Six Sigma is different in many significant ways from other quality management philosophies like Total Quality Management (TQM). The common theme of TQM and Six Sigma is that both focus on the processes in order to achieve quality improvement. But Six Sigma is a much more evolved, extensive and intensive approach to quality management.
Six Sigma emphasizes the need for support from top level management in order to achieve quality improvement goals. The various levels of certification in Six Sigma, like Executive champion, Deployment champion, Green Belt, Black Belt etc create quality experts inside the organization. These quality experts become the biggest assets of the organization.
The cost of training for a certification like Black Belt is not cheap. But in India many training consultancies are able to provide Six Sigma training at much lower costs than what is globally possible.
The costs of training employees in Six Sigma is justified by the huge cost savings that the business makes in the short, medium and long term due to improved quality, lower wastage and higher productivity. Organizations that have trained employees in Six Sigma have in general found their cost per project go down due to enhanced efficiency.
The use of metrics (measurement benchmarks) like Defects per million opportunities (DPMO) and customer Critical To Quality (CTQ) makes Six Sigma more effective than earlier quality management tools like TQM.
Cross-functional teams are used extensively in Six Sigma to improve efficiency and effectiveness of business processes. Six Sigma benchmarks like Divisible Defect Metrics enable the management to compare the performance of the different divisions of the business.
Six Sigma enables an organization to create a culture of quality. For continuous successful delivery on the quality parameter, a culture of quality is required. Without such a quality culture the employees, who implement the strategy at the ground level, fail to grasp the critical importance of the quality aspect.
Six Sigma has also done away with many of the ineffective tools that were there in earlier quality management processes like TQM. Six Sigma is a philosophy that enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of contemporary business organizations. It is a much more evolved quality management tool than other quality management tools, like TQM.