A SIPOC Map is high-level summary of the process. It provides a big picture view of the important elements of the process to gain deeper understanding of the context in which the process occurs. SIPOC is an acronym that stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and Customers.
SIPOC analysis is widely used in process design and improvement initiatives (such as Six Sigma) to identify important elements of a process, and to defines the scope of a project when it is too early for a detailed process mapping. The most common areas at which the SIPOC analysis is used are at the beginning process improvement initiatives during the Define phase of DMAIC, and during the planning phase of Kaizen events.
SIPOC analysis can be used before drawing a process map or a flowchart as it helps gather relevant information about the process. It can also be used when investigating a process to present the collected information on an easy-to-view format. And since it considers the outputs and requirements of the customer, it is a practical way of making sense of the ‘Voice of the Customer’.
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. It helps the team 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. 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.
Creating a SIPOC Map
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.
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.
The following is an example of a SIPOC map for a car purchasing process at a car dealership.
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.
Sometimes it is useful to display on the SIPOC map:
- Guidelines to describe the process.
- The resources that are required to transform the inputs into outputs.
- KPIs to ensure the capability of the process to meets customer requirements.