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Originally, the SIPOC method was developed for Six-Sigma. There it is used in the define phase of a project. With the SIPOC diagram, business process managers illustrate the End-to-end process of certain business functions and operations.
The acronym SIPOC stands for the column names of a SIPOC diagram:
Such a diagram can be used for different purposes:
A SIPOC template is therefore used to create a SIPOC diagram. It contains 5 sections for each aspect one. With its help, process managers can more easily outline internal or external business processes.
The SIPOC diagram is a versatile tool for business processes that can be used in practice by any type of company. It is easiest to start by listing the process steps. In the SIPOC method, the elements of an SOP are divided into five categories to provide a rough overview of a business process. It is not a matter of carrying out a detailed process analysis.
The first point in the SIPOC diagram refers to an internal or external unit. This initiates the processing of requests and effectively serves as a supplier of input. In a restaurant, for example, this can be the customer who places an order.
The questions that process managers should ask themselves here are those about internal and external suppliers: Who provides the input factors?
Input refers to the requests or work orders provided by the supplier. In a restaurant, an external input would be the food order by the customer. In contrast, the assistant chef who supports the head chef would be an internal input.
In this process step you may ask yourself which input factors are necessary to perform it: information, materials, machines or services ?
The process refers to the standard procedures used by employees to fulfill a request from a supplier. In a restaurant, for example, this is the cook who prepares a dish in response to a customer's order. It is therefore important to ask yourself which standard procedure should be used.
The output is the final result after the supplier's input has gone through the standard process. The question that process managers ask themselves in this section of the SIPOC diagram is the question of the result. In a restaurant, for example, this is the finished dish that is served to the guest.
The output can be material, such as a finished product, components or assemblies, or immaterial, such as processed information in the form of a document (order confirmations, environmental reports, etc.).
In this process step, a distinction is also made between external and internal customers. It is asked for when the result is actually produced. In a restaurant, for example, it is the guest who has received and eaten the ordered dish. It also serves as a vendor. However, this does not always have to be the case.
It is useful to note down the departments or persons who carry out the process for each step of the process, so that it is immediately clear who is responsible for the process.
A SIPOC diagram can help companies of all kinds to standardize both external and internal processes. It just needs to be done correctly. Using the SIPOC method helps employees to work more efficiently by concentrating on the essentials. To do this, all unnecessary steps are removed from a process.
The following 3 tips will help you to use the SIPOC diagram successfully in your company:
1. Identify process
The process is the third column of the SIPOC diagram, but the core and purpose of the process breakdown. By clearly analyzing the business process, it is possible to determine what the process needs in order to be functional and successfully implemented.
2. Involve the whole team
The SIPOC method is not for lone fighters. Filling out a SIPOC template is a team task. It is best to involve all persons involved in the process or at least one representative from each department in the SIPOC brainstorming session. This saves time, as fewer revisions are needed if everyone involved is involved.
3. Limit entries
SIPOC diagrams is not a detailed process analysis, but rather is intended to provide an overview of an end-to-end business process. Therefore, the entries per column should be kept short and concise, and not get lost in details. Otherwise the SIPOC method misses its purpose and no longer offers a holistic view.
A successful company needs clearly defined and easily understandable SOPs. A mobile application such as Lumiform, with which SIPOC templates can be filled out at any time from anywhere in the team, is a valuable asset for any company.
The mobile app and desktop software is easy to understand and use. Lumiform offers less complexity in filling out a SIPOC diagram than cumbersome paper and Excel lists. The digital application offers room for error. This reduces the risk of loss of quality and damage to reputation.
Lumiform offers teams these additional advantages when creating a SIPOC diagram: