iSixSigma

SIPOC Diagram

Many recent inquiries and discussions have focused on the SIPOC diagram – a tool used in the Six Sigma methodology. Because of the interest level, a further explanation is presented here along with a sample and template for your use.

A SIPOC diagram is a tool used by a team to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project before work begins. It helps define a complex project that may not be well scoped, and is typically employed at the Measure phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology. It is similar and related to process mapping and ‘in/out of scope’ tools, but provides additional detail.

The tool name prompts the team to consider the suppliers (the ‘s’ in SIPOC) of your process, the inputs (the ‘i’) to the process, the process (the ‘p’) your team is improving, the outputs (the ‘o’) of the process, and the customers (the ‘c’) that receive the process outputs. In some cases, requirements of the customers can be appended to the end of the SIPOC for further detail.

The SIPOC tool is particularly useful when it is not clear:

  • Who supplies inputs to the process?
  • What specifications are placed on the inputs?
  • Who are the true customers of the process?
  • What are the requirements of the customers?

Sample SIPOC Diagram

A SIPOC diagram is a tool used by a team to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project before work begins. It helps define a complex project that may not be well scoped, and is typically employed at the Measure phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology.

Example SIPOC Diagram

Steps to Complete the SIPOC Diagram

SIPOC diagrams are very easy to complete. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Create an area that will allow the team to post additions to the SIPOC diagram. This could be a transparancy (to be projected by an overhead) made of the provided template, flip charts with headings (S-I-P-O-C) written on each, or headings written on post-it notes posted to a wall.

2. Begin with the process. Map it in four to five high level steps.

3. Identify the outputs of this process.

4. Identify the customers that will receive the outputs of this process.

5. Identify the inputs required for the process to function properly.

6. Identify the suppliers of the inputs that are required by the process.

7. Optional: Identify the preliminary requirements of the customers. This will be verified during a later step of the Six Sigma measurement phase.

8. Discuss with project sponsor, Champion and other involved stakeholders for verification.

SIPOC Templates

The following SIPOC templates are for immediate download and use. The Adobe Acrobat version allows you to print and input your SIPOC information by hand, perhaps by overhead. The Microsoft PowerPoint version allows you to input your SIPOC information and print.

SIPOC in Adobe Acrobat Format
Adobe Acrobat (.PDF)

SIPOC in PowerPoint Format
Microsoft PowerPoint (.PPT)

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Comments 20

  1. Maurice Grandsoult

    Helpful. I will refer to it duirng my classes.

  2. SeanBean

    This one is a great help! Many thanks!! =)

  3. Maitreyee Dasgupta

    Thanx, that was really helpful

  4. Punita

    This information was very helpful. Thanks.

  5. Mike

    Straight forward and complete. Very good

  6. Amado Diaz

    Clear, concise and useful. Thanks!

  7. Magali

    I’m Brazilian, and I’m studying Black Belt, and began to refine my concept of process mapping, and that text allowed me to understand some questions.

    Thanks!

  8. Marina

    Easy, clear and really helpfull.. Tks a lot!

  9. John

    A Quick way to remember how to set it up is POCIS :) .
    Nice article K.S. easy and clear.

  10. Peter Heffner

    I’ve heard SIPOC tauted as a way to reign-in the discussion on business process diagrams that are under severe disagreement. My feeling is that the horses are waaaaay far out of the corral to go back to SIPOC to help. Am I correct in viewing the value of SIPOC as more of an *early* consensus-builder, before launching into the detailed work of building a BPD?

  11. Alejandro Alvarado Mendez

    Hej

    thank you very much for the article. It is always good to read other people perspectives in terms of definitions and themes related to Lean and Six Sigma.

    My input is concerned step 5 on the guide to build a SIPOC. I believe the word “properly” should not be there. It opens up for actually mapping a future state, instead on focusing on the process “as is”.

    Best, Alejandro

  12. Ursula Conley

    Thanks a bunch, this was extremely helpful!!!

  13. Nidia Sanchez

    Extremely helpfu and useful content. Downloaded the PPP and am already working on my own SIPOC! Thanks for the material

  14. Edna Agudelo

    Very useful information, however for me is been very complicated to break-down my process. I identified the suppliers, inputs, processes and so on, but I feel that I still need to break-down the core process we have and I could not find the way to put all of that info in the Sipoc format.

    I work for a Laboratory and the goal is to improve one of the biggest department we have.

  15. Rod Morgan

    Hi Kerri! I have referred many students to your article on SIPOC over the years and never thought of leaving you a “thanks!” until now. A concise explanation of a simple yet highly useful tool. best regards, Rod.

  16. Nour

    Great approach of subject

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