A SIPOC diagram is a tool used by a team to identify all critical elements of a process improvement project before work begins.

The tool name prompts the team to think about the:

  • Suppliers (the ‘s’ in SIPOC) of your process,
  • Inputs (the ‘i’) to the process,
  • Process (the ‘p’) your team is improving,
  • Outputs (the ‘o’) of the process, and
  • The customers (the ‘c’) that receive the process outputs.
  • In some cases, requirements of the customers can be added to the end of the SIPOC for further detail.

The SIPOC tool forces the team to think about the various components:

  • Who supplies inputs to the process?
  • What specifications are placed on the inputs?
  • Who are the true customers of the process?
  • What are the requirements of the customers?

Steps to Complete the SIPOC Diagram

  1. Create an area that will allow the team to post additions to the SIPOC diagram.
    • This could be flip charts with headings (S-I-P-O-C) written on each, or
    • Headings written on post-it notes posted to a wall.
  2. Begin with the process. Map it in five to seven high level steps.
  3. Identify the outputs of this process.
  4. Identify the customers that will receive the outputs of this process.
  5. Identify the inputs required for the process to function properly.
  6. Identify the suppliers of the inputs that are required by the process.
  7. May also identify the preliminary requirements of the customers.

Sample SIPOC Diagram