What is a SIPOC?
A SIPOC is a high-level process mapping tool to help visualize a process and its influences. In other words, it is a useful tool that depicts how a process serves the customer and summarizes inputs and outputs of a process in a visual format.
The acronym for SIPOC stands for Supplier, Input, Process, Output, and customer. However, the construction of SIPOC always involves identifying the process, output of the process, then identifying the customer receiving the outputs followed by identifying the inputs and then suppliers of the inputs. So, often it is called POCIS diagram.
When Do You Use It?
Creating SIPOC is very beneficial in continuous improvement projects like Six Sigma. Moreover, Internal inputs and processes are usually accessible for a DMAIC team to access in the define phase. Hence, SIPOC is often used in the Define phase of DMAIC.
Additionally, SIPOC is very useful when part of the process is unclear. SIPOC helps teams, top management, and also other stakeholders resolve process-related issues and plan appropriate strategies for improvements.
Why Use a SIPOC?
SIPOC is one of the primary factors for process improvement. Moreover, the diagram helps the team, and the sponsor agrees on the project boundary and scope. While KPOVs and KPIVs can have a high impact on manufacturability, serviceability, reliability, and product efficiency. And also it will help to determine the variation in Key process input variables (KVIPs) and Key process output variables (KPOVs).
How to create a SIPOC?
SIPOC is a table that documents the process, output, customer, input, and supplier in a table format with the help of the following steps
- Identify the process: Identify the process for which SIPOC to be created. Identify the process as a team.
- Define the process steps: Process is a defined sequence of activities, usually adds value to inputs to produce outputs for the customers. High-level process flow covers a maximum of 7 steps, otherwise, it is hard to follow. Additionally, use an Affinity Diagram to reduce larger processes to a few key steps.
- List down the Outputs: Outputs are the products, services, and/or information that are valuable to the customers. This includes anything ranging from product, materials, or services delivers to the customer.
- Identify the Customers: Customers are the users of the outputs produced by the process. Moreover, customers are not always outside of the organization; they may be internal stakeholders as well.
- Determine the Inputs required for the process: Inputs define the material, service and/or information that are used by the process to produce the outputs. An input plays a vital role, as the variation in inputs impacts the output.
- Identify the Suppliers: Suppliers provide inputs to the process. Not only external suppliers also covers internal suppliers.
- Validate the diagram: once it completes, share with all relevant stakeholders and validate it before moving to the process improvement stage.
- Helps to define the new process
- It provides a project overview for all the stakeholders
- Provides a high-level project overview to the top management
- Problem-solving initiative
- Provides input and output information for key processes
- Ensures all the stakeholders on the same page
Example SIPOC in a DMAIC Project
Example: ABC chocolate factory in Houston working on process improvement activities using Six Sigma. During the Define phase, team developing SIPOC to know how a chocolate manufacturing process serves the customer and summarizes inputs and outputs of a process in a visual format.
- Identify the process: Chocolate manufacturing process
- Define the process steps: Following are the high-level process.
- Input goods inspection
- Meltdown chocolate blocks in warmers
- Add ingredients into the chocolate paste
- Temper verification
- Chocolate line production and packing
- List down the Outputs: Following are the outputs at various stages
- Approved batches of chocolate blocks and Ingredients
- Chocolate paste
- Chocolate chips
- Acceptable chocolate chips
- Packaged chocolate chips
- Identify the Customers: Wholesalers and Retailers.
- Determine the Inputs required for the process: Following are the inputs required at various stages of operations
- Potato chips and raw chocolate blocks
- Coating ingredients
- Chocolate Paste & Ingredients
- Chocolate Chips
- Properly tempered chocolate chips
- Identify the Suppliers: Following are the suppliers – Draino Inc and Coco Ingredients Inc provides inputs for the manufacturing unit.
- Validate diagram: Finally, Validate it with relevant stakeholders within the organization.