4 March 2009
Total Quality Management (TQM) vs. Six Sigma: Measuring Success in the Insurance Industry
One of the most frequently asked questions among those in the organizational management world is the difference between Six Sigma and Total Quality Management (TQM). According to BNet Business Dictionary, Six Sigma is defined as “a data-driven method for achieving near perfect quality, analysis can be focused upon any part of production or service activities, and has a strong emphasis on statistical analysis in design, manufacturing, and customer-oriented activities;” TQM as “a philosophy and style of management that gives everyone in an organization responsibility for delivering quality to the customer (http://dictionary.bnet.com).” At first glance the definitions appear to be similar in context; in that both focus on the customer and may yield similar outcomes (i.e. better quality/products, improving a process). However, the basic difference between the two is the approach. The TQM approach views quality as a conformity to internal requirements or a collections of processes, while Six Sigma focuses on improving quality by reducing the number of defects. This research paper will implore the reader to understand the differences between TQM and Six Sigma and cite examples of how each approach is used in the insurance industry. It will also demonstrate why Six Sigma is the most used by modern business managers.
Paradoxically, some managers (non-seasoned) see no real difference between Six Sigma and TQM. They believe Six Sigma employs some of the same tried-and-true tools and techniques of TQM. Both Six Sigma and TQM highlight the importance of top-down support and leadership. But there are critical differences. And these differences explain why TQM has taken the back seat in the car that is driven by Six Sigma.
For example, each concept uses a cycle as a framework for the improvement of a process or system. TQM, uses the Deming... [continues]
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