What is the SIPOC chart and what is its application in project management?

What is the SIPOC chart and what is its application in project management? At first, creating a new business process seems simple. But even if you have identified a complete and linear path from suppliers to customers, you may notice complications:

Write a list of departments to be involved. Discover how to transfer a product from one department to another. Finding a way to simply code them all so you don’t end up with 40 copies of the same original business process document.

To solve the complexity problem, many companies turn to the SIPOC diagram. Using a SIPOC template helps create a “blueprint” for each new business process you want to create. If this process is done right, you will have a clear understanding of what needs to happen to launch a new product or service, down to the smallest detail.

But unless you know how to create a SIPOC chart and use it in project management, this chart won’t help you. Hence, we are going to provide a comprehensive guide about this chart in this article, so stay tuned.

What does SIPOC stand for?

SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Processes, Outputs, and Customers. It refers to a holistic approach to the entire business process. This diagram is useful for high-level management because it helps you record each new business process in a very detailed and accurate way.

What does SIPOC stand for
What does SIPOC stand for

You may also have heard of COPIS, which is the opposite of this whole process. Why start with the “customer” in the first place? Some companies want to emphasize customer experience and reverse engineer their business process accordingly.

For others, the SIPOC timeline makes more sense. Without resources and inputs, there will be no output and no product or service. Think of SIPOC as a basic way to distill a business process down to its core steps, from A to Z.

What is a SIPOC chart?

A SIPOC diagram is a workflow diagram that shows each step of your SIPOC. This concept transforms SIPOC in your business from an abstract acronym to a workflow visualization. According to some statistics, a visualization like this can increase performance by 89%.

In other words, SIPOC diagrams help you review a new business process before implementing it.

A SIPOC process can be as comprehensive or as simple as you like. But at a minimum, it should include a portion of each of the following:

Supplies: What are the tools, products, services, or raw materials that must be part of the business process to create the end result for your customer? List them all here.

Inputs: Are there any data inputs that need to be entered into the process at this stage? What do you need to add or modify to existing resources?

Processes: This is where you list the essential functions of your business as you implement the new guideline. What processes can be automated? Which one will be handy? Do you need to hire new employees to manage processes and inputs? Answer those questions here.

Outputs: This is where you should think about maintaining standards as well as installing processes for quality control. Any testing you do with your products/services before they hit the market is done here.

Customers: This stage is not just about the point of purchase. Think about the entire customer experience. In fact, you might even want to do a few COPIS exercises to get an idea of ​​what you want the end result to look like before you build the process around it.

Sample SIPOC chart

We’ve put together a step-by-step illustration of a SIPOC diagram below:

Keep in mind that a SIPOC can be as large or as small as you need. This is just a high-level diagram that breaks down the key components into five steps. But below each step, you can list the types of variables necessary to create the comprehensive results you’re looking for.

If it’s too abstract, let’s give a simple but specific example. Let’s say your business process is going to the grocery store. Its SIPOC diagram can be as follows:

  • Supplies: fully stocked grocery store, grocery store address, car to get you there, money to buy groceries
  • Inputs: List of ingredients Schedule a visit to the store
  • Process: buy groceries, get home, move groceries
  • Outputs: list of instructions. food preparation
  • Customers: happy and satisfied family

It may not turn into something as complex as a business with 500 employees. But this go-to-the-grocery chart helps you understand exactly what a SIPOC chart is: a plan for getting things done.

What are the advantages of the SIPOC chart?

What are the advantages of the SIPOC chart
What are the advantages of the SIPOC chart

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that plans are worthless, but planning is essential. Why? You may need to adjust your plans when the rubber hits the road, but the act of preparing plans is what prepares you for any obstacle.

A SIPOC chart forces your business to do the basic work of planning. By creating a SIPOC diagram, you see the entire workflow from start to finish. Along the way, you can identify blind spots, brainstorm new ideas, and optimize operations.

Check Also:

Everything you need to know about lead time and cycle time

What is the resource breakdown structure (RBS) in project management and how is it written?

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