What's the Difference?

Total Quality Control (TQC) and Total Quality Management (TQM) are both management approaches that aim to improve the quality of products and services within an organization. However, there are some key differences between the two. TQC is a more traditional approach that focuses on quality control through inspection and corrective actions. It emphasizes the role of quality control departments and their responsibility to identify and rectify defects. On the other hand, TQM is a more holistic and proactive approach that involves the entire organization in quality improvement efforts. It emphasizes the importance of prevention rather than detection, and encourages continuous improvement through employee involvement, customer focus, and process optimization. TQM also places a strong emphasis on leadership and the establishment of a quality culture throughout the organization.


DefinitionTotal Quality ControlTotal Quality Management
FocusControl of quality at each stage of productionManagement of quality throughout the organization
OriginJapanUnited States
ImplementationImplemented by all employeesImplemented by top management
Customer FocusEmphasizes meeting customer requirementsEmphasizes exceeding customer expectations
Continuous ImprovementFocuses on incremental improvementsFocuses on continuous and breakthrough improvements
Employee InvolvementEncourages involvement of all employeesEncourages involvement of all employees
Quality Control ToolsStatistical process control, Pareto charts, etc.Quality circles, benchmarking, etc.

Further Detail


Total Quality Control (TQC) and Total Quality Management (TQM) are two prominent approaches that organizations adopt to improve their quality management systems. While both TQC and TQM share the common goal of achieving high-quality products and services, they differ in their focus, implementation strategies, and overall philosophy. In this article, we will delve into the attributes of TQC and TQM, highlighting their similarities and differences, to provide a comprehensive understanding of these quality management approaches.

Definition and Philosophy

TQC is a quality management approach that emphasizes the involvement of all employees in the continuous improvement of processes, products, and services. It focuses on the prevention of defects rather than detection, aiming to eliminate errors at the source. TQC promotes a culture of quality throughout the organization, encouraging employees to take responsibility for their work and actively participate in problem-solving and decision-making processes.

TQM, on the other hand, is a broader quality management philosophy that encompasses various principles and practices to achieve customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. It emphasizes the importance of customer focus, process improvement, and the involvement of all stakeholders. TQM aims to create a culture of quality that permeates every aspect of the organization, from top management to frontline employees.

Focus and Objectives

TQC primarily focuses on the control of quality at each stage of the production process. It emphasizes the use of statistical process control techniques to monitor and control the quality of inputs, processes, and outputs. TQC aims to minimize variations and defects, ensuring that products and services meet or exceed customer expectations. By focusing on prevention rather than detection, TQC strives to eliminate waste, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction.

TQM, on the other hand, takes a broader perspective by considering the entire organization as a system. It emphasizes the importance of understanding and meeting customer needs and expectations. TQM aims to continuously improve processes, products, and services by involving all employees in problem-solving and decision-making. By fostering a culture of quality, TQM seeks to enhance customer satisfaction, increase market share, and achieve long-term success.

Implementation Strategies

TQC implementation involves the use of various quality control tools and techniques, such as statistical process control, Pareto analysis, cause-and-effect diagrams, and checklists. These tools help identify and analyze quality problems, enabling organizations to take corrective and preventive actions. TQC also emphasizes the importance of employee training and empowerment, as well as the establishment of quality circles and cross-functional teams to facilitate continuous improvement.

TQM implementation, on the other hand, requires a more holistic approach. It involves the adoption of quality management principles, such as customer focus, leadership, involvement of people, process approach, and continuous improvement. TQM encourages organizations to establish quality policies, set measurable objectives, and implement quality management systems, such as ISO 9001. TQM also emphasizes the importance of benchmarking, customer feedback, and employee involvement in decision-making processes.

Benefits and Challenges

Both TQC and TQM offer numerous benefits to organizations that adopt these approaches. By implementing TQC, organizations can improve product and service quality, reduce defects and waste, enhance customer satisfaction, and increase operational efficiency. TQC also fosters a culture of continuous improvement, employee empowerment, and teamwork, leading to higher employee morale and motivation.

TQM, on the other hand, provides organizations with a comprehensive framework for achieving excellence. By focusing on customer needs and expectations, TQM helps organizations build strong customer relationships, increase customer loyalty, and gain a competitive edge. TQM also promotes a culture of innovation, learning, and adaptability, enabling organizations to respond effectively to changing market conditions.

However, implementing TQC and TQM also presents certain challenges. TQC requires organizations to invest in training employees on quality control tools and techniques, which can be time-consuming and costly. It may also face resistance from employees who are resistant to change or lack the necessary skills. Similarly, TQM implementation requires a significant commitment from top management and may face challenges in aligning the organization's culture and values with the principles of TQM.


In conclusion, TQC and TQM are two distinct quality management approaches that organizations can adopt to improve their quality management systems. While TQC focuses on the control of quality at each stage of the production process, TQM takes a broader perspective by considering the entire organization as a system. Both approaches aim to achieve high-quality products and services, enhance customer satisfaction, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. By understanding the attributes of TQC and TQM, organizations can make informed decisions about which approach aligns best with their goals, resources, and organizational culture.

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