In process improvement, a SIPOC (sometimes COPIS) is a tool that summarizes the inputs and outputs of one or more processes in table form. The acronym SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers which form the columns of the table.
When we want to start some process management or improvement activity, it’s crucial to get a clear overview of the top level stages of the process. SIPOC helps provide a natural but structured way to discuss a process and get consensus on what it involves before drawing process maps.
SIPOC is often presented at the outset of process improvement efforts such as Kaizen events or during the “define” phase of the DMAIC process.
It has three typical uses depending on the audience:
- To give people who are unfamiliar with a process a high-level overview
- To reacquaint people whose familiarity with a process has faded or become out-of-date due to process changes
- To help people in defining a new process
SIPOC is best accomplished in Team Work and Brainstorming Sessions. To conduct a successful SIPOC session, first provide participants a brief overview of the SIPOC Process, Purpose, Tools/Templates, and especially the keys to an effective SIPOC.
SIPOC Diagrams are very easy to complete. Here are the steps to follow:
- Create an area that will allow the team to post additions to the SIPOC diagram. This could be a transparency (to be projected by an overhead) made of the provided template, flip charts with headings (S-I-P-O-C) written on each, or headings written on post-it notes posted to a wall.
- Begin with the process. Map it in four to five high level steps.
- Identify the outputs of this process.
- Identify the customers that will receive the outputs of this process.
- Identify the inputs required for the process to function properly.
- Identify the suppliers of the inputs that are required by the process.
Here is a simple example of SIPOC for an Automobile Repair process:
In line with the above example, Oracle Hyperion Planning Application (a web-based Planning and Budgeting Solution that integrates Financial and Operational Planning Processes) is explained through SIPOC
Benefits of Using SIPOC Analysis
- SIPOC is an effective visual tool for defining a process by identifying key activities, outputs and inputs of the process, which gives an overall view of the business scope and enables all team members to view the process in the same light.
- It provides an understanding of the various process steps and process owners that make up the system for the stakeholders, project sponsors and team members, giving clarity on the scope of the process at an early stage in the project.
- It associates together the suppliers and customers with the main process, to study and investigate as a whole body, thus analyzing and developing the system from a comprehensive view.
- It quickly and easily captures the current state of the organization and processes in question, and defines the improvement efforts.
About the Author: Remesh Padmanabhan is a Senior Functional Consultant, Oracle Hyperion Platform, at KARYA Technologies. He is an Accounting Professional with more than 25 years of experience in serving various industry verticals such as Manufacturing, Automobile and IT. His specializations include Quality Control Measures like Six Sigma, ISO 9001 Standards and Business Continuity Management. Remesh is an avid reader and he likes to watch classic movies.