Difference Between TQM and Six Sigma (With Table)

The market is ever-increasing, and so are the industries. To meet the supply and demand ratio, companies carry out various production methods. This also involves a good quality control or quality management technique. Six Sigma and Total Quality Management are two very beneficial quality management tools that might appear the same on a superficial level but have their differences.

TQM vs Six Sigma

The main difference between TQM and Six Sigma is that Total Quality Management pays attention to maintaining the already existing standards of quality, whereas Six Sigma aims to make changes in the current techniques to upgrade the standards of the company. Six Sigma is also a newer technique, while Total Quality Management has been in use for a very long time.

The Total Quality Management technique of maintaining quality standards is a long-running one. It involves a quality check by almost all the members involved in the making of the product. Attention is paid to improving the standard and checking the efficiency on every step. It is based basically on problem-solving and tries to maintain and improve the problems the production is facing.

Six Sigma is a relatively new quality control technique that is being used by a lot of companies already. This technique focuses on gradually and eventually deleting all the small defects in the production techniques and aims at customer satisfaction all over. Six Sigma focuses on both short term and long term goals.

Comparison Table Between TQM and Six Sigma

Parameters of Comparison


Six Sigma


It is an approach that is product-driven within the organisation. 

Focuses on delivery streams of cross-functional value.

Goal terms

Only short term goals are kept in mind and emphasised.

Both long term and short term goals are worked out.


TQM emphasises mainly problem-solving.

Six Sigma emphasises mainly rates of improvement that are breakthrough. 

Quality Responsibility

Quality control department and Inspection centres are responsible.

Every stakeholder and every member of the organisation is responsible.


Has a broad set of rules and regulations but no suitable framework for obeying them.

Has a set of rules and provide a structured framework to follow them.

What is TQM?

Total quality management is a very efficient tool that is used by all the companies and industries around the world for quality management. It involves efforts by all the members who are involved in the production process. The efforts might not be equal but need to be continuous and consistent. It involves closed reviewing the present schemes and problems while simultaneously developing and designing new techniques to tackle problems and increase coordination.

Total quality management mainly focuses on the standard of quality and production while simultaneously trying to improve the methodology to raise the standards of the company. There is a separate body assigned for the checking of quality and keeping an eye on the production. Total quality management only focuses on short term goals and even works only on these instead of involving long tongue goals too. The total quality management technique has a broad set of rules and regulations that are set by the company officials to ensure the best quality of products and minimise the risk of fault. But the problem that arises over here is that they have no suitable framework for following the rules.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a new technique in the world of quality checks and has already been adopted by a lot of companies due to its great benefits and functionality. There isn’t any separate body for the quality check but all the members have divided the duty of checking the product quality at every stage of production. And this is what makes the standard of quality check better and efficient since instead of going through one or two quality checks by an advised committee, the product goes through numerous quality checks on every level of production. This frequent control on quality and standards make it a better choice.

Six Sigma mainly focuses on deleting the existing faulty techniques or schemes which affect the process of quality check for the standard of the product instead of trying to solve it. Six Sigma comes up with new and advanced techniques which may take over or replace the already existing standards of quality control. It focuses on both short-term as well as long term goals and therefore is a more reliable tool when it comes to dealing with long term projects.

Main Differences Between TQM and Six Sigma

  1. Total Quality management is an approach that is completely product-driven within the organisation whereas Six Sigma focuses on delivery streams of cross-functional value.
  2. Only short-termed goals are emphasised in Total Quality management while both long and short term goals are emphasised under Six Sigma.
  3. The main focus of Total Quality Management is on problem-solving whereas the primary objective of Six Sigma is improving breakthrough rates.
  4. In Total Quality Management, the responsibility of quality check is on the Quality control department and Inspection centres whereas in Six Sigma, it is the responsibility of every person in the organisation and also of every stakeholder.
  5. Total Quality Management has a broad section of rules but no structured framework to follow them. On the other hand, Six Sigma has a long list of rules too but they also provide a structuralist framework to follow them.


By following a technique with strict guidelines and rules the company becomes successful in improving its quality and standards. The better the quality of products, the more customer satisfaction. This eventually gives rise to the growth of the brand and is directly related to the growth of the brand.

Both Total Quality Management and Six Sigma are efficient in their ways and it is the company’s call on which to use in their processes. Although since in the Six Sigma technique the quality is checked at several levels of production it is being preferred by manufacturers more than total quality management.


  1. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/09544780610660004/full/html
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14783360902719675