The origin of Total Quality Management (TQM) had many forefathers in its inception, but was generic in nature. Meaning you could plug the works of Ishikawa, Juran and Deming (just to name a few) into any business and you’d get results — just not the best results for your specific business.
Six Sigma has some differences from TQM — it puts an even stronger focus on customer requirements; after all, businesses are there to serve their customers. So, Voice of the Customer (VOC) is extremely important in the quality of their product or service.
Six Sigma also requires additional tools used in data analysis. The financial focus is on a project level — with TQM, it is on an organizational level.
The clear understanding is that Six Sigma’s methodologies have a mindset of having a success rate of 99.9997% or less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. With these high goals, specificity is a must.
In order to achieve this level of excellence, a Six Sigma culture must exist throughout the business or organization. General Electric has had such a huge success with Six Sigma that if you go to their website you’ll see that they are Six Sigma’s biggest advocate.
In yesteryear, it was believed that if a business gave in to their customer that it would cost that business too much money. In fact, the opposite is true.
Here’s a good analogy: receiving a lawn of beautifully planted sod, but you wanted to landscape your new lawn with beautiful rocks and water efficient foliage. Although the sod looks great, it was not what you wanted and it is a big disappointment — to both the customer and the business. The customer feels unheard and the business feels unappreciated for producing a great product. It’s not great if it is not what the customer required. This can ultimately lead to a loss of customers over the long run.
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