Using SIPOC to Get Started

SIPOC diagrams can be used at the beginning of improvement projects, to help teams gauge the scope of a change or to help the team get on the same page. These diagrams can also help a team understand a complex system with many people involved or lots of information exchanges. 

SIPOC is short for Suppliers-Inputs-Process-Outputs-Customers.

In creating one with our team, we usually don't fill it out left to right. We talk about how to build one in this episode.

We also step through an example. Look below for the results.

The order of the columns that we’re going to work through is this: process, outputs, customers, inputs, suppliers.

We have the software app developers as both supplier and a customer. On the supplier side, they’re providing a synchronization with our pedal. On the customer side, they’re dealing with the data our pedal is sending to calculate and store information about the ride that the cyclist is interested in seeing. I think listing the Software App developer twice like this is okay as long as we’re clear about what’s an input and what’s an output.

SIPOC Example

SIPOC Example

SIPOC diagrams are a great way to get clarity about anything we’re starting, whether it’s a new design or something we’re working on that could be considered continuous improvement. It’s another opportunity to gather your cross-functional team and talk about customers and what they need. And, creating a SIPOC diagram may highlight the direction and next steps that the team needs to take. So, if you’re at the start of something new and trying to wrap your head around what to do next, gather your team and create a SIPOC diagram. It will be a useful activity that will produce next steps.

Did you find an idea, help, or inspiration? Then please share:

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