SIPOC Diagram: Scoping, Process Definition & Improvement

How to Draw a SIPOC Diagram - Includes Free Template

A SIPOC diagram represents a high-level view of a process. It shows the Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and Customers and is pronounced "Psy-puck". The SIPOC Diagram plays an important role in Process Definition/Improvement and should ideally be done first before embarking on extensive process mapping. It may be used by the analyst in collaboration with other stakeholders to arrive at a consensus on the process before moving to a higher level of detail.

When Should You Use a SIPOC Diagram?

  • When defining the scope of the project. If the project is on process improvement, mapping it would provide an indication of the scope.
  • When documenting/assessing an existing process prior to the improvement effort. On drawing a SIPOC diagram, you’ll be able to tell at a glance, whom your project will affect (stakeholders), which outputs are non-value adding, which steps are redundant and where supplier performance is unsatisfactory.
  • When creating a process from scratch

General Rules for Drawing a SIPOC Diagram

  • Keep it as high-level and simple as possible; it should contain between 5-8 steps, ideally.
  • Avoid drawing it on your own. You could organize a brainstorming session to generate ideas on the elements of the diagram before you start.
  • Customers receive or use the outputs of the process; your customers are not just buyers of your product or service, but are also recipients or users of the outputs produced at every step in the process. They are regarded as stakeholders.
  • Inputs are the key requirements needed for the process to work and represent what suppliers provide.
  • Suppliers are those who provide inputs; they are also stakeholders.
  • Outputs are the results of process steps and can be used as basis of discussion with customers to identify their requirements; every output must have a customer.
  • The Process name should be in the "verb + noun" form. For example, "Recruit Staff", "Process Order", etc
  • Staff and other resources are not inputs, as they are not "worked on" by the process; Business rules should also not be regarded as inputs - they guide the process but don't get "worked on" by it.

A SIPOC diagram can enhance communication across cross-functional boundaries and is also referred to as a POCIS (process, output, customers, inputs, suppliers) diagram because of the order in which it is completed. 

Practical Application

  1. Organize a brainstorming session comprising participants who are knowledgeable about the process
  2. At the center of a whiteboard, draw a diagrammatic view of the process with input from everyone; all participants should agree on how the process works
  3. Identify the outputs - what are the outcome(s) of each step?
  4. From the outputs, determine who the customers are
  5. For each step in the process, determine what inputs are worked on - think of materials, data and anything else you need to execute the process
  6. Suppliers  - who are those that provide inputs to the process? It may be the team of people that perform the steps in the process, IT department, etc. Customers in some situations, may be described as suppliers to a process.

An example is illustrated below, using the "Process Order" process

Process Order: SIPOC Diagram/Chart

The SIPOC Diagram may also be presented like this:

Process Order: SIPOC Diagram/Chart

Download the SIPOC Template in Excel
Download the SIPOC Template in Powerpoint

Useful Links

SIPOC - By Kilbridge Consulting
SIPOC Diagram - By isixsigma