Quality Assurance - When To Start? How Soon Is Now?
By Bill Benedict
Ben Franklin; Perhaps the father of the first Quality Assurance Program?
Dating back to the 1730’s, one of the most influential and important figures in our country’s creation, Ben Franklin, used the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” introducing us to the concept of improving our outcomes. This instance was in example of how Philadelphians needed to take better care of their burning embers to prevent catching their homes on fire and ultimately led to one of the first Fire Departments.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the Chief Operations Officer of a mature start up SaaS and discussed the value of Quality Assurance and Operational Excellence. The conversation was like many that I have had on the topic with executives, while we value the concept of improving our operations; we sell our expertise and efficiencies of our offerings and often find ourselves sacrificing the effort of looking at our business with this lens in exchange for getting the implementation done.
This begs the question of when should you start evaluating your processes and benchmarking what you do. For many, it is after a significant failure or a transformational moment in their business- new investor, new client, or expanding personnel. Any one of these events can stress the operations and tip the balance of the “do whatever it takes” processes so eventually the cost outweighs the benefit of executing the deal.
To invoke the words or Henry David Thoreau, “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants, the question is what you are busy about?”
This perspective is clearly the benchmark to have as you approach the business of your business and in my experience and opinion a best practice. I have found the answer of when to start to be “how soon is now? “
It is been proven that the investment in a program, whether it is a full Six Sigma practice or a basic implementation of a Quality Assurance Program, will return at least 30X your effort. The pay back is multifold; in operational efficiencies i.e. reoccurring savings, the ability to scale your business and ultimately in the value that your clients see from your offering.
So at the end of the day, it should be a priority of you and your enterprise to consider the most effective ways to bring efficiencies and expertise to your operations, having clean processes coupled with the right systems and people undoubtedly is the most desirable position to have and as Ben Franklin has proclaimed worth every pound of cure.