SIPOC is not a friend of the Dalek

Makes sense doesn’t it, why would it be a friend to the evil alien creatures? I love SIPOC, I think it is the best starting point when trying to define a process that is not functioning correctly. I see a lot of people who are afraid of it though, as if it is…. you got it 😉 I thought I would therefore write you some tips on how to do a SIPOC well and to help you feel at ease with using the tool.

  1. There are no good SIPOC templates out there. I have never seen one. Don’t even waste time looking. My advice, is to draw it on a whiteboard. Supplier, Input, Input Requirement, Process, Output, Output Requirement, Customer. Remember to add a name and purpose for your SIPOC at the very top
  2. Ensure to start with the beginning and the end of the process. It is important to establish these limits before filling in anything else. If you miss this you could have a lot of re-work to do later
  3. Don’t mistake a SIPOC for a detailed process mapping. The steps in between the beginning and end should be big steps which will require (if necessary) more detailed mapping later. This is a good thing! Do not mix your SIPOC with your process map.
  4. Do map the suppliers, inputs and outputs for each of the big process steps you have identified. It will help you later!
  5. Do not forget your customers and to split them between your primary and secondary customers. Your primary customer is the receiver of the value of the process. Your secondary customers are other stakeholders in the performance of the process
  6. Include where known the input and output requirements. What are these? They are “features” that are looked for in the input or output. For example and output of a purchasing process step could be an order confirmation the requirement on that could be “sent to customer within 24 hours of receiving the order”
  7. Do not fall into the trap of mapping should be or desired state, to start with focus only on AS IS. You can convert this later to reflect future state but unless you map as is you cannot identify the big gaps that exist and there will most likely be some!
  8. Later ensure that your outputs and output requirements are aligned with your CTQ’s (critical to quality attributes) that are aligned to your VOC (voice of the customer). So what your process kicks out is aligned with the value the customer wants not what you as a business want to deliver. Note this is only done later when try to define the new way of working

You get 8 tips as that is all I can think of right now, any more ideas?

Oh one more, try to avoid skipping the layout of each supplier and inputs for each process step. If we do it is just work later and it ruins the advantage of visualising the gaps in the current way of working from a high level.

Cheers

Lean

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