total quality management, tqm, six sigma, methodology, training, calculating, qualtec, method, six-sigma employment, 6 sigma

 TQM, total quality management, and six sigma have many similarities but very important differences.
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TQM, total quality management  and six sigma differences are important to understand.

Differences and Similarities Between Six Sigma and TQM, total quality management.

A question we frequently get asked is the difference between Six Sigma and TQM, total quality management. First off the tools are basically the same, depending upon the level of TQM, total quality management, sophistication. For a definition of Six Sigma see:

If Six Sigma is used only at the project level to eliminate defects, it is an incremental improvement approach with some structure and discipline. This can be very valuable but misses much of the true value of Six Sigma and the major differences between TQM, total quality management and Six Sigma.

The real value of Six Sigma starts to show when it is integrated with the organization's Strategic Plan helping to implement that plan with a focus on the paying customers. In order to achieve the true benefits of Six Sigma, projects will cross organizational boundaries and be focused on business processes this is relatives unusual for most TQM, total quality management efforts. Sustained strategic results can be achieved when this is done.  When applied to a business process the benefits obtained move the organization toward World Class Performance in that business process.

Following are some key areas with a typical TQM, total quality management approach followed by the Six Sigma approach.

Core Business:

  TQM, total quality management

   幹requently not part of the Business Strategy.

   想uality Council did not include Senior Managers.

   意o bottom line accountability

   愛e-stripe the parking lot projects.


  Six Sigma

   嫂 strategy from the top of the Business Unit

   嵩hampions and Senior Management are the Quality Council

   感rojects frequently have a profitability hurdle

   感rojects are carefully selected with managers accountable.

Some helpful links:



 TQM, total quality management

   弒mprove everything

   愈sually not targeted to a process or business

   幹requently without focus

   意o projected performance levels.


 Six Sigma

   3.4 defect per million opportunities

   愁argeted areas

   感rojects have a defined scope by management.

Some helpful links:




 TQM, total quality management

   幹requently vocal strong supporters

   愚ost places with active leadership succeeded at some level

   愚ost management treated it as a fad

   慌hen supporters left so did TQM, total quality management.


 Six Sigma

   慌here successful the top management demands implementation

   愚anagement takes an active role in all phases of Six Sigma

   弒f management treats like TQM, Six Sigma will have the same    success/failure.

Some helpful links:




 TQM, total quality management

   微earn the tools

   嵯on't worry about the bottom line

   愈se as many tools as possible

   愚any re-stripe the parking lot projects.


 Six Sigma

    媲lack Belts are well trained

   感rojects are expected to meet objectives

   愈se only the tools necessary for the projects

   惹ignificant improvement expected.

Some helpful links:



 TQM, total quality management

   慌ithin departments


   惹eldom based on customer critical criteria

   意o time urgency.


 Six Sigma

    媲est results when focused on customer

    媲usiness process focus

   嵩rosses departmental functions

   惹ignificant improvement for each project

   愁ime frame part of scope.

Some helpful links:



 TQM, total quality management

   惹eparate organization

   意ot accountable to the business unit

   嵩ollection of "experts"

   嫂 career

   意ot a respected or strong area of the corporation

   感arking place for ended careers.


 Six Sigma

   嵩hampion reports within the Business

   媲lack Belts are in the Business Unit

   媲lack Belts are expected to return to line function 

   想uality Council of Senior Leaders and Champions.

Some helpful links:



 TQM, total quality management



   微ittle on service

   微ittle on logistics

   微ittle on marketing.


 Six Sigma

   嫂ll business processes

   意on-manufacturing are often the largest opportunities.

Some helpful links:




Adams Associates
10A Bayou Rd
Lake Jackson, TX 77566 
1- 979-297-5198

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