Why Six Sigma not TQM?

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    I would like to know what is the difference line between Six Sigma and TQM, what is the specific thing that was added to Six Sigma that makes it different from TQM?
    Thank you!



    In six sigma each and every oppotunity has to be identified as a project.It is basically a project management approach to achieve the well defined goal with a specified time frame.Examples are :New product cycle time reduction,Scrap reduction,Yield improvement etc.
    TQM events such as 5S,SOP etc can be used as a tool to achieve the goal of any six sigma project.
    Focussed approach on each oppotunity with the help of statistical tools.
    Project benefits has to be shared with team members on completion of projects.
    Independent full time team leader called “Black Belt” is unique feature of SS.
    SS is not only for mfg process and it is for all processes such as bill passing,telephone responding,attendence etc.



    TQM is a fuzzy concept,while  SS is a statistical  concept that  measures  a process  in term of defects.



    Do you also consider Japan’s approach to quality “fuzzy”? I think your opinion is biased (due to lack of knowledge about other quality approaches) and anyone else who first learned about quality through Six Sigma. God knows they are plenty of them in this forum.


    Muhammad Khan

    Here is the article which i just read about this topic

    Why Six Sigma is not TQM
    Thomas Pyzdek
    February 2001
    My colleagues often tell me that there is no real difference between Six Sigma and TQM. “Show me where Six Sigma involves anything new.” Six Sigma employs some of the same tried-and-true tools and techniques of TQM. Both Six Sigma and TQM emphasize the importance of top-down support and leadership. Both approaches make it clear that continuous improvement of quality is critical to long-term business success. The PDSA cycle used in TQM is not fundamentally different than the Six Sigma DMAIC cycle.
    But there are differences. Critical differences. And these differences explain why the popularity of TQM has waned, while Six Sigma’s popularity continues to grow.
    The difference, in a word, is management. TQM provided only very broad guidelines for management to follow. Guidelines so abstract and general that only the most gifted leaders were able to knit together a successful deployment strategy for TQM. Business magazines and newspapers reported widespread failure of TQM efforts. True, solid research showed that organizations which succeeded in successfully implementing TQM reaped substantial rewards. But the low probability of success deterred many organizations from trying TQM. Instead, many organizations opted for ISO 9000. ISO 9000 promises not world-class performance levels, but “standard” performance. But it provides clear criteria and a guarantee that meeting these criteria will result in recognition. In contrast, TQM offered a mushy set of philosophical guidelines and no way to prove that one had accomplished their quality goals.
    Unlike TQM, Six Sigma was not developed by techies who only dabbled in management. Six Sigma was created by some of America’s most gifted CEOs. People like Motorola’s Bob Galvin, AlliedSignal’s Larry Bossidy, and GE’s Jack Welch. These people had a single goal in mind: to make their businesses as successful as possible. Once they were convinced that the tools and techniques of the quality profession could help them do this, they developed a framework to make it happen. Six Sigma.
    Speaking as a member of the quality profession, we knew that we had a winning set of tools that could solve quality problems in manufacturing. Total quality control, invented in 1950, showed that product quality could be improved by expanding quality efforts into upstream areas such as engineering and purchasing. We even had limited success in using our tools to improve quality in administrative areas by reducing errors in service transactions. But despite these successes we suffered from a number of shortcomings. For example:
    q      We focused on quality and ignored other critical business issues. Quality trumped everything else. Of course, this made no business sense and often lead to organizations that failed despite improved quality.
    q      We created a quality specialty that suffered from all of the same suboptimization problems as other functions within the organization. Despite all of our talk about a systems perspective, when push came to shove we fought for our point of view (and our budget) just like everyone else. In the typical organization this resulted in other departments considering “quality” to be the turf of the quality department. Thus, they backed off of—or never started—efforts of their own.
    q      We emphasized minimum acceptance requirements and standards, rather than striving for ever increasing levels of performance.
    q      We never developed an infrastructure for freeing up resources to improve business processes.
    q      We developed a career path in quality. Quality professionals tended to lack subject matter expertise in other areas of the company. This division of labor, combined with functionally specialized organization, made it difficult to improve quality beyond a certain level. (I estimate that this type of organization tops out at about 3.5 sigma.)
    The CEOs were able to see what the problems were, and to create an approach that fixed them. Six Sigma is addresses all of these issue.
    q      Six Sigma extends the use of the improvement tools to cost, cycle time, and other business issues.
    q      Six Sigma discards the majority of the quality toolkit. It keeps a subset of tools that range from the basic to the advanced. Six Sigma discards esoteric statistical tools and completely ignores such staples of the quality professional as ISO 9000 and the Malcolm Baldrige criteria. Training focuses on using the tools to achieve tangible business results, not on theory.
    q      Six Sigma integrates the goals of the organization as a whole into the improvement effort. Sure, quality is good. But not independent of other business goals. Six Sigma creates top-level oversight to assure that the interests of the entire organization are considered.
    q      Six Sigma strives for world-class performance. The Six Sigma standard is 3.4 PPM failures per million opportunities. It goes beyond looking at errors. The best of the Six Sigma firms try to meet or exceed their customer’s expectations 999,996.4 times out of every million encounters.
    q      Six Sigma creates an infrastructure of change agents who are not employed in the quality department. These people work full and part-time on projects in their areas or in other areas. Six Sigma Black Belts do not make careers in Six Sigma. Instead, they focus on Six Sigma for two years and then continue their careers elsewhere. Green Belts work on Six Sigma projects while holding down other jobs. These subject matter experts are provided with training to give the skills they need to improve processes. Six Sigma “belts” are not certified unless they can demonstrate that they have effectively used the approach to benefit customers, shareholders, and employees.
    There are many other differences as well. Having worked with organizations that have done TQM well and Six Sigma well, I can tell you that successful programs of both types look very much alike. But Six Sigma, by clearly defining this “look,” makes it easier for organizations to succeed by providing a clear roadmap to success. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that succeeding at Six Sigma is easy! But organizations are more willing to invest the effort if they know that a pot of gold awaits them at the end.



