Stream a SIPOC Diagram of Travelling during COVID-19 Period

By : Siti Hartinah Ahmad

Business Process Improvement Consultant/ Lean Sigma Trainer/Process Engineering Professional

Indonesia and other Asian countries except Japan and China are in the red zone category of COVID-19 infection rate. Countries are marked with red zone meaning that level of infection in these countries are severe. Hungarian government have introduced international restriction with the aim of preventing the virus from being imported and to avoid a possible new wave of corona virus. For foreigner with Hungarian residency, there are some requirements to do travelling, we must have a letter of reference from our company for doing an urgent business trip, or from university for such a research purpose. Before travelling, getting a passing permit issued by the Embassy is compulsory. People believe that it is uncommon for doing an overseas business travel to a red zone country, let alone a leisure journey during COVID-19 Period.

I try to identify a process flow of recent travelling’s requirement from Hungary to the red marked country. It is a benefit to understand a process flow therefore it leads us to an ideal value stream mapping which visualizes an end to end structure of key step. It corresponds data needed to understand overall process for people to incorporate improvements that optimize the entire process, not just at one process step that will sub optimize the process. But we will not explore it in detail for this article.
I just have a thought about how to correlate a process flow in a modified SIPOC (Supplier Input Process Output Customer) or IPO (Input Process Output) diagram. For an ideal DMAIC (Define Measure Analyze Improve Control) methodology, we initiate a SIPOC diagram in ‘Define’ phase for all listed factors. In ‘Measure’ phase, SIPOC diagram is a guidance to collect series of data, and never forget to break down the process in SIPOC diagram into detail flow in Measure phase. We develop further a synchronized SIPOC for further brainstorming in ‘Analyze’ phase, here we challenge the brainstormers to review all input variations to determine a most significant factor to the output, known as root cause. I emphasize that the SIPOC or IPO will be deployed further to our ‘Improve’ phase of our DMAIC, to reflect an achievement of the output.

Below is a distinctive process flow of nowadays travelling process to my country, whom customer, the traveller deals with multi suppliers to get all enabling documents for his or her travelling. Let say it is a SIPOC up to Improve phase as traveller must engage suppliers to get series of output in order to obtain an ‘On Time’ Final Output.

It is only a general information for people to get an idea of this distinctive situation but I do not include all others input, if we refer to an ideal 6M factors, 4P or 4S.

The traveller must provide all documentation required to get a permit letter. It is not a simple process as everything must be considered and calculated. In this case, the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Test shows an important role. It is the bottle neck of our travel process. I learnt from my son’s travel and tried to calculate the duration, let say a specification of each activity (red highlight). Just to remind a bit on SIPOC diagram. Here is my opinion about the steps to construct our SIPOC :

1. Define each of SIPOC components:

Understand what our process is, it should be indicated in Process column, a short-clear and understandable task because it will be executed to reach a desired output, to satisfy the Customer.

What is our expectation from the process, this will be our ‘Output’, the Ys factors, the end result, the customer expectation. It is allowable to set a target from each output, then a final target should have a measurable goal which is aligned with customer’s expectation.

List of all affecting factors to our process, ones that have impact to the output, those are known as Input, the Xs factors. Do not miss any significant input, 6M (Man Machine Material Method Measurement Mother nature) should be our guidance, which it is more applicable for manufacturing business type or 4P (People Policy Plant Process) not to mention 8P (Price Place Promotion Personnel Process Physical’s evidence Performance Partnership) used for product marketing or the 4S (Surroundings Suppliers System Skill) which is widely used for service business. Do not get confused as they go the same method of analysis during figuring out the root cause.

List all related Suppliers, whom we need all support, data, information or products from, they are the ones who provide all of customer’s demands to attain an output. They are the Inputs provider. Most of us initiate a SIPOC by listing the Suppliers.

Put the recipient of the output as Customers, the ones who need the data, product or service from the suppliers. Ensure that customers feel that they receive benefits and services over what was paid, customers are the suppliers’ focus. They are the ones who receive the output from a process.

2. Stream those factors, put a clear goal or target on each output.

3. Bear in mind that a SIPOC diagram is flexible whenever it should be cascaded down, it depends on the complexity of a process.

Please consider an end-to-end until we find out the real output of customer’s expectation. Sometimes it is easier to flow a SIPOC for physical product than a service or information flow not to mention a complex technical issue.

I usually start with “P” instead of S, because it is easier for me to figure out type of task we deal with. We ensure our output is a measurable indicator, a quantifiable number which is aligned with our customer satisfaction. Based on the above SIPOC diagram, we educate ourselves as good customer because we must understand our own requirements and it should cotton on suppliers about their expected services by customers. Suppliers must demonstrate credibly the value of what they provide to help customers make smart decisions. The SIPOC indicates a final output which is ‘On Time arrival’ based on ticket’s schedule and we can put a number for safety rank and health of traveller for sure, this will be monitored after 14 days of quarantine in his or her visited country. The outcome of on time arrival is an impact of ‘on budget ’travelling as traveller typically allocate one-time PCR test and a selected ticket based on allocated budget. Imagine if we fail the PCR test or an expired PCR Test even other unexpected delay of each former output, all causing more spent money on more expensive travelling’ budget; failing to plan is planning to fail. It obliges affected people as customer to follow each process step to be on track or be early as possible. Red highlight is the important measurement taken during each step of document preparation; hence it should not fail because it will determine the next process.

In accordance with the process flow, which process step can be optimized further? Always remember that sometimes we cannot eliminate any of ‘necessary non value-added’ as it relates to safety and health. Bear in mind that everybody will hope the best end of the story. As Indonesian, I sincerely believe my country will cope better with current situation, despite the fact that it is not easy to manage a high populated country. But keep in mind that necessity is the mother of invention. It is time to improve the health system, an opportunity of digitalisation awareness in many aspects of life, it is a right time for people to explore any of creativities. It is everybody’s responsibility to manage ‘a life must go on’. We must believe there will be a better tomorrow as we can bear the hardship today, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep safe, stay healthy.


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