Also known as SIPOC mapping, COPIS and System Analysis.
Variants include IPO.
A SIPOC Map is high-level summary of a process. It provides a big picture view of the key elements of the process to understand the context in which the process occurs. It represents the flow of the process and its key elements in a table format. SIPOC is an acronym that stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and Customers.
SIPOC analysis is widely used in process design and process improvement initiatives such as Lean Six Sigma to define the scope and boundaries of the process. This will help to gather relevant information about the process when it is too early for a detailed process map or flowchart. SIPOC analysis can also be used when investigating a process to present the information in a format that is easy to view and understand. And since it considers the customers and their needs, it is a practical way to make sense of the Voice of the Customer.
SIPOC analysis is often conducted at the beginning of the process improvement initiative during the Define phase of the DMAIC methodology or during the planning phase of Kaizen events.
In project management, SIPOC analysis provides focus to the team and allows other stakeholders to agree on the project scope and the core process involved. It can also help the team to start thinking in terms of cause and effect and to see the relationships between process inputs and outputs. Eventually, the team will start to identify potential gaps such as unnecessary inputs, outputs that customers don’t want, and process steps that add no value.
In order to create a SIPOC map, you have to specify the main activities of the process and identify the potential suppliers, inputs, outputs, and customers.
SIPOC analysis is a team effort, and the team should include people with enough knowledge of the process.
Conducting a SIPOC Analysis
A SIPOC map can be created quickly by drawing a table of five columns then title them respectively as: suppliers, inputs, process, outputs and customers. You can then add each of the SIPOC elements in the appropriate column. The following steps describe how to create a SIPOC map with your team.
- Clearly explain the purpose for creating the SIPOC map.
- Hang out five large flip-charts to allow the team to provide their input on each of the five elements.
- Begin with the process by writing the key highest-level steps.
- Use brainstorming to identify the primary outputs of the process, then identify the customers who will receive those outputs.
- Use brainstorming to identify the primary inputs required for the process to function properly, then identify the suppliers of those inputs.
- Take time to ensure the appropriateness and completeness of the recorded information.
Example – Idea Generation and Implementation
The following is an example of a SIPOC map for an idea generation and implementation process. Note how the example shows the major process steps, the primary process inputs and outputs, and the key customers and suppliers.
The following is the same SIPOC map where the process has been expanded at the bottom of the table to present it in a process map format.
Example – Purchasing a Car
The following is an example of a SIPOC map for a car purchasing process at a car dealership.
Example – Conducting a Job Interview
This is an example of a SIPOC map for conducting job interviews during a recruitment process in a company.
There are many tools that can help you to prepare SIPOC maps. One of the simplest ways is to use this SIPOC map template.
If you want to use the following three documents in your training courses, the PPTX versions are available to buy from our Shop page.