How to create, use Six Sigma SIPOC tool? Download SIPOC Template

What is SIPOC

SIPOC is a Six Sigma tool used in the phase 1 or the “Define Phase” of the DMAIC process, to gather information about any process. SIPOC stands for: Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Output and Customers. A SIPOC tool is usually an Excel spreadsheet which lists all the five elements into five columns as shown below. In this SIPOC diagram, we are describing a process of upgrading the memory of a laptop.

Six-Sigma-SIPOC-Tool

What does SIPOC Include?

SIPOC shows a clear understanding of the process by including:

  • All the Suppliers who provide the inputs and services to the process.
    • Suppliers are individuals or divisions that supply inputs to the process.
    • Suppliers can be can be internal such as department, division, or individuals
    • Suppliers can be external such as vendors, government.
    • It is also possible that a supplier is also a customer.
    • In our example of upgrading the memory of a Laptop process, the suppliers are:
      • The Mechanic who provides his services
      • The vendors who supply the Memory, tools,
      • The utility that supplies electricity.
  • All the Inputs needed, including all raw materials, services, information.
    • In our example of upgrading the memory of a Laptop process, the inputs are the Laptop, Memory, Tools, Electricity.
  • The Process as depicted as a sequence of actions represented by a Flowchart diagram.
  • Outputs of the process are the products, services, information that comes out of this process and is used by the Customers.
    • In our example process, the upgraded Laptop and the old memory modules removed from the laptop.
  • The customers are the users who will use the outputs produced by the process.
    • In our example process, the customer is the Owner of the laptop.

How to create a SIPOC

  • SIPOC creation is a team activity.
  • Brainstorming must be done to discover details about a process, especially if its a new process.
  • All the stakeholders of the process must be part of this brainstorming.
  • Brainstorming must be done for each of the five elements: suppliers, inputs, process, outputs and customers of SIPOC.
  • If the process is new, it is a good idea to start SIPOC from customer and move backwards to supplier.
  • For an existing process that needs to be documented, SIPOC diagram is best created by first defining the process flowchart, and then identify inputs, outputs, customers, and suppliers.

Advantages of SIPOC

  • Helps us understand the purpose and the scope of a process
  • If lists all the suppliers clearly so we can see who is supplying to the process.
  • It gives us insight in to all the inputs of a process
  • It gives us insight in to all the outputs of a process
  • Graphically shows the process as a flowchart/sequence of actions so the new team members can easily understand the process.
  • All the customers are clearly identified, who will use the process outputs.

What are the differences between QFD and SIPOC?

Even though both QFD and SIPOC are used in the define stage of DMAIC, they are different.

  • SIPOC helps define a process where as QFD is used to take the customer’s voice and translate into engineering/process requirements.
  • SIPOC identifies suppliers, Inputs, process, Outputs and Customers where as QFD is used after SIPOC to gather customers voice and translate into CTQs (critical to quality)
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