    Thank You,Mike for your response and kind opinion.I have tryed to answer your question in  a reasnoble way.I’m not advocating Six Sigma,trying to present the impression of others experts and companies who have experience in both systems.Anyhow  it is known  that  SS is an integral  methodology of TQM (created by Motorola).using the same tools .I’m an expert in TQM (certified  from JAPAN in 1993),lecturing and consulting since 10 years in TQM,Change management and Six-SIGMA(have read  and studied more than 10 books in SS).ALSO I’m a certified quality manager from Manitoba university/Canada ,basically I’m a chemical engineer (from TU/Freiberg/germany).Kind Regards.



    Thank You Mohammad  for selecting this convincing “out-standing” article,kind regards.     MMAN



    I see six sigma to concentrate on reducing the defects which are involved in a process to 3.4 DPMO. The statistical tools and methods used in each and every step, clearly guides us to accomplish our goal of acheiving high customer excellence( internal & external).
    With this being the fact, can anyone clearly define to me what TQM’s objectives are, and what are its goals, and how is it used in a process.
    I was also going through a TQM book, which also says about the fishbone analysis, Pareto’s principle’s etc.
    can anyone explain to me better with good examples as to how six sigma overseen when compared with TQM.
    any inputs would be greatly appreciated.



    I appreciate your response. I hear all the times that SS is so strong when it comes to statistics unlike TQM. When you look at Japanese books on quality control, you will see that the statistics they teach is basic. Most of times you see “seven statistical tool tools” (see Imai’s book).
    So I think it’s not the tools as much as it is the culture. That’s why they succeed. There are many companies in North America that use SS but they are not doing well in quality.



    I used to be the “TQM person” for our business before we adopted six sigma.  Here is what I think the difference is in our implementation.  Everything is my opinion:
    1) Dedicated resources.  BBs are full time on projects.  The old way went like, “Do your regular job and in your spare time ELIMINATE scrap on this product family.”  There wasn’t always enough spare time.
    2) Training.  We did a decent job of training in the old system, but there were still holes.  Some people didn’t get trained on DOE, other might not have been trained on QFD, etc.  In our SS implementation all BBs get trained on the whole DMAIC process and at least a few tools for each phase.
    3) Project selection.  We pick better projects in SS than we did in TQM.  By better I mean projects that either improve our bottom line performance or measurably improve performance with respect to a business plan item.  In the old (TQM) system projects tended to be selected by the function that “did” TQM which was quality.  We frequently added quality that didn’t improve business performance nor was seen as “value” by the customer.  In SS our business leaders (instead of a functional leader) are responsible for using SS to get results that matter.
    4) Accountability.  In SS we get evaluated on our projects.  In the old system we were evaluated principally on our ‘regular’ jobs.
    I guess the common thread of the four points above is either: management is committed to SS more than they were to TQM, or we did a really bad job at TQM (maybe because management wasn’t committed and didn’t dedicate the resources).
    Good Luck,

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