In a competitive market place, the ability of companies to gain efficiencies through product or process improvements provides the edge to gain market share and increase profits. The need to improve efficiency led to the study of quality management as a discipline essential for the successful business. “Total Quality Management” is one methodology that has key principles to outline methods to improve quality. “Six Sigma” is another methodology created with the goal to increase efficiency and improve quality. Examination of these two methodologies will show two different approaches and principles used to integrate rigorous quality measurement into a management system.
Modern quality management can be traced back to the early 1920s, when statistical theory was first applied to product quality control. This concept was further developed in Japan in the 1940s and 1950s, and was led by “quality gurus” such as Deming, Juran and Feigenbaum (Business Performance Improvement Resources). Total quality management is the management of initiatives and procedures aimed at achieving the delivery of quality products and services. There are many different aspects of TQM and a variety of principles included in the TQM process. One of the principles is the involvement of executive management to serve as the main driver to create the environment to ensure success. Another principle is training for employees on the methods and concepts of quality. Customer focus is a third principle to ensure that improvements in quality lead to increased customer satisfaction. A fourth principle focuses on making quality decisions based on measurements. This enables quantification to the quality process. The principle of methodology and tools also provides quantification through ensuring non-conformances are identified, measured and responded to consistently (Murray). Additional principles include continuous improvement, company culture and employee involvement. This brief list of principles provides a brief overview of TQM. Implementation of these TQM principles depends on the product or service of the company and there are many more quality principles that can be referenced in a more through study of TQM. The overall goal of these principles is to meet the higher expectations of the modern competitive market.
While higher expectations in manufacturing are associated with manufactured products, TQM principles can now apply to all sectors including the service industry. TQM applies a variety of tools, techniques and methodologies to serve as drivers for organizational change. This integrated approach leads to continuous improvement.
Six Sigma is another quality improvement initiative focused on reducing defects in the end product. It is a business strategy used to identify and eliminate causes of errors or defects by focusing on outputs critical to customers. The statistical definition of Six Sigma is 3.4...