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Six Sigma Research, Similarities and Differences

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/6/2011

This article by Natasha Baker, discusses the research paper "Similarities and Differences Between TQM, Six Sigma and Lean".

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    Comparing Six Sigma, Lean, and TQM

    Six Sigma has a long history that dates back to Carl Fredrick Gauss (1777-1855). Gauss introduced the concept of the normal curve. Modern Six Sigma has been attributed to Dr. Mikel Harry, a senior staff engineer at Motorola's Government Electronics Group (GEG). Harry began to experimenting with problem solving through statistical analysis in the late 1970's. Since its infancy, researchers like Gauss and Harry have focused their time and resources on continuously improving upon the strategies and tactics of Six Sigma. Their efforts have resulted in breakthrough in business excellence.

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    TQM Magazine In 2006 Roy Andersen, Henrik Eriksson, and Hakan Tortensson published the findings of a study on Six Sigma. The article is titled Similarities and Differences between TQM, Six Sigma and Lean was published in The TQM Magazine. The aim of the study was to address unanswered questions about the similarities and differences of the application of the three quality concepts.

    The authors utilized data collected from a case study, a literature review and face-to-face interviews with existing users to provide guide to companies who want implement or apply the concepts of TQM, Six Sigma, or Lean.

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    During their research, the authors found that while TQM, Six Sigma and Lean have many similarities, they differ in some areas. But, because they are complementary concepts, if combined, an organization can gain a lot. The study points out that Six Sigma and Lean work like road maps for organizations. They can be used separately or combined with the values of TQM. If you would like to gain a better understanding of these quality concepts, a copy of Similarities and Differences of TQM, Six Sigma and Lean is available to download in the Project Management Media Gallery.

    Additional information on Six Sigma can be found in Ronda Robert's article, How to Implement Six Sigma.

Six Sigma Research Papers

Want to know what the experts know about Six Sigma? This article series by Natasha Baker, summarizes research findings on Six Sigma. It also includes links to copies of the papers.
  1. Six Sigma Research, Similarities and Differences
  2. Does Six Sigma Really Work?