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Improving quality through SIPOC

handshake32145701.jpgSIPOC is a business tool used to improve business practices of all kinds, from technology to manufacturing. In manufacturing, SIPOC can be particularly useful in helping to improve overall quality.

What is SIPOC?
SIPOC is an acronym for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Output, and Customers, better defined as:

  1. Suppliers: The significant internal or external suppliers to the process at hand.

  2. Inputs: The major inputs of the process. This can include things such as the necessary materials, forms, information, staff, and so forth needed for a process.

  3. Process: One block representing the entire process.

  4. Outputs: The important outputs to both internal and external customers. This canbe anything the business unit distributes, such as reports, ratings, products, documents, and so on.

  5. Customers: The main internal and external customers to the process. This includes anyone who receives the actual outputs. Keep in mind that the customer must get the output directly from the manufacturing plant, but doesn't necessarily need to be a user of the output. Customers can include managers, CEOs, or those in other departments.

Each of these are connected in manufacturing: you obtain inputs from suppliers, add value through your various processes, and work to provide a quality output that meets or exceeds your customer's requirements. There are SIPOC diagrams and charts that help businesses and manufacturing plants to remember each of these important factors when mapping their processes.

The SIPOC diagram, in turn, is used to identify all parts of a process's improvement project before beginning work by allowing workers to become better organized by helping to map out a complex project or process. SIPOC can help manufacturing plants answer the following questions:

  • Who is supplying the Inputs to the process?

  • What are the specifications placed on the Inputs?

  • Who are the customers in this process?

  • What are the customers' specific requirements and how can they be met?

By using diagrams like these, manufacturing plants can help determine the suppliers of the manufacturing plant's process, the inputs to that process, the process the team is actually trying to improve, the outputs of the process, and customers that receive these outputs.

How can SIPOC improve quality?

Manufacturing plants can benefit greatly from SIPOC tools. Many times, a business will have a number of small problems or deficiencies. Alone, they are not that big of a deal. But together, however, they can result in decreased quality, more problems, and ultimately lead to the plant's failure. SIPOC can help to eliminate these problems and result in better manufacturing practices, higher level of quality, and more satisfied customers.

SIPOC can help improve quality in a manufacturing plant is disorganized, lacks vision or purpose, has poor communication, or any number of other problems that can hamper a manufacturing plant's success. A SIPOC diagram can help to identify and then fix these problems that are holding back the plant's success and quality of products by clearly breaking down and mapping out what needs to be done with specific projects.

SIPOC is a useful tool in helping a manufacturing plant to become better organized and provide better quality services to its customers. The SIPOC diagram can help to break down complex processes by making sure all the necessary factors are in place and nothing is left out that could damage the overall outcome of the process or service, leading to better quality overall.

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