For new processes or teams, the SIPOC format can be reversed to start with the customer:  Customers, Outputs, Processes, Inputs, Suppliers.   This approach has several advantages for new processes –

  • It begins with the customer, not with assumptions around what the team thinks is important to the customer.  Never assume to know your customer’s CTQ’s.
  • Once the customers are identified, the team can ask what outputs the customers are looking for, without making any assumptions.
  • The resulting processes are then defined to deliver those outputs.
  • Once the processes are defined, required inputs and suppliers are fairly easy to determine.

For existing processes, the normal SIPOC approach is preferred since it defines the current state (always the first step in process improvement), rather than a theoretical ideal state.