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Last updated 26/06/2023


TQM vs QMS: What's the Difference? Which Quality Management Approach Is Right for You?

In today's competitive business landscape, organizations strive to improve their products and services continually. Total Quality Management (TQM) and Total Quality Control (TQC) are two concepts that have gained significant prominence in the pursuit of excellence. While these terms may seem similar at first glance, they represent distinct approaches to achieving high-quality standards. In this blog post, we will delve into the fundamental differences between Total Quality Management and Total Quality Control, shedding light on their unique characteristics and applications.

Defining Total Quality Management (TQM):

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive management philosophy that focuses on continuously improving processes, products, and services within an organization. TQM places a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction by involving every individual within the organization in the quality improvement process. The key principles of TQM include customer focus, continuous improvement, employee involvement, process-centered approach, and data-driven decision-making.

TQM integrates quality principles throughout the entire organization, from top-level management to frontline employees. It fosters a culture of teamwork, collaboration, and accountability, where all individuals are responsible for delivering high-quality products or services. By embracing TQM, companies aim to optimize efficiency, reduce waste, enhance customer experiences, and achieve long-term success.

Understanding Total Quality Control (TQC):

Total Quality Control (TQC) is a narrower concept that primarily focuses on the inspection and control of product quality. TQC emphasizes statistical quality control techniques to detect and eliminate defects during production processes. This approach involves a series of quality checks and inspections to ensure that the final products meet the specified quality standards.

TQC involves setting up quality control systems, implementing statistical process control methods, and conducting rigorous testing to identify and address any deviations from the desired quality levels. By closely monitoring production processes and employing quality control tools, organizations using TQC aim to minimize defects, improve product reliability, and increase customer satisfaction.

What is the difference between TQM and QMS?

Total Quality Management (TQM) and Quality Management Systems (QMS) are both management philosophies that focus on improving the quality of products and services. However, there are some key differences between the two approaches.

TQM is a more holistic approach

TQM is a more holistic approach to quality management that focuses on improving all aspects of an organization, from its products and services to its processes and culture. TQM is based on the belief that everyone in an organization has a role to play in improving quality, and that quality should be everyone's responsibility.

QMS is a more structured approach

QMS is a more structured approach to quality management that focuses on the systematic implementation of quality management practices. QMS is based on the use of a set of standards, such as ISO 9001, that define the requirements for a quality management system. QMS is often used by organizations to demonstrate their commitment to quality to customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between TQM and QMS:








All aspects of the organization

Quality management practices


Continuous improvement

Compliance with standards


Everyone in the organization



Differentiating TQM and TQC:


1. The primary distinction between TQM and TQC lies in their scope. TQM encompasses a broader organizational approach, incorporating various management principles to improve overall quality across all areas of the business. In contrast, TQC focuses primarily on quality control measures during the production process.


2. TQM places a strong emphasis on meeting customer needs and expectations, emphasizing a customer-centric approach to quality improvement. On the other hand, TQC concentrates on ensuring the quality of the final product through effective inspection and control mechanisms.


3. TQM is applicable across all functional areas and levels of the organization. It involves integrating quality principles into every aspect of the business, from strategic planning to daily operations. TQC, however, is predominantly employed within manufacturing or production-oriented environments, where quality control and defect prevention are critical.


4. TQM is a proactive approach that strives for continuous improvement, involving all employees in the quality enhancement process. It focuses on prevention rather than detection and aims to build a culture of quality within the organization. TQC, in contrast, is a reactive approach that relies on quality control measures to detect and eliminate defects during the production process.

Which approach is right for you?

5. The best approach to quality management for your organization will depend on your specific needs and goals. If you are looking for a holistic approach that will involve everyone in your organization and help you to improve all aspects of your business, then TQM may be a good choice for you. If you are looking for a more structured approach that will help you to comply with standards and demonstrate your commitment to quality to customers and stakeholders, then QMS may be a better option.

How to implement TQM or QMS

If you decide to implement TQM or QMS, there are a few key things you need to do:

  1. Get executive buy-in. TQM and QMS are not initiatives that can be implemented by a single department or team. They require the support and commitment of senior management.
  2. Create a plan. Once you have executive buy-in, you need to create a plan for how you will implement TQM or QMS. This plan should include your goals, objectives, and a timeline for implementation.
  3. Train your employees. It is important to train your employees on the principles of TQM or QMS. This training will help them to understand their roles and responsibilities in improving quality.
  4. Measure your progress. It is important to measure your progress as you implement TQM or QMS. This will help you to track your progress and make adjustments as needed.
  5. Get feedback. It is also important to get feedback from your employees, customers, and other stakeholders. This feedback will help you to improve your TQM or QMS implementation.


While Total Quality Management (TQM) and Total Quality Control (TQC) share a common objective of achieving high-quality standards, they differ significantly in their scope, focus, application, and approach. TQM emphasizes overall organizational improvement, customer satisfaction, and continuous enhancement, involving all individuals within the organization. TQC, on the other hand, concentrates on quality control during production processes, employing inspections, statistical techniques, and testing to ensure the final product meets the desired standards.

Understanding the distinctions between TQM and TQC is essential for organizations seeking to implement quality management systems effectively. By carefully choosing and adapting the right approach to their specific

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