Process improvements with Six Sigma, DMAIC ,SIPOC methodology

A SIPOC diagram is a tool used by a team to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project before work begins. It helps define a complex project that may not be well scoped, and is typically employed at the Measure phase of the Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology.

The idea behind the SIPOC methodology is to view each process as a different organization in itself. Each process therefore has its own suppliers, inputs and corresponding customers and outputs. The aggregation of all these processes is the system. This helps define each process with clarity. It also helps find what exactly is going wrong where. For instance, if there is a system outage, then the process is not to blame. Corrective action must be taken to ensure that the infrastructure suppliers perform better. Here are some of the salient features of the SIPOC methodology.

High Level Process Map: A SIPOC methodology is in-effect a high level process map. It does not have details regarding who is supposed to be doing what. Rather it defines the working relationships between the various stakeholders. Some steps are required to effectively implement the SIPOC methodology. They are as follows:

Acquaint Suppliers: A large number of issues arise in the process because the suppliers are not well versed with the requirements. The suppliers could be internal or external to the organization but that is not the point of contention. The idea is orient the suppliers and make them aware of the rules, policies and procedures set for them. The Service Level Agreements must be explicitly stated to ensure that the suppliers know exactly what is expected of them.

Scheduling Inputs: Based on the negotiations and inputs from suppliers, one must carefully schedule inputs. Inputs can be in the form of men, money, material, machinery or information. The inputs must be provided to the process in the most optimum manner. There are many operations research techniques which can b e used in this regard to lower the cost levels and increase the service levels.


The SIPOC provided an effective methodology to get an in detail look at the process. Some things that are usually defined as the part of SIPOC are as follows:

§ Boundaries: The process boundaries must be explicitly stated. Blurred boundaries lead to ambiguity which further leads to non performance of tasks.

§ Sub Processes: The intermediate processes and inputs and outputs must be clearly defined as a part of the process definition.

§ Process Owner: One person must be made accountable to see end to end execution of the process. This person will take care of any intermediate challenges that come in the way.

Outputs: Outputs must be expresses in terms of deliverables which can be verified. Therefore having outputs such as customer satisfaction is not correct. This can be the purpose of the process, however the output will be something like the best possible service (define using SLA) provided in the least possible time (Specify time in minutes). It is important to keep the outputs quantifiable because what cannot be measured cannot be managed.

Customer: The customer’s job is to consume the outputs of the process as well as provide feedback. The feedback could be related to the current performance of the process. It could also be regarding the future changes expected in the outputs of the process. For instance, the sales department is the customer of operations. They should communicate to operations if they see a period of slow sales so that production can be adjusted accordingly.

Quality Control with Six Sigma

The business management approaches are mostly centered on the quality control of products or services. The primary objective of keeping the quality of products and services up to the mark is to aim at the long-term success of delivering customer satisfaction.

The ISO 9000 International Organization for Standardization defines quality control as the operational techniques and activities that are used in order to fulfill the requirements for quality.
As improving the quality standards of products and services is an ongoing concern for businesses, Six Sigma quality management approach is taking the center stage. It aids the aim to remain in operation and make significant profit.

Six Sigma uses the DMAIC framework.

Six Sigma Vs TQM :Now-a-days, Six Sigma quality has emerged as the hot business management topic. It has been inherited directly from TQM or Total Quality Management. The toolset and concepts used in Six Sigma quality management are the same as TQM.

Six sigma Vs Kaizen Vs Lean : Kaizen tries to improve the business as a whole by creating a standard way of working, increasing efficiency and eliminating business waste. Six Sigma is more focused on quality output (the final product). ... Lean is all about eliminating waste to increase process speed and quality through the reduction of process waste

Dibert on Siz sigma

When we talk of ISO certification for Quality Management,what is Quality : “Quality is the systematic pursuit of excellence.”

Quality as Philosophy
•             The pursuit of perfect that never ends.
•             Quality is conscience.
•             Excellence.
•             Quality is the fulfillment of needs.
•             Quality is the degree of feeling happiness.
•             Quality is the intangible that makes a better world tangible.
•             Quality is a set of principles and a set of methodologies for achieving the joint benefits of greater productivity, lower costs, better utility, durability, and satisfaction with products and services simultaneously that helps to develop customer preferences for sustained and acceptable use.
•             Maximizing the benefit and minimizing the harm to society associated with any product or service.

Definition of Quality
•             Quality is a way of life. It is a culture that makes us work in all our activities with a customer focus and with a philosophy of efficiency and excellence in what we do and in what we produce.
•             Quality is the state in which all value entitlements (in its broadest meaning) are fully realized for customers and other stakeholders focused for the present with future considerations.

Quality as a Personal Ethic
•             All of us doing, always better, the right things.
•             Do the right thing, the right way, the first time, for the right reason.
•             Treating everyone like a guest in your home.
•             Always going the extra mile to create a holistically-satisfying experience for every stakeholder we deal with.
•             The pursuit of excellence and deep understanding of all we do.

Quality in the Eyes of the Customer
•             Quality is what the customer says it is.
•             Meeting or exceeding my customer's expectations.
•             I know it when I experience it.
•             My total experience of the provider.

Quality in the Eye of the Producer
•             Quality is compliance to a specification.
•             Conformance to requirements.
•             Fit for use.
•             Meeting customer requirements.
•             The property of a product or service measured against the needs of the customer.
•             A complete set of realized inherent characteristics of products, process, or system to meet (customer) requirements.
•             The provision of value to the customer as defined by the customer.
•             Conforming to the requirements of the customer.
•             The contract between the user and the supplier, between the  customer and the producer.
•             The value of a company's product/service.

Quality for the Enterprise
•             Quality is the true value of worth of an entity.
•             Enterprise performance.
•             Meeting the needs of customers (external and internal).
•             It is the conscience of a company and its fundamental  responsibility for its consumers.
•             Quality is related to the organization's capacity to satisfy stakeholder expectations.
•             Quality is the degree to which the organization meets the needs and expectations of all its stakeholders.
•             Meeting the requirements of the customer, the company, and related parts.
•             A long-term profitable relationship with co-workers and customers.

   "Quality is the systematic pursuit of excellence."