SIPOC Diagram template & examples for teams
Identify all the relevant elements of a process improvement plan.
The acronym SIPOC stands for Suppliers (sources), Input, Process, Output, and Customers. A SIPOC diagram maps a process at a high level by identifying the potential gaps between suppliers and input specifications and between customers and output specifications, and thereby defines the scope of process improvement activities. SIPOC identifies feedback and feed-forward loops between customers, suppliers, and the processes, and jump-starts the team to think in terms of cause and effect.
This visual tool allows you to document the working process from beginning to end. Everyone will see the project development in the same light, at the same time. When you use the SIPOC diagram template, it’s easy to communicate and discuss the process visually and at a high level, and to define the scope of your improvement efforts.
About the SIPOC Diagram template What is a SIPOC?
A SIPOC diagram is a tool that enables you to summarize the inputs and outputs of a process in the form of a stylized table. This allows teams to identify relevant aspects of a process improvement project before starting work. SIPOC useful when defining a complicated project that was not necessarily well-scoped.
SIPOC is an acronym that stands for Supplies, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers. The name invites a team to think about the suppliers of your process, the inputs to the process, the process itself, the outputs that you produce, and the customers who receive those outputs.
A SIPOC diagram can help you answer questions like: Who supplies inputs to this process? Who are the customers? What are their needs? What specifications are placed on inputs?
What does SIPOC stand for?
SIPOC diagrams are useful tools. Their structure is intuitive but adaptable. To construct a SIPOC diagram, draw a table with five columns. Label each column: Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customers.
Suppliers - Who supplies the inputs? It’s important to make note of any specific suppliers whose input directly impacts the output. For example, let’s say you’re making a SIPOC diagram for the process “baking an apple pie”. If the supplier impacts your “taste” output, then you should list that supplier.
Inputs - What inputs are required for the process to function? List four to six inputs that you must have to complete the process.
Process - What is the process? Write down the name of the process and describe its key steps. List the steps from beginning to end. It’s important to make sure you know the start and end point of your process so you can complete the rest of the diagram. While it’s not necessary to go into exhaustive detail, you should make sure you’re hitting all the main points.
Outputs - What are the outputs of the process? As in the Inputs section, focus on 3 to 5 key outputs. If you write down more than that, you risk oversaturating the diagram. If you write down fewer, you won’t have much to work with when analyzing the diagram.
Customers - Who benefits from the process? Remember, these don’t have to be literal customers (though they often are). If you’re building a SIPOC diagram to help develop an internal process, for example, the “customers” might actually be your coworkers.
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