SIPOC is a high level overview of the process which concentrates more heavily on the inputs and outputs of the process rather than the process itself. It gives the context of what you’re looking at, and so is useful as part of the planning process (the define phase of DMAIC). Due to the high level view, it can also be useful if you want to completely replace the process with a new one (for example using DMADV).
SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customers
- Suppliers – Either the external suppliers or the step before in the internal process which supply the ‘input’ material
- Inputs – Anything required for the process, e.g. order form, raw materials, machinery needed
- Process – Brief overview of the process (doesn’t have to be a step by step guide)
- Outputs – the end product(s), which can include e.g. finished item, invoice, instructions for next step
- Customers – The next user after the process, whether the next stage of production or the external customer
COPIS is the reverse (i.e. start the table with Customers on the left) and is used when you want to see the process from a customer focused view.
Example for making a sandwich
When would you use it?
Its high level overview is useful to quickly convey information about a process, and so can be used for:
- refreshing people who haven’t seen the process in a while
- show people new the the process the basics and context for a quick introduction
- getting to the basics of what the process is for, in order to redesign the processes with DMAIC and DMADV
They are often used as an initial top level overview before a more thorough process analysis such as value stream mapping is performed.
A SIPOC / COPIS can be improved further by expanding upon the inputs, process and outputs to not only have the ‘value add’, but the inputs that cause issues, and the unwanted outputs that these issues result in.