Management Improvement Methodologies – TQM, Six Sigma, and Lean

… a core concept in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100

Concept description

Techniques and methodologies for improving productivity and profitability of business enterprises are continually refined and marketed by consulting firms and business schools. Examples include TQM, Six Sigma, and Lean. They provide models for potential application to improving the operations of public institutions. (references below) writes:

“In a time where quality can be considered as an important aspect in operating a business successfully, getting to know the difference between TQM and Six Sigma can be helpful to those interested in the effective tools to improve quality in organizations. Organizations ultimate objective is to achieve success through customer satisfaction. Therefore, both TQM (Total Quality Management) and Six Sigma can be identified as time-tested tools that can be used to enhance the quality of products, as well as services.”

“For successful running and continuous development of a business, both lean and six-sigma play a vital role. Though six-sigma is based upon philosophy and lean is based upon techniques, both business strategies run side by side to take a business up to sky limits. Lean is one of those key techniques, which are a part of six-sigma methodology.” summarizes the three methodologies as follows:

“What is TQM?

“Everyone who is related to an organization from top to bottom has a huge responsibility in providing quality products or services. There are various quality tools and philosophies such as TQM are practiced at organizations for this purpose. TQM can be considered as a business philosophy which explains the ways of managing people and business processes in order to ensure customer satisfaction at every stage of the business.

“There are several objectives related to TQM such as:

  • achieving zero defects and rejects in products
  • zero breakdowns of machines and equipment
  • 100% on time delivery of products and services to the customers
  • continuous improvements in the processes in order to get the things right at the first time
  • employee empowerment for better customer experience

“In order to achieve quality throughout the processes, in some organizations, there are quality inspectors appointed at each stage of the process to detect the errors or defects in them. This ensures that the customers will receive quality products from the producers.

“What is Six Sigma?

“Six Sigma can be identified as a tool of measuring the quality that drives towards perfection. It is fairly a new concept that focuses on continuous quality improvements for achieving near perfection by limiting the number of possible defects to less than 3.4 defects per million.

“The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is to implement a strategy for process improvements using two Six Sigma sub-methodologies known as DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC stands for Defines, Measures, Analyzes, Improves and Control of processes. It is a particular type of an improvement system for existing processes that are below the specification that are moving towards the incremental improvements.

DMAIC in Sig Sigma

“DMADV stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify, and it is an improvement system used to develop new processes or products at Six Sigma quality levels. It can also be used even if a current process requires an additional improvement.”

What is Lean?

“Lean is improving flow process of any product during its production. In simple words, lean focuses on reducing wastes during any process and ultimately raise the speed of process. There are two concepts of lean. One concept is called “Just-in-time” and the other one is “Jidoka”. “Just-in-time” means organizing a production process in such a manner that chances of accumulating stock will be reduced up to minimum level. On the other hand, Jidoka means indicating and preventing any wrong points in production line, which could become a cause of producing bad product. The flow chart of lean is such that: identifying value, defining value stream, determining flow of process, defining pull and finally improving process. Because, lean deals with over production, therefore it is inventory based.”

Topic, subject and Atlas course

Modernizing Government in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100.

Sources (2014), Difference Between TQM and Six Sigma, at, accessed 20 January 2017. (2011), Difference Between Lean and Six Sigma, at, accessed 20 January 2017.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 20 January 2017.

Image: (2014), Difference Between TQM and Six Sigma, at, accessed 20 January 2017.