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Comparing lean manufacturing to TQM

Lean manufacturing has become a popular trend among companies and especially among manufacturing companies.Total Quality Management is also a great tool mainly used in government, manufacturing, education, and service industries.So how do lean manufacturing and Total Quality Management compare?Let's take a closer look at the two.

Total Quality Management
As a definition, Total Quality Management or TQM is a management strategy aimed at the awareness of quality in all organizational processes.The hope is to provide everyone with a way to create customer satisfaction at lower costs.It consists of three paradigms:

  • Total-which means it involves the entire organization of your company

  • - Quality

  • - Management- implementing a system of steps to achieve your goals.

It is an approach to organize and obtain a higher quality through the participation of all members of the company.Total Quality Management consists of planning, organizing, directing, control, and assurance.It is called "total" because it aims in quality of return to satisfy shareholders; quality of products to satisfy the customer needs; and quality of life (at work and outside of wok) to satisfy the employee and organization.

Lean Manufacturing
Lean manufacturing is the production of goods using less of everything.In using lean manufacturing with your company the goals would be to use less waste, less human effort, less manufacturing space, less investment in tools, and less engineering to develop a new product.Lean manufacturing is known for its renowned focus on the reduction of waste, which in turn improves overall customer value.There are however some key perspectives to implement with it.

Comparison of Lean Manufacturing and Total Quality Management


  • The effort with lean manufacturing is near perfection by decreasing and eventually eliminating all number of possible defects and waste product.

  • - Although both lean manufacturing and total quality management both aim to improve quality, total quality management reaches a certain point or stage at which no more improvements can be made.Lean manufacturing on the other hand focuses on taking the quality improvement to the next level.

  • - Another major difference between the two is the approach they take.Total Quality management views quality as a conformance to internal requirements, while Lean manufacturing focuses on reducing the number of defects.

  • - Lean manufacturing helps organizations reduce operational costs, cycle time, and cost savings.It tries to eliminate costs that are of no value to the customers like costs incurred due to waste.

  • - Total Quality management focuses more on improving individual operations within unrelated business process, while lean manufacturing tries to improve operations within a single business process.

  • - In more general terms lean manufacturing requires the skills of trained professionals and total quality management may not.Total quality management may only be a "part time" thing, and can be done with anyone; dedicated or not.

If you are a manufacturing plant that knows what your plan is; if you know the scale of your project, financial goals, and where you want to be long term then lean manufacturing may be a better way to go for your plant.If you do not know your plans as of yet then TQM will work for the time being.Lean manufacturing can help you make more precise measurements and give you answers to your problems immediately.Take a good look at the dynamics of your company and how it is run.Then as you make comparisons between lean manufacturing and total quality management, you will have a better feel for what fits in your business.

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