SIPOC Diagram: An Indispensable Tool for Continuous Improvement

Imagine you’re renovating your home. You’ll need to hire an interior designer, a general contractor, and most likely some specialized contractors as well. You’ll also need to identify the different steps to carry out and purchase all the necessary materials. This preparation is essential for you to have a clear overview of your renovation project.

Now, imagine a continuous improvement project at your company. You’ll find similar concepts there, which are covered in the SIPOC diagram. What is a SIPOC diagram? What’s it for? What are the benefits of using one? Let’s find out!

What is a SIPOC diagram?

The SIPOC diagram is used in the first stage of a continuous improvement project. It provides a framework for taking a step back to map out a process, offering an accurate and up-to-date picture of the situation. It consists of the following 5 components:

The SIPOC diagram: a driver of commitment

The SIPOC diagram creates a framework for setting goals and keeping them in mind at every stage of the improvement process.

Remember that losing sight of goals can lead to inaction, delays, a lack of involvement from team members, or the project grinding to a halt altogether.

Creating a SIPOC diagram in 8 steps

Here are the steps we recommend for creating your SIPOC diagram. You’ll notice that they don’t follow the order of the letters in the acronym.

Step 1:

Choose the process you want to improve.

Step 2:

Gather experts on the process—namely, the people who are involved in it on a daily basis. Don’t forget supplier and customer representatives!

The meeting will be even more effective if it’s facilitated by someone who isn’t personally involved in the process. Their role is to keep everyone focused on the goal by detailing the process, any problematic steps or activities, and the inputs and outputs.

Step:

Determine the start of the process, the trigger, and the activity that marks the end of the process you’re mapping.

Step 4:

List the customers (C), i.e., those who receive the outputs or benefit from the process.

Step 5:

Identify the outputs (O), i.e., customer requirements and what they get out of the process. List them.

Step 6:

Define your process (P). Break it down into steps or activities. If necessary, break it down further into sub-steps.

Step 7:

List the inputs (I), i.e., all the resources that are essential to the process.

Step 8:

List the suppliers (S) who provide you with the inputs and specify whether you’re managing them optimally.

Step 9:

Share your SIPOC diagram with all stakeholders in the process and make sure it’s easily accessible.

The Bernard Gagnon Group’s contribution to continuous improvement

At the Bernard Gagnon Group, our continuous improvement experts use the SIPOC diagram with their customers in the first phase of a project: the “DEFINE” phase.

As facilitators, we involve every member of the group and get essential information from those who know the process best. We also produce a summary chart in the form of a SIPOC diagram, which is given to participants and management.

Think some of your company’s processes aren’t optimal? Get in touch . We’ll be delighted to support you in your continuous improvement process.

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