SIPOC is an acronym representing Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer and is an effective means of generating a high level process map for the purpose of documenting a process. Also commonly written as COPIS, which puts the customer first and enforces a deeper focus on the customer’s needs over the organization’s process.
When to Use a SIPOC
The purpose of this tool is to identify at a fairly high level, the most relevant five to six steps of a process – this is an effective way to quickly coordinate a team’s activities and focus. If you have a process with steps A, B, C, D, E – and you only want to focus on steps C and D, you quickly map out all steps, A to E, and state that only steps C and D are in scope for this project.
SIPOC is an Acronym meaning,
- Supplier: Whomever provides the input into the process
- Input: Material (physical or data) sent to process for action
- Process: Action placed on the material inputted that must be performed to satisfy the customer’s requirement. This is where the action happens.
- Output: Resulting transformed material from the process per the customer’s requirement
- Customer: Process output recipient, may be internal or external. Also defines the requirements for the output. The external customer is the final user that initiated the process, where an internal customer may be someone else within the organization that further refines the output in additional processes for the external customer.
How to Use a SIPOC,
A good practice when process mapping is to begin at the customer and essentially answer the below questions. This method of starting at the process end builds a customer centric map potentially reducing the addition of bias into the analysis.
- Who is the customer?
- What is the customer requesting?
- How s this request fulfilled?
- What materials or information is needed to fulfill the request?
- Who supplies these materials?
NOTE: It may be useful at the end of creating a SIPOC beginning at the customer, re-write the process beginning with your organization’s process and identify non-value added inputs and processes for improvement or elimination.
While completing a SIPOC,you will likely find multiple processes with multiple inputs on a single map – and this is expected! See the below example on a completed SIPOC for a forged combination wrench.
In the above example, you can quickly see the high level process for creating the wrenches. In this example, you may notice multiple customers including a secondary customer segment, “Metal Recycler”. In this process, you can identify where each output of the process is going by separating the products.
3D SIPOC – Great for Internal Customer Management
Let’s say you have a very long process with many inputs and outputs throughout and you desire to have more details on your map. In this case, you can use a 3D SIPOC where each column represents a different process (Let’s call these swimlanes). Each of these swimlanes functions just as the previously described SIPOC where there is a supplier, input, process, output, and customer. In this case, the customer of one process, may become the supplier for the next. This is a great tool for managing internal process mapping.
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