SIPOC, The Key to Process Design for Six Sigma

August 31th, 2009

Tags: sipoc, process dfss, Process Design for Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma, dmadv, dfss dmadv

Designing new processes is a complex task especially if your desire is zero defects. The Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) process is geared toward identifying the failures in the process that must be eliminated. The premise is the new design will mitigate all risks and potential failures because they were identified and then designed out of the process.

The question becomes, “Just how do you do that?” The DFSS process has the acronym of DMADV, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Validate. Let’s clarify these terms and make them understandable.

  • Define: Development Project Definition
  • Measure: Requirements Definition
  • Analyze: Conceptual Design
  • Design: Detailed Design
  • Validate: Test, Validate, and Implement

Process DFSS is a development project that should follow the typical development phases as named previously. During the requirements definition phase the voice of the customer and the business are defined. Potential failure modes are identified and the process functions that mitigate the risks are developed.

The tricky transition is coming up with the conceptual design following the completion of the requirements definition. Here is where the SIPOC process mapping method comes into play. SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers.

The conceptual process design is at a high level. To begin, identify who supplies inputs into the process and what those inputs are. Next, where does the process start and where does the process end. The process steps from the beginning to the end are limited to five steps. Then the outputs from each step, 1 thru 5, are defined along with the customers both internal and external who receive those outputs.

The SIPOC process map becomes the conceptual design of the new process. The suppliers who provide inputs into the process are defined. The beginning and ending points are defined. The process outputs and their customers are defined.

The next questions to answer are what volume will flow through the process and how often does the process cycle. These answers lead to the staffing requirements. Information technology solutions are identified at this point as well. The SIPOC process map facilitates timely completion of the new process conceptual design.

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