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What Is SIPOC? Using the Diagram And Model Explained

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Wazobia Technologies

August 12, 2022

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INTRODUCTION

It's generally easier to visualize business processes while talking about them. A SIPOC diagram can convey the entire process to your team in an understandable manner.

SIPOC is a valuable tool for bringing your team's discussions into focus and achieving consensus on the next stage of work that needs to be done next.

It's also helpful in streamlining procedures.

In this guide, we consider SIPOC in more detail and real-world instances of its application, including an example of a SIPOC diagram. 

This article provides a practical explanation of the SIPOC model and helps you comprehend the definition and fundamentals of this effective quality management tool.


DEFINITION OF SIPOC  

SIPOC is a technique for accurately describing the transformation process within a firm that provides goods and services.

It is a tool for process improvement that summarises the inputs and outputs of a single or several processes in tables. The method of applying this paradigm is also known as process mapping. A so-called high-level process map is the final deliverable.

In table style, the SIPOC diagram depicts all inputs and outputs of a process.

Below are the components of the acronym:

 

Suppliers

This refers to the providers of process inputs that directly impact outputs. They may be organization members or external parties. For instance, in a SIPOC diagram for modernizing a production line, the suppliers may include a maintenance team, line operators, and contractors. All of these factors affect the output of the process, which is the implementation of a new manufacturing line.

 

Inputs

This term is for resources, material, equipment, or data necessary to complete a process and generate outputs. Suppliers furnish these entities. It is crucial to record the most critical inputs. These may involve the creation of electrical designs and drawings, preparing electrical installation and wiring, etc., as part of an engineering process.

 

Process

This comprises steps that make up a procedure. It links the process's inputs and outputs. It consists of four to five high-level phases.

For example, post-upgrading of the equipment, defining benchmark requirements for the new line, and testing are procedures that may be taken while upgrading a production line.

 

Outputs

 The primary products or services generated by a process. Inputs and outputs might be any resource or action that has been accomplished. Customer-required value is reflected in the deliverables' neutrality and breadth.

For example, our engineering method would generate various reports, including safety reports, test operation reports, and energy savings reports.

 

Customer 

This refers to anyone who benefits from the outputs of the process. Customers and suppliers can both be internal or external to an organization. For example, an engineering process's results recipients are the maintenance team, partners, end clients, and line operators.

 

HISTORY OF SIPOC  

SIPOC dates back to the 1980s and is integral to the entire quality movement.

Moreover, SIPOC is a component of Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, and business process management disciplines.

Utilizing project management software could facilitate the collection and organization of all SIPOC components.


WHAT IS A SIPOC MODEL?  

A SIPOC diagram is a table-based visual representation of business operations.

As mentioned earlier in this article, SIPOC is a business process map and an abbreviation for Supply, Inputs, Processes, Outputs and Customers.

There are several ways a process can be defined, from its inception through its completion.

When a high-level overview of current approaches is provided, the SIPOC technique aims to determine results, uncover inefficiencies, and spur efforts at process improvement. This is achieved by asking people for feedback to describe new and improved processes.

Some firms employ the reverse term 'COPIS', which places customer requirements first and demonstrates the customer's worth to the organization.

In reality, SIPOC is a process mapping and augmentation method that uses a SIPOC diagram to describe the inputs and outputs of one or more processes.

Using the SIPOC tool ensures that everyone involved in a project or process is on the same page, from new hires to stakeholders.

As a result, that which is at risk can be seen from all sides.

An increase in transparency aids in identifying wasteful activities and laying the groundwork for future problem-solving.

Even though it aids organizational alignment, the SIPOC method is a straightforward but overly simplified approach to process mapping and can be used in conjunction with other strategies.

Principal Elements of the SIPOC Model  

C   [Customer] 

O  [Outputs]

P   [Process] 

I    [Inputs]
 
S   [Suppliers]  is the typical structure followed by service-sector businesses.

Customers come first in the COPIS system, followed by Outputs, Processes, Inputs, and Suppliers.

This is because in the service sector, such as furniture stores, customers place their requests first and then receive the result (a piece of furniture ), which is made possible by 'Process,' 'Inputs,' and 'Suppliers'.

The manufacturing industry also uses the SIPOC model, while most businesses use the
P - O - C - I - S  framework.

In the POCIS methodology, 'Process' and 'Outputs' are the first two steps that generate 'Customer' needs, with 'Inputs' and 'Suppliers' providing support.

The essential components of the SIPOC model stay the same regardless of the mode of application:

S  [Suppliers]

I   [Inputs]

P  [Process]

O  [Outputs]

C  [Customers].

 

WHY DO YOU NEED THE SIPOC MODEL  

Now that we have understood the definition, history and processes of the SIPOC model, it is also important to note why your business or organization needs the SIPOC Model.

Here are some of the reasons why you need the SIPOC Model:

  • The SIPOC model permits teams to determine how S [Suppliers], I [Inputs], and P [Process] influence O [Outputs] and C [Customer] requirements.

  • It allows process management teams to perceive, comprehend, and communicate efficiently.

  • The SIPOC model provides a comprehensive picture of the entire process and subsequent actions.

  • With an in-depth understanding of the root causes of problems, businesses may build strategies to enhance processes. 

  • Actionable insights into factors that affect customers create significant changes for enhancement.

 

WHAT IS A SIPOC DIAGRAM: STEPS TO CREATE A SIPOC DIAGRAM  

The SIPOC diagram is an essential and simple-to-create visual tool. It assists in defining who provides the input to the process, what raw materials are included in the inputs, the process's client needs, and more.

