Assured Quality was founded in 1994 in response to the hundreds of inquiries regarding Dr. Hinckley's research. Working with a wide range of companies and quality organizations, he found that the defects per unit were strongly correlated with assembly complexity. In contrast, there is no consistent relationship between defect rates and Process Capability – a measure of variation control. These observations eventually lead to the conclusion that mistakes must be the dominant source of defects in modern production. Furthermore, the most powerful and cost effective mistake-proofing techniques were not being exploited in the US. This opportunity has been missed because of an excessive dependence on Statistical Quality Control (SQC) and a weak understanding of the role of mistakes in conformance quality.
The president of Assured Quality, C. Martin Hinckley, has a broad background of design experience on projects requiring the highest levels of quality and reliability. As a "Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff" and manager he has lead major projects at Sandia National Laboratories including the X–Ray Laser Project, the Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM II) warhead, and Warhead Protection Program. Under Dr. Hinckley's leadership, new products have been developed at a fraction of traditional costs. To illustrate the effectiveness of the simplification and mistake-proofing methods, the first prototype of a major subsystem was assembled virtually defect free in one seventh the time initially projected by the production organization. Part counts were, dramatically reduced, and many of the parts were procured at one tenth the cost of original estimates. Most fixtures were eliminated, and among those that were not, the cost of some fixtures was reduced a hundred fold. Elements of these projects have required the highest level of quality control achievable.
Dr. Hinckley received a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering in 1994. His research on the link between design concept and product quality involved the participation of major automotive manufacturers, Malcolm Baldridge award winners, and nationally recognized leaders in quality control.