Identify relevant elements of your process improvement.
Improving your process is a project all its own. By using this template to create your own Suppliers Inputs Process Outputs Customers (SIPOC) diagram, you can begin to identify key elements of your process and what to improve before the work begins.
A SIPOC diagram gives a visual overview of a project by identifying all the inputs and procedures necessary to deliver a product, service, or software. SIPOC is an acronym that stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customer.
For example, imagine you own a company that specializes in designing memory chips for computers. A SIPOC diagram helps you and your team understand what inputs (materials and knowledge) and procedures lead to your final product.
With SIPOC diagrams, you get an overview of a business process or development project from start to finish, with the relationship between inputs and outputs.
Supplier: The provider of the inputs. For SIPOC purposes, suppliers include anyone who gives their insight and knowledge in the development process, such as developers, engineers, and product managers.
Input: The information or material needed during the process. This includes the skill, knowledge, and resources for a development process, such as payment services, products, skills, data, or material.
Process: The procedure needed to develop or transform inputs into outputs, such as analyze, test, design, build, develop, and maintain.
Outputs: The result of the procedure that becomes a product, software, or service. Examples of each output could be payment or accounting software, marketing or event management services, and products like memory chips.
Customers: The recipient of a product or service from the procedure, such as users, personnel, clients, managers, or third parties (like stakeholders who might benefit from a procedure).
A SIPOC’s high-level visualization helps teams understand the procedures and inputs required for output. By doing a SIPOC diagram, teams understand each piece of a business process and the steps or adjustments needed for success.
Since the process is laid out as a table, teams can quickly pinpoint areas of improvement, like changing an input resource or a step in the procedure.
SIPOC diagrams also help businesses understand what specifications and procedures they need depending on their customer and how to assess who should best supply the inputs for a process.
Let’s go back to the example of the computer that produces memory chips for computers. They’re considering changing conductor suppliers.
With the SIPOC diagram, all of the necessary components are laid out on a table with designated roles. Teams can quickly understand the relationship between inputs and outputs. In turn, they understand how changing one input might alter the process and final output.
SIPOC diagrams allow the team to play around with changes in procedure steps or inputs to design a desirable output.
For example, by changing one component of the SIPOC table, like the “supplier of conductors,” teams will be able to debate and plan the effect of changes it’ll have on the procedure and the quality of the output, in this case, a computer memory chip.