Process Definition Measurements of process inputs and outputs can be used to optimize the process being measured. Process inputs may be raw materials, human resources, or services. All inputs have some quantifiable measurement, including human effort and skill level. Process input requirements should be stated so that key measures of input quality can be controlled. Measurements within the process can also be used as effective controls. Once process capabilities are known, output measures can be used to monitor if the process has remained in control. When considering the entire organizational feedback system, complex interrelationships are likely to exist. This is where planned experimentation and designing for six sigma comes into play. Planned experimentation deals with isolating the effects of several different, independent variables on a process. Designing for six sigma includes eliminating potential sources of error.
Process Definition - SIPOC
A key concept in six sigma methodology is the SIPOC high-level process map in which SIPOC stands for suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, and customers.
A display of cross-functional activities in a single, simple diagram
A “big picture” perspective to which additional detail can be added
A framework applicable to both large and small organizations
The feedback is shared when Inputs and Outputs are provided, similarly, the knowledge repository is updated with the process details. The ultimate goal is to identify essential work ﬂows and sources of variation in work over time.
SIPOC captures the key components of success from suppliers through internal processes and on to key customers. Other tools such as process mapping, flowcharting, and affinity diagrams can be used to further identify the major steps in a processor system.
The SIPOC process map is designed to be a high-level process view with 4 – 7 displayed steps. The map enables all team members to view the process in the same light. Various six sigma authors warn against making the diagram too detailed and thereby lose the ability to focus on a six sigma improvement project that has a significant reward.
The following steps can be used for developing a SIPOC diagram:
Have the team create the process map
The process may have 4 or 5 key steps
List the outputs of the process
List the customers of the output of the process
List the inputs of the process
List the suppliers of the process
As an optional step, identify some preliminary requirements of the customers
Involve the team leader, champion, and other stakeholders for verification