The 5S methodology was developed in Japan, and was identified as one of the techniques that enabled Just-in-time manufacturing.
Two major frameworks for understanding and applying 5S to business environments have arisen, one proposed by Osada, the other by Hirano. Hirano provided a structure to improve programs with a series of identifiable steps, each building on its predecessor.
The 5S methodology has expanded from manufacturing and is now being applied to a wide variety of industries including healthcare, education, and government. Visual management and 5S can be particularly beneficial in healthcare because a frantic search for supplies to treat an in-trouble patient can have dire consequences. Although the origins of the 5S methodology are in manufacturing, it can also be applied to knowledge economy work, with information, software, or media in the place of physical product.
Enjoy this informational video on 5S.