The Measurement Phase

As noted above, the purpose of the measurement phase is to validate and quantify the problem statement by identifying and measuring the various steps in the current process. The XYZ team began by constructing a SIPOC chart. SIPOC is another Six Sigma acronym, this one for Supplier, Input, Process, Output, and Customer. Its purpose is to provide a high-level understanding of the problem and process. For this project, the SIPOC elements were as shown in Exhibit 4.

Exhibit 4. SIPOC Elements

Category

Supplier

Employee needing HR/payroll records updated; assistant to employee

Input

HR/payroll system update form

Process

Keying of data; system update

Output

Updated records

Customer

Employee needing HR/payroll records updated

When the team completed its SIPOC, it noted that the supplier and the customer were, in many cases, the same. Although this is not typical for most processes, it was a key point for this project and was instrumental in determining the proposed solution.

Once the team had developed a SIPOC chart, it expanded the "process" section into a separate process map. As shown in Exhibit 5, the process map outlines the primary steps in the current process. The team confirmed these steps with customers and measured the elapsed time between steps. Because there were a number of "handoff" steps, including the mailing of forms to keypunch, the elapsed time from first obtaining the form to updating the records could be as long as one week. The team knew it could — and would — improve that.

Exhibit 5. Current Process Map

Exhibit 5. Current Process Map

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Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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