A SIPOC diagram is a data collection tool used by Six Sigma process improvement teams to assist in gathering information about all relevant elements, including suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs, and customers of a process. The +C stands for constraints facing the system, and the +M for the measures to be used.
As a high-level view of the "as is" state of a process under investigation, use the SIPOC diagram tool:
- Before constructing a flowchart since it helps gather relevant information about the process.
- When first starting to investigate a process and a team needs to understand the basics that make up the process.
- To record collective knowledge about a process in an easy-to-view format.
- To help make a concise communication to others about a process and the parameters that it encompasses.
SIPOC+CM DIAGRAM PROCEdure
Materials needed: Large writing surface (e.g., flip chart) and pen/marker.
- On a large piece of paper, draw the SIPOC+CM diagram with seven blocks indicating the components of SIPOC+CM (see Step 3).
- Clearly identify the process under study and define the process boundaries (i.e., the start and end points) so that everyone involved understands the limits of the analysis.
- In each of the seven SIPOC+CM component blocks, identify the data available for each of the following:
- 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: 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 diagram for completeness with relevant stakeholders, sponsors, and other interested parties.
Figure 1 below shows a high-level SIPOC+CM example:
Figure 1: SIPOC+CM Diagram Example
Creative Combination (Quality Progress) This article takes a look at three tools to jump-start a lean Six Sigma project—fishbone diagram, SIPOC diagram, and cause-and-effect matrix—and how these tools work together.
Assessing the Landscape (Quality Progress) To achieve organizational success, business environment analysis tools help in understanding where improvement is needed. This article introduces a variation on the SIPOC diagram, the SIPOCCE diagram.
Drawing From Six Sigma (Six Sigma Forum Magazine) A small manufacturing firm increased its product engineering department’s productivity by more than 40% with process improvements, including stakeholder analysis using a SIPOC diagram.
Integrating Strategic Planning And Quality Improvement Methods To Create Sustainably High Performance (Journal for Quality and Participation) This case study illustrates how strategic planning and quality improvement methods like the SIPOC diagram can support organizational realignment efforts and generate higher performance within an organization’s resource constraints.
Discretion Advised (Six Sigma Forum Magazine) At four Northwell Health primary care practice sites in Long Island, NY, a DMAIC project improves discrete data documentation, starting with the creation of a high-level process map using a SIPOC diagram.
Lighting The Way (Six Sigma Forum Magazine) In this case study, various quality tools—such as the SIPOC diagram, capability analysis, multivari analysis, and the cause-and-effect diagram—were used to analyze and improve the process capability of a discharge tube coating process in the compact fluorescent lamps manufacturing industry.
SIPOC While it sounds like a movie creature plotting to rule the world, SIPOC is a basic and powerful tool for improving supply chain management.
Excerpted from The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook, ASQ Quality Press.