red Tag.” These tags generally contain information such as the item’s name, location, and the date it was tagged, you can see any example of the tag below. 

5S Red Tag Template

You can download our 5S Red Tag Template from the Templates section.

Once an items is tagged, they are moved to a designated “Red Tag Area,” a temporary location where they are held for evaluation. Over a predetermined period with could be 30 days but differs from business to business depending on the business requirements. The tagged items are either given a set in order (standard place) if the item is required or are discarded, recycled, or relocated if not required in the area.

By marking and isolating items in this way, the Red Tagging serves as a visual management tool that brings attention to clutter and inefficiencies in the area and helps to establish what is necessary and what isn’t, thereby setting the stage for the remaining steps in the 5S process.

What is Needed to Implement 5S Red Tagging?

  • Red Tags – Find them in our Templates section.
  • Marker Pens – To fill in the details on the tags
  • 5S Red Tag Area – A designated 5S red tagging zone to put items that are red-tagged.
  • Clipboard and Paper – To note down what is Red tagged and why and when to follow up for a decision on each item as well as the decision made.


How to Implement 5S Red Tagging

Step 1: Preparation

Tran your team of the Red tag process and allocate roles within the team. The operators or employees of the area should be involved and take ownership of the process. If this process is done without them it can result in incorrect decisions being made.

Step 2: Identification

Walk around the area and identify all items that are not needed for current operations or that you are not sure are needed. Attach a red tag to each item.


Step 3: Documentation

For each tagged item, record key details such as description, location, and any other relevant information.

Step 4: More to Reg Tag Area

Move the tagged items into the identified red tag area for further evaluation.

Step 5: Evaluation

After a determined amount of time, which could either be a week or a month depending on the suitable needs of the area, evaluate the items in the Red Tag area and decide if they should be kept, discarded, or relocated to a useful area.

Step 6: Finalize

Update the documentation of the 5S Red-tagged items with the decision and act accordingly.


5S Red Tagging is a useful tool in the 5S methodology, specifically helpful in the initial “Sort” stage. This technique assists organizations in decluttering area by marking non-essential items with a red tag and relocating them for later assessment.

The red tags act as an indicator, drawing attention to unnecessary clutter. Implementing Red Tagging is not just a cleaning exercise but a stepping stone to a holistic approach for continuous improvement in any organization.


A: The purpose of 5S Red Tagging is to eliminate unnecessary items from the workplace, declutter the environment, improve efficiency, safety, and productivity.

A: 5S Red Tagging is an ongoing process that should be incorporated into regular workplace routines. Conducting it periodically, such as quarterly or annually, helps maintain an organized and clutter-free workspace.

A: The red tagging process should involve all team members and stakeholders who interact with the workplace environment. Encouraging active participation from employees across different departments enhances the effectiveness of the process.

A: The disposal of tagged items should be done following your organization’s policies and any applicable regulations. Consider recycling, donating usable items, or selling items in good condition. Proper documentation of the disposal process is essential.

A: To sustain the benefits, incorporate the principles of 5S into daily work routines. Conduct regular audits, promote ongoing organization, and encourage team members to be proactive in maintaining a clean and clutter-free workspace.

A: No, 5S Red Tagging can be implemented in any workplace setting, including offices, healthcare facilities, retail stores, and more. The principles of organization, efficiency, and safety are universal and can benefit any type of workplace.

A: The duration of the 5S Red Tagging process can vary depending on the size of the workplace, the number of areas to be assessed, and the amount of clutter present. It is best to allocate sufficient time to ensure a thorough evaluation and decision-making process.

A: While an individual can initiate the 5S Red Tagging process, it is most effective when done as a team effort. Involving multiple team members allows for diverse perspectives, better identification of unnecessary items, and fosters a sense of ownership and accountability among the team. Collaboration also enhances the overall success of the process.


Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is a seasoned continuous improvement manager with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. With over 10 years of real-world application experience across diverse sectors, Daniel has a passion for optimizing processes and fostering a culture of efficiency. He's not just a practitioner but also an avid learner, constantly seeking to expand his knowledge. Outside of his professional life, Daniel has a keen Investing, statistics and knowledge-sharing, which led him to create the website learnleansigma.com, a platform dedicated to Lean Six Sigma and process improvement insights.

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