This is one of the most common questions I am asked by newly-training Green & Blaông chồng Belts. These two LSS tools appear very similar. So similar, in fact, that it seems a waste khổng lồ use them both.

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So why vì chưng we create both in our projects?

Let’s first take a look at what each of these tools is, và what it does.

The term SIPOC stands for Suppliers – Inputs – Process – Outputs – Customers. A SIPOC diagram is a map showing a full process at a high level in no more than 6-8 steps. It identifies the inputs necessary for that process to lớn operate, & who supplies them; and the outputs of the process, and who consumes them. This latter stage is crucial as it identifies who says the outputs are satisfactory.


In a Lean Six Sigma project, a SIPOC diagram is completed during the Define phase for a number of reasons. In addition lớn giving a high-level view of the process, the SIPOC diagram helps to answer the following questions, all of which must be understood before starting to gather data on the process:

When does the process begin và end: What is the SCOPE?Who is affected by my project – suppliers và customers: Who are the STAKEHOLDERS?What are the inputs, outputs và key process steps: What could we MEASURE?What is this project working on: How can we COMMUNICATE about the project?

When a team reaches the Measure phase, they are advised khổng lồ complete another process maps – only in more detail this time. This might be a Value Stream Map (VSM), or some other kind of maps such as a swimlane diagram. Let’s look at a VSM, although the points made apply to any other kind of detailed process bản đồ as well.


The VSM shows the flow of the product or service through the process, và the information flows which manage the process. It shows the inputs & outputs at every step of the process, and records measurements about them.

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So if the VSM contains all this, the question is often asked, why vày we need lớn complete a SIPOC at all? It may seem a little lượt thích a duplicated effort, but it’s not.

There are three good reasons to lớn complete a SIPOC before starting a VSM:

It isn’t always clear where the boundaries of the process are. In many situations, business processes appear to flow seamlessly from one khổng lồ another. Creating a SIPOC with clear start và stop points quickly brings clarity to this question.It establishes what level of detail is needed for the VSM, and whether all of it needs khổng lồ be mapped. A team can take a considerable time to lớn bản đồ a process in detail, and not all of this effort is used to lớn solve the business problem. After creating a SIPOC, a team can zoom in on the parts of the end-to-over process most relevant to lớn the problem, và only bản đồ that in detail.The SIPOC makes teams consider the end-to-over process before they dive sầu inlớn the detailed map; this means they’re unlikely khổng lồ neglect the views of a critical stakeholder.

The other way khổng lồ challenge whether both tools are necessary is to ask whether the SIPOC alone is sufficient for your needs. Do you need a process bản đồ too? In my view, the answer is always yes.

The SIPOC tells you what the high cấp độ steps of the process are, but does nothing to lớn identify the possible wastes. Which process steps are generating more defects? Where are the delays? Where have rework loops, expediting processes & work-in-process built up? The detailed process maps identifies these problems & so leads the project team khổng lồ find the root causes it must tackle in order lớn make process improvements.