The concept of quality management has dominated management for decades as many organizations worldwide adopt quality management tools to improve their competitiveness and financial results.
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Among the quality management tools which have been widely adopted by organizations include Six Sigma, ISO, TQM, as well as Dr. Deming’s Principles of Total Quality Management. It is therefore important to understand the similarities and differences that exist between these tools.
Six Sigma, TQM, ISO and Dr. Deming’s Principles of TQM use data-and-fact-driven management to measure the outcomes and outputs of performance in determining whether the organization is meeting its expectations (Burt, Petcavage & Pinkerton, 2010).
Dr. Deming’s Principles focus on quantitative analysis of organization processes outputs in every stage of the entire process. The aim of ISO is to ensure that organizations use data to monitor, measure and analyse quality control as well as improve quality provision. Similarly, TQM emphasise the use of data as well as statistics to monitor and appraise the production process in addition to quality.
TQM, ISO, Six Sigma and Dr, Deming’s Principles of TQM all focus on constant learning among employees although they consider learning in different perspectives.
Dr. Deming’s Principles stress on thorough pre-employment screening, rigorous pre-work training, retraining while on the job, as well as, learning from colleagues, clients and competitors (Burt, Petcavage & Pinkerton, 2010).
TQM also stresses on constant training of the workers while Six Sigma emphasizes the need to provide a working environment where workers can learn and innovate by making mistakes. Six Sigma focuses on developing organizational culture where workers can continually improve their abilities and production process by being open to let people take risks in trying new ideas.
TQM, ISO, Six Sigma and Dr, Deming’s Principles of TQM all recognize the importance of collaborating with the suppliers and customers in improving production and services. Dr. Deming’s Principles stress that it is important to understand inputs from suppliers in terms of quality and timelines while also learning from them (Burt, Petcavage & Pinkerton, 2010).
Six Sigma also recognizes that it is important to work together with the suppliers and vendors in ensuring that the organization achieves the most value for its customers. TQM also stresses on communication links between the management, workers, the organization and all elements of the supply chain (Burt, Petcavage & Pinkerton, 2010).
ISO on the other hand evaluates the sources of the resources used in the organization for meeting and maintaining standards. Again, all of them focus on satisfying their customers and therefore rely on the customers’ feedback through marketing research to change the direction of the production or processes.
In Six Sigma approach, it is the customers who determine changes made to processes as well as products. In both Dr. Deming’s Principles and TQM, customers have to be involved in change processes and are allowed to experience while ISO measures the level of customer satisfaction.
While TQM and Dr. Deming’s Principles emphasize adoption of a policy of zero defects by ensuring quality chains where every stage of production process is monitored and any problem realized is filtered at every stage of the production process, Six Sigma focuses on the process where improvements and better management can help perfect the organization (Burt, Petcavage & Pinkerton, 2010). Dr. Deming’s Principles stress on refining every process of production.
One major difference between Dr. Deming’s Principles and TQM, ISO and Six Sigma is that Dr. Deming’s Principles advocate for motivating workers by sharing profits with them as a team while eliminating merit rewards for short-term performance (Burt, Petcavage & Pinkerton, 2010).
It also emphasizes on eliminating practices which are seen as undermining workers’ motivation as well as self/mutual respect such as performance ratings and production quotas so as to foster their pride for workmanship.
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TQM, ISO, Six Sigma and Dr. Deming’s Principles have several similarities and differences. However, their major common similarity is their focus on commitment of the management and teams in the organization to achieve the required standards and customer satisfaction.
Burt, D. N., Petcavage, S. D. & Pinkerton, R. L. (2010). Supply management, 8th ed. Boston: McGraw‐Hill.