SIPOC Diagram: A Complete Guide to SIPOC Six Sigma

SIPOC is a renowned acronym used in the six sigma methodology. It is one of the oldest and trusted tools in six sigma which was introduced in the second half of the 20th century. SIPOC is one of the top-level process mapping techniques which is applied before taking up six sigma projects. Various stakeholders benefit from such kind of knowledge on the processes designed for a particular project. The SIPOC diagram technique helps in determining the relationship between various elements that are involved in satisfying customer needs.

SIPOC Diagram – A Six Sigma Tool

What is SIPOC Diagram?

SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers. The SIPOC diagram is a flowchart that represents the elements of SIPOC. Each process is matched against these elements for improvement before the project is undertaken. The SIPOC diagram helps in understanding each process from start to end prior to the implementation stage. Process management teams apply the SIPOC model to determine the suppliers of the process, requirements to the process, steps involved in the functioning of the process, expected results of the process, and the consumer who received the results.

Elements of SIPOC

Supplier: Every project needs to source its requirements from different entities. A supplier becomes the person who is providing these requirements to the organization. On identifying the suppliers, the first step of process mapping is complete.

Inputs: In this stage, the process management team gathers the inputs that can be sourced from the supplier. These inputs play a vital role in the whole process as it affects the outcomes of the six sigma project undertaken.

Process: This step describes the different stages involved in converting the inputs into outputs. Describing the steps helps the process team to understand the various activities that have to be informed.

Outputs: The outputs refer to the end results of the process. The outcomes can be in the form of products or services depending on the Six Sigma project undertaken. The process team needs to ensure whether the expected outcomes meet the customer’s needs.

Customer: the outcomes of a process are delivered to the end-users or customers. It is a very crucial role for the process team to determine who are the target customers of each process designed for the project.

Example of SIPOC Diagram

Here is the SIPOC diagram for the furniture manufacturing facility

Suppliers: Teakwood suppliers, plywood suppliers, rubberwood suppliers

Inputs: Order for customized furniture, work order for designing

Process: Carving the specific designs on wood, assembling the furniture as per the design

Outputs: Furniture set as per the design, invoice for the furniture, delivery date for shipping

Customer: Nuclear families living in small homes

The above-mentioned SIPOC diagram is used by process management teams for sharing it with stakeholders. The stakeholders then evaluate the process and further improvise if needed. The approved process is then applied by the team while taking up the project.

What are the benefits of SIPOC diagram?

The SIPOC diagram is graphically represented making it easier to be understood. It offers the complete picture of each process. The SIPOC diagram helps in identifying the problems and taking measures to improve the process. In addition, the elements of SIPOC provide insights on how the process can be modified to meet customer requirements. Let us have a look at the major benefits of the SIPOC diagram.

Increased transparency:

Following the SIPOC diagram helps process management teams to be transparent with stakeholders. Representing each process graphically ensures that all the stakeholders are on the same page.

Overview of the project:

All the process involved in carrying out a six sigma project is described through the SIPOC diagram. This helps necessary parties to get an overview of how the project will be executed by the organization.

The SIPOC diagram can be used to identify and resolve the problems arising out of a process. In addition, top management can take immediate action to improve a particular process, thereby enhancing the value of a project.

Provides a combined opinion:

Using the SIPOC diagram for process mapping ensures that the team members of process management are on the same page. The diagram helps in formulating a combined view for the processes represented.

Conclusion:

Several organizations are applying the traditional tool of SIPOC diagram for process improvement. Applying this six sigma tool requires individuals to be certified with six sigma certifications. According to a recent survey, large corporations look for professionals owning the certification in six sigma to enhance their efficiency and profitability.

There are different levels of Six Sigma certifications that can be pursued by individuals. They include Six Sigma Yellow belt, Green belt, and Black belt. Individuals can take up either of these certifications while pursuing a career in quality management. The certifications are internationally recognized, enabling professionals to land their dream jobs and earn higher salary packages.