Resource: SIPOC: Suppliers, Input, Process, Output & Customers
A SIPOC diagram is a tool used by a team to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project before work begins. It helps define a complex project that may not be well scoped. It is similar and related Process Mapping , but provides additional detail. The SIPOC tool is particularly useful when it is not clear:
• Who supplies Inputs to the process?
• What specifications are placed on the Inputs?
• Who are the true Customers of the process?
• What are the Requirements of the customers?
Suppliers: The entities that provide whatever is worked on in the process (information, forms, material). The supplier may be an outside vendor or another division or a coworker (as an internal supplier).
Input: The information or material provided by the supplier and used by the process.
Process: The steps used to convert inputs into outputs. (some steps are value added and some are not value added)
Output: The product, service or information being sent to the customer.
This is ‘VALUE’ it is what the customer pays for. Value can be stated as:
– The customer is willing to pay for the product or service
– Some physical change occurs
– Done right the first time
Customers: The next step in the process, or the final (external) customer(s).
A SIPOC diagram is typically is completed in the following way:
• Identify the Outputs of this Process first.
• Identify the Customers that will receive the Outputs of this Process.
• Identify the Inputs required for the Process to function properly.
• Identify the Suppliers of the Inputs that are required by the Process.
• Optional: Identify the preliminary requirements of the Customers. This will be verified during a later step of the Six Sigma measurement phase.
• Repeat if more detail is needed
• Review the diagram with the process owners or stakeholders for verification.
SIPOC diagram and process elements
•Any change in process output (O) will be related to one or morechanges in supplier, inputs or process actions (SIPs)
•If all SIPsare stable, the output (O) will be stable.
•A change in O means that one or more of the SIPsmust have changed.
•Apparent violation of above rules indicate that the process model is incomplete (an SIP or O is missing )
•If one or more of the SIPschange significantly, the Os may or may not change
•If they do, SIP changes may be used to predict and control changes in O.
•If not, the SIPsbeing changed are insensitive/redundant/or robust, and may provide process saving opportunities
•Closed-loop relationship between SIPsand Os provide a method to define process correlations and possible cause-effect relationships.
Six Sigma relies on the SIPOC model to create, monitor and improve close-loop business system
For process management, process improvement, and process design/redesign. SIPOC help everyone ‘see’the business from an overall process perspective by:
•Display cross functional activities in simple diagrams (process flow chart)
•Providing a framework applicable to process of all sizes
•Helping maintain the big picture business perspective
•Providing methods for detail as needed
When process flow chart are used with SIPOC model, business process monitoring, control, Understanding and improvement are greatly enhanced.