A Five S's program focuses on organization, cleanliness and standardization to improve profitability, efficiency, service and safety. The principles underlying a Five S program at first appear to be simple, obvious common sense. And they are. But until the advent of 5S programs many businesses ignored these basic principles.
The bottom line is that a 5S's program will improve profits, and at the same time improve both quality and safety. It does this by reducing wasted time and materials; improving daily or shift startup times; reducing maintenance and downtime; improving efficiency and productivity; improving employee morale; and simplifying the work environment.
Everyone and all types of business. Manufacturing and industrial plants come to mind first, as those are the business that can realize the greatest benefits. However, any type of business, from a retail store to a power plant -- from hospitals to television stations -- all types of businesses, and all areas within a business, will realize benefits from implementing a 5S program.
(Use the above links for more details about each of the Five S's)
The 5S Methodology is a part of the overall Lean Manufacturing System which includes methods such as kaizen and kanban. 5S is often the first lean method implemented, and it can have significant results at a very low cost.
The shipyard industry spent nearly a million dollars to develop a Five S program their industry could use, and to implement this program at two shipyards. On the other hand you can implement a Five S program without adding an extra dollar to your budget.
Realistically you probably will need to spend some extra money to get your Five S program going. There will be training time; man-hours spent to get your facility cleaned up and organized; equipment purchases, such as buying a quality labeling system; and time spend on sustaining your Five S program once it is in place.
Your actual costs will depend on where you are now - for example what is the condition of your facility? The further you are from meeting the goals of a Five S program, the more it will cost to implement one and the greater the benefits you'll see as a result of your Five S program. One way to implement a 5s program is through a visual workplace.