A SIPOC diagram is meant to be a collaborative, creative endeavour. Therefore, engage all team members in frank conversation and idea generation.

Producing the chart should be a team effort, and if you gather the right individuals to assist you, it will be packed with essential information that will shape the project's next phase.

First, you must select a business process that will gain from creating a SIPOC.


Afterwards, follow these procedures to generate a SIPOC diagram:

 

1. Identify Suppliers

Who are the providers who will give you the inputs and materials you require?

They should appear here. There may be multiple suppliers for each input. In that case, please list them all. However, note that supplier is a term that refers to anyone directly influencing the outputs.

2. Determine Inputs

You must determine the raw materials and resources required to operate your business process.

Again, you are not required to list every single input; only the most significant, overarching ones are necessary.

3. Describe the Method

This phase summarises the business process. You can list only the four or five high-level stages of subjects and actions. This is similar to the beginning and finish of the process, or it might be a straightforward flowchart.

4. Define Outputs

Employ nouns when describing outputs. These may consist of things, goods, services, or data. 

5. Determine Customers

Define who will want the outputs of your business process and who you are targeting with these outputs. Customers might also be internal, including coworkers, board members, etc.

6. Analyze the Customer's Needs

What are the process specifications or requirements for the product, service, or data?

Typically, these are set by the customer or a regulatory agency.


SIPOC MODEL EXAMPLE  

For the preparation of a SIPOC table, process teams must be able to map the complete procedure. They must identify several aspects of the process, such as the suppliers, the inputs necessary for process execution, the product, and the client.

Let's see a practical yet straightforward SIPOC example: the creation of a furniture piece.

 

SUPPLIER

INPUT

PROCESSES

OUTPUT

CUSTOMER

Wood supplier

Request

Receipt of order

Completed payment for request

Furniture owner

Furniture equipment and tools kit supplier

Down-

payment to validate

order

 

Cutting and sawing wood pieces into the desired shape

A completed request

 

Customer representative

Carpenter

Sales Manager

Paying attention to specific details by customer (if any)

Informing the customer of their ready order

 

Furniture owner

Wood pieces for construction

Coupling the desired furniture piece

Schedule delivery time and date

 

Customer representative

 

Testing furniture and fittings

Printing of receipt

 

When the SIPOC diagram is complete, process management teams should distribute it to all stakeholders for evaluation, correction, and process optimization.

BENEFITS OF A SIPOC MODEL  

People who are new to a process can benefit from the SIPOC tool and those who want to align their views on the project's end aim. In addition, employees and stakeholders alike benefit from it.

Finally, the SIPOC paradigm can be advantageous when addressing obstacles and resolving difficulties inside business processes.

The following are some of SIPOC's most important benefits:

  • The SIPOC model is essential for improving corporate processes.

  • The SIPOC model also aids in determining fluctuations in KPOV (Key Process Output Variable), a variable that results from a process' output.

  • It keeps everyone, even new employees, informed of the many steps of a process by graphically portraying all of its components.

  • Variations in KPOV can significantly affect manufacturability, performance, dependability, and productivity. Tracing and fixing the variations will facilitate the process's integration, enhancement, and optimization.

  • Enhanced problem-solving skills result in enhanced and more informed process management.

  • It makes an organization's business processes and critical rules more transparent, making it easier for everyone to comprehend them.

  • SIPOC diagrams offer an understandable overview of processes, ensuring that all parties are on the same page. 

  • This optimizes corporate operations and increases productivity and revenue while reducing operational expenses.

 

APPLICATIONS OF THE SIPOC MODEL: WHEN TO USE A SIPOC MODEL  

Numerous applications can benefit from creating a SIPOC diagram, the most common being continuous improvement.

In addition, since a completed SIPOC diagram offers an overview of a process, it can be used to identify problem areas, conduct process analysis, and explain business activities to an audience. 

Moreover, a SIPOC diagram might be helpful when certain aspects of a process are unclear. For example, team members must identify and organize information such as supplier relationships, project specs, and target customers.


LIMITATIONS OF THE SIPOC MODEL   

The disadvantages of SIPOC diagrams stem from their simplicity. While it promotes organizational transparency, it is frequently insufficient to resolve process-related problems on its own.

The SIPOC model only effectively depicts high-level processes. Therefore, it will not provide the specific instructions necessary to, for example, compose a training manual or a user guide.

Here are the highlighted limitations:

  • First, SIPOC diagrams may not be enough for resolving process concerns.

  • Second, SIPOC is a straightforward method for process mapping.

  • Third, the SIPOC model works best when combined with other tools.

 

INDUSTRIES THAT USE SIPOC  

The SIPOC diagram is a complete process improvement tool that depicts a process along with its inputs and outputs on a single map accessible to everyone. Consequently, the business mapping concept applies to every industry, organization, and individual.

Here are some industries that can use the SIPOC Model:

  • Construction

  • HR

  • Tech

  • Services

  • Banking

  • Manufacturing

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SIPOC AND PROCESS MAP

Business process mapping is an organized approach to documenting what a firm process is, who is accountable for its completion, what its inputs and outputs are, and what constitutes a successful business.

On the other hand, value stream mapping is a Lean management technique that illustrates all the essential steps of a delivery process, visualizes work items, and facilitates conventional status reporting.

While the ultimate objective of a business process map is to help firms design more effective strategies, value stream mapping emphasizes the value created by each process stage. In addition, VSM pushes process modifications, whereas business process mapping aims to make existing processes more efficient.

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Wazobia Technologies

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