SIPOC – An Amazing Way to Reduce Waste and Streamline Workload

DO you ever struggle to find tools that help employees streamline their workload?  Are your employees unclear on exactly what they should be doing, or WHY timely, accurate, complete and quality results are desired from them?  This tool, the SIPOC chart, is simple and easy to use for employees at any level.  It promotes better job understanding, then provides a means to streamline workload, increase efficiencies and reduce waste:

Every employee can think of his/her job as a “Process”.  Every “Process” is linked to Suppliers / Inputs and to Customers / Outputs.  The SIPOC chart breaks down each of these elements into a separate buckets, so employees can better clarify their role and linkages to others:

SUPPLIERS:  These are the people, departments, companies who request your services or provide you with materials, labor, documents or resources to do your job.  Think of all the people who call you, email you, provide you with information that you use in your daily job, those who provide you data, send you bills to pay, or who drop documents into your in-basket.

INPUTS:  The materials, documents, information, labor, services or items that land in your inbasket or in your work area that are needed to perform your job.  This could be delivered on paperwork, electronically, or even verbally.

PROCESSES:  The actual work or procedures you perform in your job.  Think of this as a series of steps that you perform during your average day.  Now break down these processes into those that “add value” to your business, and those that are time wasters (for example, cleaning up errors and mistakes)

OUTPUTS:  The results that you create in your job – reports, products, services.  Think about the timing, accuracy, quality and completeness of the outputs from your job.

CUSTOMERS:  All of the people, departments, companies or groups who may rely directly or indirectly on outputs from your job.

See the following example of an accounts payable clerk:

Once your SIPOC chart is complete, have your employee analyze his/her Processes to determine which are “value added” and which are “waste”.  In the above example, there may be significant time locating backup documents to verify invoices for payment.  There may also be some processes like “Error Correction” which much be performed when data is incomplete or invalid.  I have seen jobs where more than 50% of employee time is spent on correction and chasing down information – think how efficient an office could run without waste buildup in each position!

The Goal?

a) Eliminate “Waste Processes” within each job;

b) Train Suppliers to give you better, more timely or more accurate inputs;

c) Understand Customers and what Outputs they REALLY want.

Try this SIPOC analysis, see if you can streamline parts of your own job and department!

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