Purpose – This paper aims to review the related literature on TQM and Six Sigma, and then to construct and explore the conceptual framework via an empirical study. Discussions follow on the conceptual framework, and there is a case study on the experience of Kinpo Electronics (KE) company in Taiwan implementing Six Sigma via TQM improvement. Design/methodology/approach – The objective of the research is to examine the relationship between TQM and Six Sigma. To achieve this, the paper conducted a conceptual framework with six improvement factors “system”, “product”, “control”, “training”, “technical”, and “assessment”. The six factors are considered in detail in a discussion of the case of KE Company with regard to its implementing Six Sigma via TQM improvement. Findings – The results of using TQM improvement activities to implement Six Sigma may be divided into two main paradigm shifts, namely transfer and adjustment. “Transfer” means the requirements for macro change in implementing Six Sigma via TQM improvement, and “adjustment” refers to the micro changes undertaken in moving from TQM toward Six Sigma. Practical implications – According to KE's experience in Taiwan, TQM is a prime component of Six Sigma, and KE added a Six Sigma program to its existing business system which used almost all of the elements of TQM. The formula is KE's current business system+Six Sigma = TQM. Based on this, TQM remains important and prevalent in modern industry. Originality/value – The value of the paper is that TQM is the fundamental basis of Six Sigma. The new quality management system is integrating TQM's activities with the Six Sigma approach to gain a new competitive advantage.
The TQM Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 25, 2008
Keywords: Six Sigma; Total quality management
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