The best SIPOC diagram? -Example of coffee

SIPOC helps with understanding project goal, Unifies team members on project scope. Helps with process customers identification, describes high level process and many other great advantages you cen get with using this simple tool.

This article covers:

  • SIPOC and problem definition
  • When to use SIPOC?
  • SIPOC real example
  • SIPOC excel template to downlad
SIPOC template for free – download below

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SIPOC and problem definition

We all like to have our coffee and cake fast, right? That was not our case. We were waiting int the line for 15 minutes to order and other 10 minutes to get it. 🙂

I was thinking to myself, what a great opportunity to improve. SIPOC helps with problem definition, easily describes current challenging situation and visualize cerrleations between suppliers and customers.

SIPOC is one of my favorite tools, I use in every single six sigma projects I lead. Is great for several reasons:

Erik from sixsigmamania

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  • Easily describes current challenging situation
  • Gives to project leader and team high level process understanding
  • Helps with complex processes understanding
  • Describes high level process steps within project scope boundaries
  • Visualize correlations between inputs and outputs from suppliers to customers
  • Identifies key customers, that we might include in voice of customer initiative
  • Encourages team in first high level discussion about challenges to be resolved
  • Helps to understand who the right stakeholders are, to deliver project results
  • Is baseline for a process mapping

When and how to use SIPOC?

Do SIPOC after project charter. It should be teams second step after charter and project kick off. To start SIPOC, project team must already understand project goals and process to be improved.

Somebody starts by identifying supplier, continues to inputs, and so on to the customers. I suggest going opposite direction. Start with customer first. Start with customer first, becouse it is easier to identify them.

Start with understanding who the customers of solved process really are. List processes, departments, final customers, positions, which are affected by failing process. Some members of project team might be representing affected positions and departments. Encourage them to speak about their problems and write them down for future.

Project charter creation with free template – read here

SIPOC how to start

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Continue with expected outputs. Customers should know what products, information, documents, software, tools they are expecting from the process. List each of them.

Next, write down steps in the process from start to the end. Do not go into much details for now. Member of addressed process should be part of the team, too.

Continue with required inputs to the process. Again, list products, information, documents, software, tools, required supplies for process, to be functional.

And finally, list of suppliers. All departments, positions, vendors delivering identified inputs.

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SIPOC real example

Here is real case example of failing process at coffeehouse. We were waiting in the line, just to order coffee and cake for 15 minutes. Another 10 minutes to get it. And there were just 3 orders before us. So, not very busy day. But 3 waiters trying to satisfy those orders.

SIPOC Example

The SMART goal to improve process can be: To serve customers within 5 minutes by end of the month.

Customers expecting to improve coffe process can be: Final customers, Cashier, Waitress. Waitress is customer, because takes coffe to final customer. Cashier is listed here, because needs to know that order is finished.

Outputs customers are expecting are: Cappuccino, Sugar, Buisquit, Spoon, Tray, napkin. Capucino, sugar and buisquit are served by cofee machine operation, the rest is done by waitress.

Process starts by filling water to the machine, continues by beans grinding, Espresso making, milk foam creation, milk to espresso pour in, sugar and buisquit to the plate, and finaly handover to the waitress.

Inputs required to make coffee are: coffee beans, milk, water, cup, machine and the can. Payed order is also required input, coffee will not be made without.

And finally, list of suppliers delivering all important components. Cashier is the supplier too, because she informs about payed order.

Next tools to be used after SIPOC can be value stream mapping, or voice of the customer. It helps to understand process more in detail.

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SIPOC excel template to download

If you are interested, you can dowload SIPOC on the link below. This is how it looks like:

SIPOC template preview

And here is promised link:

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too 😉 Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

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Do not hesitate to post your comments, questions, or themes you are interested in.

Yours sincerely Erik

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