book types & parts production & publishing

SIPOC tool

The process map is an information type in the Information Mapping Method. Similarly, SIPOC is a tool from the Define and Measure phases of a Six Sigma project. SIPOC takes its name from Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers. These segments in the process map define where a process starts and ends. Here I’m going to show how the SIPOC tool is used to write process documentation. This is a quick exercise that serves process improvement.

  1. ID the process. Name the key point. What does it do? What is its purpose?
  2. ID the outputs. What happens, whether desirable or not. What are the deliverables, outcomes, and results.
  3. ID the customers. Who becomes the recipient? Think ‘voice of the customer’ and whether the customer is internal or external.
  4. ID the inputs. What series of events causes or triggers a process? Are they manual? Automatic?
  5. ID the suppliers. Who provides the resources? People? Systems?

SIPOC templates are readily available to help you sketch out this info using a particular flow. Or make your own template:

  1. Hold a piece of paper horizontally and fold it in fives.
  2. From left to right title each folded column, one letter per column, S-I-P-O-C.
  3. Then working in reverse from right to left identify the Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers.

By Pam Drucker

Documentation specialist, procedures writer

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