Using the SIPOC Model to Break the Silo Culture

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Managers often see large and complex organizations from a functional or vertical view.  This works in some cases where individuals are close to subject matter experts.  In this environment subordinate managers tend to perceive other functions as enemies rather than partners.

This silo structure prevents interdepartmental issues from being resolved.

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Each department has its goals and there is often competition for limited resources.  The result is sub-optimization of the organization – one department being able to meet its goals at the expense of the organization.

The traditional approach shows a silo structure where separate and autonomous groups are unconnected and each department’s manager becomes the customer.  Activities take place but value to the end customer may be compromised.

If the organization is small, then the traditional vertical organization may be sufficient to get things done and still meet the requirements of the customer.

 

The traditional mindset is- if each piece is managed then the needs of the end customer are met.  This is erroneous.

The silo structure often gives rise to a silo culture, one that does not encourage collaboration, but instead perpetuates the “blame game” and “finger-pointing”.  There are several structures within the organization that supports this behavior.  In some cases, there are functional metrics which conflict with the overall direction of the company, in other cases the reward and recognition system supports the silo culture.

The SIPOC template moves organizations away from this and provides the steps to create a customer focused organization.

What is SIPOC

The acronym means – Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer

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In the SIPOC model, it is necessary to have a feedback system – feedback between the customer and the process, and between the process and the supplier.  The feedback loop ensures that the process is sustained and the organization does not revert to the old ways of doing things.

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Value of SIPOC

  • Promotes cross-functional collaboration – teams are able to work together to see the big picture
  • Improves knowledge on what happens outside of the department
  • Provides measurement not only on activities within a department but how they add value to the customer
  • A big tool for motivation -as employees begin to see the “big picture” and understand the role they play
  • In Lean Six Sigma the SIPOC model is vital for:
  • Promotes and helps sustain a process focus
  • Provides a foundation for process mapping and process management

Although organizations may be designed by specialties, the SIPOC model is useful to change how work gets done, and ensure that the needs of the external customers are met.  The tool provides the template for changing the culture of the organization from one that is confrontational to one that works across functional boundaries.  When this is allowed to happen, teams can identify and remove waste – activities that are non-value added in terms of meeting customer requirements.

The bottom-line is that the SIPOC model and Lean Six Sigma have the ability to change the thinking of individuals in the organization.  For more information, contact us or call 740-725-6325.

Norma Simons is Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, president of Performance Innovation LLC, and an AEC Solution Partner.  Norma heads a team of qualified professionals in the areas of Lean and Six Sigma.  Her success is attributed to her unique integration of performance improvement systems such as Lean, Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma, quality management systems, business operating systems, and balanced scorecards that have enabled the effective execution of organizational strategy and, ultimately, bottom-line results.

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