A SIPOC diagram is a great first step in documenting a process. SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Processes, Outputs, and Customers for a given process.
SIPOC diagrams can map large and small processes, and oftentimes a high level SIPOC will have a lower level SIPOC for each major process.
A SIPOC is normally completed in the following order –
(1) List the beginning and end of the process being documented in the Processes column.
(2) List the major process steps between the beginning and ending points noted above in the Processes column.
(3) List the major Outputs from the processes listed in the center.
(4) List the Customers who receive the Outputs.
(5) Now move to the left and list the Inputs that are necessary for the Processes column.
(6) Finally, list the suppliers who provide the inputs.
Here is a sample SIPOC diagram for a new product introduction process (see sipoc.info for more examples and templates).