This topic is all about the Customer – hence the ‘C’ – but I wasn’t sure under which heading it would sit best.
To be honest, it could sit under any of them. So, I shall use it in building business.
SIPOC is an acronym for:
Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and CUSTOMERS. A SIPOC is completed most easily by starting from the right (“Customers”) and working towards the left. In other words:
CUSTOMERS, Outputs, Process, Inputs and Suppliers
or COPIS. Simple.
A SIPOC/COPIS diagram is a tool used by a team to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project before work begins. It helps to define a complex project that may not have been well scoped.
It is related to the Process Mapping of a business process.
The tool name prompts the team to consider the Suppliers (the ‘S’ in SIPOC) of your process, the Inputs (the ‘I’) to the process, the Process (the ‘P’) your team is improving, the 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 appended to the end of the SIPOC for further detail.
The SIPOC tool is particularly useful when the following are not clear:
•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?
Therefore, if a SIPOC were to be used in the preparation of meals listed on a restaurant menu:
Suppliers – grocers and vendors
Inputs – ingredients for recipes as provided by the Suppliers.
Process – How ingredients are cooked in the restaurant kitchen in order to match the meals listed in the menu.
Outputs – the meals served as requested by the CUSTOMERS
CUSTOMERS – diners at a restaurant. Their requirements are their choices from the menu, how many items and – if there is an option – how they are to be cooked.
The most variable and varied part of a SIPOC are the Process and the CUSTOMERS components respectively.
The Process is variable because there may be a wide range of cooking requirements needed to meet the range of meals on the menu – unless, of course, the menu just consists of cheese and pickle sandwiches!
The CUSTOMERS are varied as their choices from the menu are totally unknown until their orders are taken. As mentioned above, these orders can be further varied by particular requirements or requests:
‘Do you have Brie or Cheddar cheese in your sandwiches?’
‘We have a selection of both, madam’
‘Both? Well, I would like a round of Brie sandwiches and two rounds of Cheddar with more pickle in the Cheddar sandwiches than in the Brie.’
‘Do you have onion in the pickle?’
‘But of course, madam!’
‘I don’t like onion – could you please pick all the bits of onion out for me?
‘Oh, and I would like the Brie on brown bread and the Cheese in a toasted baguette!’
‘As you wish, madam. Will THAT be ALL?’
‘For now, my good man. For now’