By Ron Bialek, Grace L. Duffy, and John W. Moran
What It Is
- SIPOC is a data collection form that assists in gathering information about suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs, and customers of a process.
- It is used before constructing a flowchart since it helps gather relevant information about the process.
- SIPOC is a high-level view of the “as is” state of a process under investigation.
- The +C stands for constraints facing the system and the +M for the measures to be used.
When to Use It
- When first starting to investigate a process and a team needs to understand the basics that make up the process.
- When a team needs a way to record collective knowledge about a process in an easy-to-view format.
- When a team needs to make a concise communication to others about a process and the parameters that it encompasses.
How to Use It
- On a piece of flip chart paper draw the SIPOC+CM diagram with seven blocks indicating the components of SIPOC+CM.
- Clearly identify the process under study and define the process boundaries (start and end points) so that everyone involved understands the limits of the analysis.
- On the SIPOC+CM form identify the data available for each of the following major categories:
- Suppliers—Who or what (internal or external) provides the raw materials, information, or technology to the process.
- Inputs—The material or information specifications that are needed by the process.
- Process—A high-level flowchart of the key five to seven core activities that comprise the process. This is a “35,000-foot” view of the process. The detailed steps will be developed in the flowchart.
- Outputs—What the process produces as products, services, or technology.
- Customers—Who are the main users of the process’s output?
- +C—Constraints facing the system or process.
- +M—Measures being used or to be used.
- Review the form for completeness with relevant stakeholders, sponsors, and other interested parties.
The figure below shows a high-level SIPOC+CM example.
Click to Enlarge
Excerpted from Ron Bialek, Grace L. Duffy, and John W. Moran, The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook (Milwaukee, WI: ASQ Quality Press, 2009), pages 183-185.