Process mapping and improvement should be done regularly. As more businesses look to improve the way they work, there is no shortage of ways to fix things. SIPOC is one tool that can help.
What does SIPOC stand for?
SIPOC is a visual tool that helps assess and define a business process based on suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, and customers, or SIPOC.
SIPOC diagrams visualize the connection between what your customers are asking for and what you receive from your suppliers. You end up with something that looks similar to this:
Sometimes SIPOC is referred to as COPIS. COPIS is the same process, but backwards. When you reverse the order, you put a focus on the customers rather than the raw goods.
Here’s a closer look at how SIPOC breaks things down.
Suppliers are the people that provide the products you sell to customers. If you’re a clothing company, your suppliers provide the raw materials that become the clothes you sell.
Inputs are the raw materials you’re working with. For a clothing company, this would be fabric, thread, patterns, sewing machines, designs from the fashion designers, and so on.
The process is the steps that are taken to produce the product. For a clothing company, the process may be that the cloth is ordered, patterns are followed, clothes are made, and clothes are sold via the website.
Output is the final product that you sell to the customer. In our example, it’s clothing that’s sold and shipped via your website.
Customers are the people you sell to. You can include as much customer information here as you think is relevant.
Why SIPOC is important
SIPOC gives you a high-level look at what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it for. It’s broken down into easy to reference sections that guide you through your process.
SIPOC makes it easy to identify potential improvements because you can visualize the dependencies inside your system. You can also get a sense of which tools may further improve the way you serve customers (especially if you put customers first with COPIS).
How is SIPOC used in project management?
SIPOC helps you map out business processes to learn how you’re serving your customers, where there’s room for improvement, and if there are any areas where you’re losing money.
Because it’s visual, SIPOC also is an excellent tool for helping new staff or team members quickly understand what the workflow looks like.
Create business process map
SIPOC gives you a clear, condensed view of how work gets done. Each step of the diagram shows what you’re doing (or what you’re working with). You can use it to break down specific tasks or processes in your business (like shipping and receiving, for example). SIPOC can be used as a way to better understand the key drivers in your business.
Illustrate a big picture of end-to-end business processes
SIPOC analysis helps you visually understand the major elements of your workflow. This can be used for everything from training to showcasing your products for investors.
Increase operational transparency
Operational transparency is increasingly important to consumers. Many people are concerned with not only where the products they consume come from, but also with how they’re made. Customers want to find businesses that align with their personal values.
Similarly, investors and stakeholders need a certain amount of transparency for the same reasons. Besides knowing that they’re investing in a company that shares the same values, they also want to understand how the business operates.
Align goals across the team
SIPOC specifies how departments are working across your company. You get a snapshot of each of the key steps and how those steps are handled. This helps you make changes that bring your teams into alignment.
Nothing helps you spot problems like mapping out a process. It’s one of the few times when you’re able to step back from what you’re doing and actually see how you’re doing it.
Identified problems can be fixed using to identify the root cause.
Discover low-value areas
Easily identify areas that aren’t adding the value that they should be adding. For example you could find that your e-commerce platform isn’t pulling its weight.
👉 Get started with this SIPOC Diagram template.
Copy this free SIPOC diagram template for your projects.
How to create a SIPOC diagram using Coda’s free template
Step 1: Define your company’s core business
In the page, add the details of your business and what you want to achieve. This qualitative planning will allow for everyone on your team to understand the bigger picture in SIPOC planning. You can also add in team members that are a part of your business in the table by clicking the Add Team Member button. On this table you can fill out details for your team members.
Step 2: SIPOC Diagram & Process
In the next step, on the page, add the components of our SIPOC process. Click the Add Component button to add different parts of the SIPOC diagram. Create a . In the table, identify how each of the raw materials flows from being an input to an output to landing into a customer’s hands as a final product.
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