The process map is an information type in the Information Mapping Method. Similarly, SIPOC is a tool from the Define and Measure phases of a Six Sigma project. SIPOC takes its name from Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers. These segments in the process map define where a process starts and ends. Here I’m going to show how the SIPOC tool is used to write process documentation. This is a quick exercise that serves process improvement.
- ID the process. Name the key point. What does it do? What is its purpose?
- ID the outputs. What happens, whether desirable or not. What are the deliverables, outcomes, and results.
- ID the customers. Who becomes the recipient? Think ‘voice of the customer’ and whether the customer is internal or external.
- ID the inputs. What series of events causes or triggers a process? Are they manual? Automatic?
- ID the suppliers. Who provides the resources? People? Systems?
SIPOC templates are readily available to help you sketch out this info using a particular flow. Or make your own template:
- Hold a piece of paper horizontally and fold it in fives.
- From left to right title each folded column, one letter per column, S-I-P-O-C.
- Then working in reverse from right to left identify the Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers.