SIPOC Diagrams – Gathering Your Process Data

February 27, 2009 by  Filed under: Management 

When embarking on a business improvement project one of the first key tasks is to pull together all the relevant information on the process that you’ve set out to improve. Without a structured approach – detail could be missed and sessions to gather information unfocused and potentially ineffective. To facilitate detailed brainstorming on business processes the Six Sigma methodology provides the SIPOC tool that provides a method of collating relevant information about the business process under review.

SIPOC is divided into five sections

Supplier – any suppliers that provide an input into the process

Inputs – all inputs into the process

Process – usually captured as a high level business process flow chart

Outputs – Outputs that are generated from the process

Customers – customers of the outputs

SIPOC works best in brainstorming environments where a process is being assessed prior to embarking on an improvement project. The 5 SIPOC sections act as a prompt for the team members to think about each area in detail and capture key information.

One of the benefits of using a SIPOC diagram is that it’s fairly simple to use and doesn’t require expensive tools or software (it can be created using a pen and paper) the steps to producing a SIPOC diagram are as follows:

1/ Define the scope – identify the process being reviewed

2/ Create a basic chart with 5 Columns to represent each of the 5 SIPOC categories

3/ Identify Suppliers and annotate the diagram

4/ Identify Inputs and annotate the diagram

5/ Identify the process and draw a high level process flow

6/ Identify the outputs and annotate the diagram

7/ Identify the customers and annotate the diagram

8/ Validate with key stakeholders of the process

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