A SIPOC is a high-level process map with (ideally) 4-7 process steps. It should indicate only major processes, activities, and tasks. The scope should be evident with the start of the process being at the top of the form and the end of the process at the bottom.
Ensure the team members understand the project boundaries with a clear start of the process and end of the process that matches the scope defined in the project contract.
Team members should understand that items external to the scope are important BUT they are not included in this project OR it is negotiated in with approval of upper management and steering committee. These external process steps may make the project too large or can form the beginning of a new project.
All of the basic processes are listed with the inputs and outputs, from where and to where. The team should have common agreement on the suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, and customers by the end of this exercise.
1) List the process steps as they occur now from top under the "P" column. At the top is the start of process leading to the bottom to the final process step. Avoid devoting excess time in adding detail, the Detailed Process Mapping exercise in the MEASURE phase will provide this detail.
2) Given the scope of the project, the first process step should be defined as the start of the process just as spelled out in the project contract. The bottom process, should be the end of the project that this project is interested in.
3) Under the "O" column, list all the Outputs from each process and any specific requirements of each Output, add more as the customer specifications are clearer through the use of other tools such as Kano Model and Voice of the Customer.
4) List all the Suppliers to each process under the "S" column.
5) List the Inputs to the process they provide under the "I" column. Add specific requirements needed for each process to occur. Often times the customer is also the supplier of the inputs.
As a GB/BB, set a target to complete this form in one team meeting. It does not need to be perfect after the first attempt. It should be shared with others and refined as the customer specifications and input requirements become more refined. It should be complete, understood, and accepted before proceeding to the MEASURE phase.
The inputs (X's) are the sources of variation. The variation can result in defects whether it is from a system, gauge, part, or process is to be quantified when doing the Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA).
The inputs must be controlled and maintained under control to prevent defects and minimize their effect on the output. Resolving the root causes of the sources of variation is essential to meeting customer targets (output requirements) also known as the Voice of the Customer.
The figure below shows the linkage of this tool to others used in the DMAIC process.
A SIPOC template, along with several other templates and calculators with examples, is available by clicking here.
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