iSixSigma

Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Output, Customers (SIPOC)

Definition of Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Output, Customers (SIPOC):

« Back to Glossary Index

SIPOC is a high-level process map of your extended process. Let’s explore what SIPOC is, how to make one, and look at an example.

Overview: What is SIPOC? 

SIPOC is used in the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology, usually in the Define stage. The letters of SIPOC stand for supplier, input, process, output, and customer. Here is how you would draw this process map.

The first step would be to define and scope the process you wish to map. This can be done by having a definable start and stop for the process you are analyzing. Your scope can be narrow or wide depending on whether you’re looking at a high- or low-level process. 

Here’s the sequence to follow:

  1. Suppliers: This is where your inputs come from. These suppliers may be internal or external.
  2. Inputs: These would refer to such things as people, materials, equipment, procedures, money, utilities, environmental conditions, data, and anything else your process needs to function. 
  3. Process: Your SIPOC should describe your process in 5-7 high-level steps.
  4. Output: Next, identify the outputs of your process steps. These could be such things as products, services, or information. Your outputs could be good or bad such as scrap, defects, or pollution.
  5. Customer: This would be the person or organization who receives your outputs. It could be the next functional area in your organization or the actual external customer. All of your outputs go to some customer, somewhere, who has expectations and requirements for your output.
  6. CTQs (Critical to Quality) or requirements: These are the key metrics you will want to track for the inputs from your suppliers, process performance and output going to your customers. It is optional whether you include them on your SIPOC, but be sure to capture these somewhere.

Here is a graphic showing a SIPOC for a HR recruiting process:

 SIPOC Example

An industry example of SIPOC 

The director of operations for a large gas company wanted to improve the process for customer payments. A Six Sigma consulting firm was hired to help his staff develop process maps for all his functions. 

One of the key ones was for the collection of payments from their network of collection locations in the field. Here is what their SIPOC looked like using an online collaborative application. The format simulated the use of sticky notes. The blue ones represent some of the key metrics they wished to monitor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about SIPOC

1. What does SIPOC stand for? 

It stands for Supplier, Input, Process, Output, and Customer. 

2. What is a SIPOC used for? 

SIPOC is a high-level process map representing the extended process from supplier to customer including inputs, process steps, and outputs. 

3. Is SIPOC used in DMAIC? 

Yes, it is used in the early stages of DMAIC, usually in the Define stage, when you are trying to define the scope of the process you wish to improve.

« Back to Dictionary Index