Identifying The Target Process – Using The SIPOC Diagram

Our family LSS project: the “Crap Creep Elimination Project” has launched. I was amazed that somehow my wife was motivated to clean our apartment. She put advertisements for unused furniture, the old double stroller, bookcase and so on on CraigsList. Most of them were gone over the weekend. She is good at those web-related things. Now we’ve got extra space to move around. However, soon after, since we have little 6-year-old twin daughters, those extra spaces became their toy mess nests. It’s kind of amazing how quickly those messes appeared.

LSS requires considering all project objects as a process. I wondered “What kind of process do we have for organizing our things?” When I work on my company’s process improvement projects, I’m familiar with most processes, so I can start drawing High-level Process Mapping or Value Stream Mapping from the start. However, if the target process is not familiar or not clear, a SIPOC Diagram is helpful.

SIPOC stands for Supplier, Input, Process, Output and Customer. These are five primary elements of any process. Identifying these elements of your target process helps you better understand the process and draw High-level Process Mapping or Value Stream Mapping.

LSS Black Belts start from identifying Process among the five elements. LSS methodology says only 5-7 steps, and no need to be detailed. In my “Crap Creep Elimination Project”, I realized that we don’t have any clear steps for organizing our things in our home. “No clear process or flow, no sustainable result.” Our living room proves LSS’s fundamental philosophy.

After identifying Process, I’m supposed to deal with Output and Customer, but I can’t do that because we don’t have Process. Thank God for the SIPOC Diagram! I can still analyze my current situation or “process” by identifying Supplier and Input.

Supplier could be internal as well as external. It could even be your customer, or anything that brings Input into your process. In my project, inputs are the things that we bring in through our apartment’s front door such as: groceries, mail, packages, the street clothes or coats we wear, keys, and so on. I can identify suppliers depending on the inputs.

Here is the SIPOC diagram for our family project:

SIPOC

(For a template of the SIPOC diagram, I used QI Macros’ template, found here.)

This is not an ideal SIPOC example because of the unusual project type, but I did it to understand my target “process” much better than before.

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