A Complete Guide to a SIPOC Lean Six Sigma Tool

by StarAgile

August 18, 2020
Category Six Sigma


SIPOC – Lean Six Sigma Tool 

There are various tools in lean 6σ. One has to know when to use which tools. The lean six sigma methodology combines the principles of lean, that is reducing the waste and principles of six sigma (6σ), that is to reduce defects in the services or products and reduce variations in the processes. The project manager is entrusted with the responsibility of choosing the correct project management approach for the project and the organization.  There are a lot of Lean 6σ tools such as Kaizen, the 5 why’s, the process capabilities Cp and Cpk, Kanban, the 5 S of the systems, PokeYoke, DPMO, Critical to Quality, Critical to Customer, and SIPOC, etc. These tools achieve the following things,

  • Reduction of waste in the process
  • Increase in productivity
  • Reduction of the costs
  • Reduction of the variations in the processes
  • Reduction of the defects in the services or products
  • Achieve customer satisfaction
  • The motivation of the team
  • Increase profitability
  • Enhance the quality
  • Reduce lead time
  • Reduce the overhead
  • Streamlines the flow
  • Faster products to the market or the customer etc

In this article, we will focus mainly on the SIPOC tool for lean 6σ and how it helps, how to use it, and when to use it.

What is it, Which is the right time to use SIPOC six sigma explain with SIPOC examples

SIPOC is a health check carried out to find the smooth flow of information and the product line by reviewing the performance measures. 

SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers.

When to use SIPOC? The SIPOC is used before the start of the project in the early stages to find the processes and to identify the team members. This is done when implementing the Enterprise Quality Management System (EQMS) when the Service Implementation Manager may ask you to conduct the SIPOC workshop to scope in the processes and to ensure they are rightly configured in the system.

Why SIPOC?

This is because in the product life cycle you need to correctly scope in the suppliers and the accurate process which delivers the right outputs and provides high customer satisfaction

The SIPOC diagram helps define the process measures and the creation of performance measures for the process.

The map shows the primary suppliers and what are the inputs to the processes that can deliver value to the customers in the form of outputs.

How to make SIPOC in six sigma

There are 7 steps to SIPOC they are as follows,

  • First is defining the processes and their data points, everyone in the team must be clear of the processes.
  • The second is to define the customers and suppliers about how they will interact with the process. Think about the customers in such a way that each process must have sub delivery to the next process.
  • The third is to list down the outputs to the customer, such as network diagram, proposal document, etc as shown in the slide below.
  • The fourth step is to map out the processes in such a way that you have 5 to 8 key steps in the SIPOC map.
  • The fifth step is to map the inputs, think of all the inputs, such as resources, machines, equipment, etc that can be inputted to the process may.
  • The sixth step is to identify where the inputs come from
  • The seventh process is to evaluate and validate the process flow and the SIPOC diagram. 

The SIPOC diagram for the Cyber Security solutions is shown in the diagram below.


From the diagram, we can create the SIPOC map in the following ways. The example discusses the Firewall need for the customer who is having network security issues. This is in turn nothing but the cybersecurity solutions.

Let us see each one of the SIPOC maps in detail.

1) The suppliers for the firewall are 

  • Check  Point
  • Cisco
  • Palo Alto
  • FortiGate
  • Force Point

2) Inputs to the process consist of the following they are,

  • RFP – Request for Proposal 
  • RFI – Request for Information
  • Problems – Any problems faced by the customer
  • Issues – Any issues in their network

3) The processes are defined in 5 stages they are as follows,

  • Study the inputs of the customer such as the RFP/RFI/Issues and Problems
  • Now study thoroughly the vendor or suppliers product.
  • Now study the customer network if any pain points and network security issues to the customer.
  • Make a proposal for the implementation of the right firewall in the customer network based on the cost, network, and issues faced by the customer. Refine the proposal further.
  • Get approvals from all the teams such as solution architects, sales, finance, and implementation teams.

4) Review the outputs those are as follows,

  • Proposed New firewall
  • Make a new network diagram
  • Select the best firewall
  • Deliver to the customer
  • Implement the firewall in the network

5) The customer will gain the following from our solution.

  • Review the new solution
  • Agree on the cost 
  • Review the network diagram
  • Accept the proposal and its implementation

6) The requirements consist of the following items,

  • The firewall needs to be configured in the network
  • Issue network security
  • Float the RFP/PFI
  • Accept the best solution

SIPOC analysis

The SIPOC can be analyzed as follows,

1. The Inputs and Outputs – You need to analyze the Inputs and Outputs to the processes and make the list of them. They are important because you must know what are the customer expectations and the inputs will help the needs of the processes and deliver the right output to the customers.

2. The Suppliers – You need to know at what cost the supplier is providing the materials to you, what is the quality of the raw materials, analyze the cost/benefit ratio of the materials. Think whether the raw materials will suit the customer needs.

3. The processes –Plan the processes by thinking of the customer requirements, they need to be 5 to 8 high-level processes to achieve customer expectations. You can use the COPIS model in which you trace the processes from reverse that is using the customer requirements and working on it backward. COPIS is nothing but the reverse of SIPOC.

4. Customers – Correctly identify what customer wants, that is any issues or problems the customer is facing or there are new enhancements to the previous projects or new products that customer is looking for.

Conclusion

We have discussed in this blog how the SIPOC tool is useful for making the process measures and the process performance measure. There are quite a lot of tools available for the lean 6σ projects. 

To know, learn, and to explore more on lean 6σ we recommend you to undergo lean 6σ online training (green belt and black belt) with StarAgile. Keep reading the other blogs for information on the tools, frameworks, and methodologies used for the project management. To register for the training please click on the link provided in this blog. 

Keep Learning!!!