How to create a SIPOC diagram with your team

Written by frank luger Google
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How to create a SIPOC diagram with your team
SIPOC is championed by Six Sigma, which was pioneered by Motorola. (David Becker/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

A SIPOC diagram is a representation of an organisational improvement procedure, stipulating the suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs and customers. These are seen as key aspects of any course of action designed to result in organisational development. Creating a SIPOC diagram is part of an in-depth, systematic procedure, rather than simply a bureaucratic, paper-based exercise. If the exercise is done properly, vital solutions will be found to operational challenges.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • SIPOC template
  • Flip-chart or whiteboard

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  1. 1

    Assemble your team. Explain to them what “SIPOC” is. Clarify that the main reasons for using SIPOC are to define the scope of organisational processes and specify the roles of key agents. Suppliers are the providers of the inputs. Inputs are things that begin a process, such as a manager wishing to develop a new service. The process is the sum of all the necessary activities. Outputs are the end products. Customers are the intended recipients of the outputs.

  2. 2

    Tell the team you are about to create a SIPOC diagram together. Specify the process you wish to define. Take the opportunity to tackle a real organisational need, rather than using a hypothetical example. Improvement Skills Consulting Ltd suggests you name the process by combining a verb, followed by a noun. An example of this nomenclature is “Fulfil orders.”

  3. 3

    Invite the team to take part in a free and open discussion about the suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs and customers. This kind of discussion used to be called “brainstorming” but is also referred to as “ideas exchange.” Exchange ideas with your team until you feel they have adequate understanding of the five central elements.

  4. 4

    Introduce a SIPOC template. Alternatively, pre-design a similar diagram sheet and have it available for the team meeting. Hand out sheets to every other member of the team.

  5. 5

    Ask your team members to work in pairs to complete the sheet. Point out that the “SIPOC” acronym may imply it is necessary to identify suppliers first, then inputs and so on. Explain however that it is not necessary to complete the sheet in this order.

  6. 6

    Discuss the teams’ charts in some depth. Reach accord about agreed suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs and customers. Create an amalgamated SIPOC diagram -- on a flipchart or interactive whiteboard -- based on suggestions from all the teams.

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