5S & Asset Tagging

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    • #92
      Mike Wilson

      To put it simply, asset tags are scannable equipment labels. They function in the same way and are usually made with the same vinyl adhesive material as equipment labels. But there is one important difference: rather than just relying on the messaging on the label to tell workers where equipment belongs, these tags use codes that, once scanned, tell team members precisely where it belongs, when it was last used, etc. Depending on the inventory-tracking system you use in conjunction with asset tagging, you should be able to search checkout history, which makes tracking down missing assets easier and quicker.

      Asset tagging allows inventory/facility managers to spend less time acting like detectives for lost items and more time focusing on how to make their facilities safer and more efficient. Using codes instead of the more manual process of equipment labeling reduces the chance of human error.

      Industrial settings have so many moving pieces to manage. There’s manufacturing to complete, equipment to maintain, safety standards to comply with, cleaning to do—you can add to this list forever. Any successful and efficient workplace is maintaining control of equipment, supplies, and inventory, but this part can be hard to track. With all the layers of work managers need to watch, maintaining any kind of organizational/tracking system for your company can be difficult, and can even feel insurmountable.

      Asset tagging improves production and reduces loss for companies in all fields of business. Equipment and tools are brought constantly to make workers’ jobs easier, and to make the facility more efficient, but these items can only have an impact if workers know that these tools are available, and, more importantly, are able to find them. Often times, these tools get used once, then end up in so darkened corner of a supply closet, or riding around in the maintenance truck, or just plain disappear.

      5S, the foundational concept of Lean manufacturing, states that a company improves its efficiency and organization by following these steps: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain.

      Asset tagging fit into the Set in Order stage of 5S. The Set in Order phase focuses on eliminating one of the 8 Wastes of Lean: Waiting. this stage of the process is intended to combat the time facilities lose waiting for machines to get fixed, production stages to finish, and workers to find the tools they need.

      Set in Order ensures that all items in a facility—tools, equipment, etc.—has a designated place. How does labeling and asset tagging fit into this? It’s simple: these visual tools help ensure that the organizational system for Set in Order is followed. In this way, labeling and tagging helps with the Sustain stage of the 5S process as well.

      Has your business tried to implement a 5S asset tagging system? Let us know what you learned and any tips you would like to share!

    • #128

      We implemented Asset Tagging in our last 5S project and it has been running strong ever since. It helps us keep more organized and has saved us by being able to find the right tools for the right machine. I highly recommend implementing Asset Tagging in your next 5S project.

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