What is a SIPOC Model in Six Sigma?

The SIPOC is part of Six Sigma. It is one of the oldest and most trusted techniques for mapping critical business processes. The SIPOC Model stands to graphically map out their business process, giving them a comprehensive overview of all key elements of the process in the form of tables and charts.

The first step on any Six Sigma project is to decide whether the issue under consideration is right for the application of tools used in the methodology. There is even a method for determining what should become a Six Sigma project, a helpful tool especially if it is the organization’s first such project.

Motorola, Inc., developed in 1986 a unique quality control approach. The multinational telecommunications firm dubbed this Six Sigma methodology.

Jack Welch’s, then the CEO of General Electric in 1995, popularized Six Sigma and made it an integral part of GE’s global business strategies.

Six Sigma is a data-driven method that uses statistics to develop tools and techniques for lean manufacturing and process improvement.

What is a SIPOC Model?

SIPOC stands as shorthand for Suppliers’ Inputs Processes Outputs and Customers. SIPOC, in practical terms, is a way to describe and improve processes by summarizing inputs and outputs from one or more processes.

Six Sigma includes several stages. For example, Define Measure Analyze Improve and Control. DMAIC is the acronym for Define [D], measure [M], analyze [A], improve [I], control [C]. It is also known as Six Sigma DMAIC.

The SIPOC model is implemented by process management teams during the Measure stage of Six Sigma DMAIC to identify relevant factors for process improvement before work on a new project begins.

The SIPOC model encourages teams to consider important process elements such as the suppliers of the process (S), the inputs necessary to the process (I), the functions of the processes [P], and the outputs expected from the processes [O].

SIPOC is a visual tool that helps you understand the entire process from the beginning to the end. It provides valuable insight into the areas that are still causing major problems. The supplier may be responsible for the problem; it could be related to input specifications, processes or outputs that do not meet customer requirements.

SIPOC tables or diagrams are a wonderful way for teams, higher management, and all stakeholders, to troubleshoot and resolve process-related problems and develop strategies for improvement.

What is the history of SIPOC charts?

SIPOC diagrams date back to the 1980s, when they were developed as part of the Six Sigma model for continuous process improvement and total quality management. This technique is applied during the DMAIC cycle’s “definition phase” where project goals and challenges are defined. SIPOC is also a complement to lean production and business process improvement programs.

What Does SIPOC Mean?

What does SIPOC stand for?
SIPOC stands for?

The SIPOC chart maps out the inputs, outputs and stages of a particular process as a table. Below are the components of the acronym and their explanations:

1. Suppliers : The providers of inputs that directly impact the outputs. They can be either internal or external to the organization. For example, in a SIPOC diagram to upgrade a production line the suppliers could be a line operator, a maintenance team or a contractor. All of them have an impact on the outcome – upgrading the production line.

2. Inputs : resources (materials, equipment, data) required to complete a process and produce outputs. Suppliers provide these entities. The most important input should be captured. These can include electrical plans and diagrams, electrical installation and wiring, etc.

3. Process is the set of steps that makes up a particular process. It links the inputs and outputs of the processes. It is a high-level process map that includes 4-5 steps. Such steps include upgrading equipment, setting benchmark criteria for a new line and testing.

4. Outputs: The key products or services that result from the process. Inputs and outputs are both resources or actions completed. The outputs can be neutral and broad in nature, and they reflect the value demanded by the customer. Our engineering process includes a wide range of outputs, such as safety reports, test operations, energy savings reports, etc.

5. Customer: refers to anyone who benefits from process outputs. Suppliers and customers may be either internal or external to an organization. Engineering outputs can be used by the maintenance team, clients, partners, and even line operators.

Why SIPOC Diagrams are Important

A SIPOC diagram can be viewed as a form process map. The term process mapping describes the task of putting together a project’s objectives and, in some instances, steps to achieve those goals. This is a simple, but effective way to ensure that all project team members and executive leadership are on the same page.

The project overview is also available immediately.

The SIPOC diagram, in this case, provides a high-level process map. This is the type of diagram used by leaders to quickly explain projects and provide common references for all members. It can also help to identify problems and isolate areas which are not necessary or have little value.

The SIPOC Model: Key Components

In the service industry, companies usually use the C [Customer]-O [Outputs]-P [Process]-I [Inputs]-S [Suppliers] method. The COPIS method places ‘Customers first’ and then ‘Process,’ ‘Inputs,’ and ‘Suppliers.’

In the service industry, such as restaurants, the customer places their needs first and then receives the output (food), facilitated by the ‘Process,’ ‘Inputs,’ and ‘Suppliers.’

In the manufacturing industry, the SIPOC method is also used. However, most organizations use the P [Process]-O [Outputs]-C [Customers]-I [Inputs]-S [Suppliers] approach. The POCIS method starts with a ‘Process,’ followed by ‘Outputs,’ which generates the requirements of ‘Customers,’ supported by Inputs, and Suppliers.

The key components of SIPOC remain unchanged, regardless of how it is applied – S [Suppliers] I [Inputs] P [Process] O [Outputs] C [Customers]

What does SIPOC stand for?
What does SIPOC stand for?

Benefits of SIPOC

SIPOC has many benefits and can be useful in many ways. Improved problem-solving skills lead to better informed and improved process management.

SIPOC diagrams give a clear overview of the processes and ensure that all stakeholders are on one page. SIPOC is also the cornerstone for Six Sigma DMAIC, especially when DMAIC reaches the “Define and Measure” stage.

It optimizes business processes and improves efficiency while boosting revenue.

Why do we need the SIPOC Model

The SIPOC chart is a key model for business process improvement.

It keeps all employees informed, even new ones, about the various stages of a procedure by graphically representing them.

The SIPOC model can also help map out variations in the KPOV (Key Output Variable), a factor which results as a result of a process.

KPOV variations have a significant impact on manufacturing, performance, reliability, and efficiency. The correction of variations and the tracking down of those variations will result in seamless integration, improvements, and optimization.

How does the SIPOC stand to help in process improvement?

The SIPOC chart provides a clear view of the entire process and its follow-up.

This tool allows teams to communicate, visualize and understand processes.

Organizations can improve their processes by developing strategies based on a thorough understanding of the root causes of issues.

The SIPOC Model allows teams to determine how S [Suppliers], P [Processes], and I [Inputs] impact O [Outputs] or C [Customer] requirements.

Insights into the factors that affect customers can lead to significant improvements.

How have you implemented SIPOC Diagrams into your projects?

Tell us about it in the comments below!