Differences between six sigma and TQM
Two of the major programs that many manufacturing companies use are six sigma and TQM, which stands for total quality management. Both of these programs are designed to help improve a manufacturing company's quality and in fact, these programs have quite a bit in common. Six Sigma is a quality measurement and improvement program that is designed to focus on improving the capability of a company's business processes. TQM is designed to do the same thing. The biggest difference between these two approaches is the approach that they take to get their results. Six Sigma requires you to look at one section at a time and to look at your quality standards to see if they need to be improved; total quality management only requires that you keep your existing standards. TQM views quality as conformance to the internal requirements, whereas Six Sigma works on improving the quality by reducing the number of defects.
Here is a look at some of the major differences between six sigma and TQM.
TQM does help in improving quality. However, it often ends up reaching a stage where no further quality improvements can be made. This means that TQM is limited in improving the processes in your manufacturing plant because you end up reaching a stand still. With Six Sigma, your company will focus on making improvements to your processes, but you will never reach a dead end with Six Sigma. The reason for this is that Six Sigma is a continuous process; the job never ends when it comes to making improvements to the processes. Another reason for this is that Six Sigma focuses on taking quality improvement processes to the next level, not just fixing and improving at the basic level.
One of the big things about Six Sigma that causes more companies to choose it over other quality improvement approaches is that Six Sigma focuses on cutting costs, such as operating costs. While Six Sigma looks closely at all of your processes to see where you can cut costs in your processes, without hurting the quality of your product. What Six Sigma is trying to do is to get rid of any costs that have no value to your customer. TQM focuses on improving quality, but it does not work on reducing costs that are of no value to your customer.
TQM focuses on improving individual operations within unrelated business processes. What this means is that TQM has a broad view because it focuses on improving everything in your company. While Six Sigma has a narrow view because it focuses on improving all of the operations within a single business process.
If you are using Six Sigma, the projects that you are going to be working on are going to require the skills of a professional. This is where your Six Sigma training comes in, for these Six Sigma projects are going to require you to have a trained "black belt" on hand. With TQM, the projects that you are going to be working on are not going to require the professional skills of thoroughly trained individuals; most likely, they will be a part-time activity that can be managed nu a non-dedicated manager.
Remember just because the programs are different from one another this does not mean that one program is going to be better than the other is. What you need to keep in mind is that each program is going to be better suited for certain situations. You will need to look at each program in depth to see which one will work out the best for your company.