Six Sigma vs Total Quality Management (TQM)

September 3, 2019

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Bottom line: Which one is better?

Bottom line: Six Sigma is better.

Six Sigma is better in this review of TQM vs Six Sigma because it is based on facts and is data driven, is result oriented, is linked to strategy and related to customer requirements. It can also be applied to all common business processes like administration, R & D, sales as well as marketing.

Six Sigma vs Total Quality Management (TQM): FEATURES

In this review, Six Sigma and TQM are both focused to quality improvement and their main purpose is to minimise defection in products simply put, poor service in any organisation geared to bring customer satisfaction. Both Six Sigma and Total Quality Management (TQM) are aimed at identifying the main sources of defects and providing lasting solution that will bring quality. They try to go beyond the main route course of the production and provide solution.

When we compare the features of Six Sigma and TQM, the two have slight differences and this is the reason why most professionals and business managers find it hard to choose between the two approaches. The main differences of Six Sigma and Total Quality Management are in their approach, focus and scope.  TQM dwells much in development, maintenance and deployment of the systems of the organization needed for the process of the business. It has a strategic approach which is meant to maintain the already existing quality standards and increase quality standards as well.

Six Sigma on the hand is a continuous quality improvement program that whose main focus is to achieve perfection as it strives to restrict the potential defects to less than 3.4 defects per million. The big difference between Six Sigma and Total Quality Management (TQM) is that while TQM deals with quality as conformance to internal demands, Sigma Six on the other hand puts its focus in quality improvement as it reduces the defect number. The organization benefits much in operational cost reduction, cycle time reduction and helps in saving cost.

Bottom line: Six Sigma is better.

Six Sigma vs Total Quality Management (TQM): WORK MANAGEMENT

In terms of work management, Six Sigma is known to deliver better and effective results as earlier discussed than Total Quality Management as its system is customer feedback oriented and more so, is accurate and is result based.

Total Quality Management on the other hand looks to be a less complicated process when compared to Six Sigma as it doesn’t require extensive training. Six Sigma is a process that requires training for you to implement and operate meaning that if you are not trained it will be cumbersome for you. Six Sigma employees who have gone through their training are either certified as Green belts or Black belts according to the level of proficiency attained.

Total Quality Management deals with improving the already existing policies and procedures to achieve high quality production while Six Sigma involves in improving quality production by first, minimizing defects and then lastly eliminating the defects from the system.

The greatest downside of Total Quality Management is that as it main focus is to maintain existing quality standards; the process finally has to reach a saturation level after a certain period of time. When it reaches a saturation level, there are no further improvements in quality that can be implemented. Six Sigma deals with saturation stage by initiating a next level quality process.

The application where Six Sigma is regarded better is that it is based on a pre-planned charter that gives details of a specific or given project, financial targets, potential benefits as well as milestones. It is risky to work without the knowledge of your financial gains in any organisation and this is the case when you are using the Total Quality Management (TQM) approach. However, Six Sigma deals with such risk as it is based on Define-Measure-Analyse-Control (DMAIC) which is focused in putting precise measures, looking for potential problems and then giving out solutions.

Bottom line: Six Sigma is better than Total Quality Management.


When we compare Six Sigma to Total Quality Management, Six Sigma is better as it is known to produce more effective and better results as its way of approach is considered to be modern as that of Total Quality Management (TQM). In brief, Six Sigma’s process is result oriented and is more accurate.