Difference Between TQM and Six Sigma

TQM vs Six Sigma

In a time where quality can be considered as an important aspect in operating a business successfully, getting to know the difference between TQM and Six Sigma can be helpful to those interested in the effective tools to improve quality in organizations. Organizations ultimate objective is to achieve success through customer satisfaction. Therefore, both TQM (Total Quality Management) and Six Sigma can be identified as time-tested tools that can be used to enhance the quality of products, as well as services. This article describes the two quality tools, TQM and Six Sigma, and analyses the differences between TQM and Six Sigma principles.

What is TQM?

Everyone who is related to an organization from top to bottom has a huge responsibility in providing quality products or services. There are various quality tools and philosophies such as TQM are practiced at organizations for this purpose. TQM can be considered as a business philosophy which explains the ways of managing people and business processes in order to ensure customer satisfaction at every stage of the business. 

There are several objectives related to TQM such as;

- achieving zero defects and rejects in products

- zero breakdowns of machines and equipment

- 100% on time delivery of products and services to the customers

- continuous improvements in the processes in order to get the things right at the first time

- employee empowerment for better customer experience

In order to achieve quality throughout the processes, in some organizations, there are quality inspectors appointed at each stage of the process to detect the errors or defects in them. This ensures that the customers will receive quality products from the producers.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma can be identified as a tool of measuring the quality that drive s towards perfection. It is fairly a new concept that focuses on continuous quality improvements for achieving near perfection by limiting the number of possible defects to less than 3.4 defects per million.

The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is to implement a strategy for process improvements using two Six Sigma sub-methodologies known as DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC stands for Defines, Measures, Analyzes, Improves and Control of processes. It is a particular type of an improvement system for existing processes that are below the specification that are moving towards the incremental improvements.

DMAIC in Sig Sigma

DMADV stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify, and it is an improvement system used to develop new processes or products at Six Sigma quality levels. It can also be used even if a current process requires an additional improvement. There is a hierarchy among Six Sigma implementers. Both, Six Sigma Green Belts and Six Sigma Black Belts, execute Six Sigma processes. These are overseen by Six Sigma Master Black Belts. 

Lean Six Sigma

What is the difference between TQM and Six Sigma?

• TQM is focusing on customer satisfaction while Six Sigma focuses on continuous improvements and their benefits will be gained even after the goals have been achieved.

• Black belts, who have gone through formal training and have a proven track record in quality gains manage Six Sigma projects while TQM is managed by the quality control department and those professionals are specialized on quality improvements.

• TQM is a concept associated with process improvements by reducing defects, errors and waste in organizations while Six Sigma is a concept that focuses on continuous quality improvements for achieving near perfection by limiting the number of possible defects to less than 3.4 defects per million.

Difference Between TQM and Six Sigma

Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between TQM and TQC
  2. Difference Between Learn and Six Sigma 
Image Courtesy: 
1. DMAIC Roadmap by Fisher College of Business
2. Lean Six Sigma by Zirguesi Own work (CC0 1.0