What was said? “We need to nip this in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem.”
Did someone really say that? Yes, during a discussion around product quality and some issues that were found.
What does it mean? It means to stop something before it has a chance to “blossom.” The idea being if you have a small(ish) problem and “nip it in the bud” then you stop it from becoming a larger problem / crisis. If you have a plant that you prune / nip in the bud, you are effectively cutting it off so it won’t grow or blossom into a flower. It has nothing to do with human anatomy where many think the expression is Nip it in the Butt!
Origin: It has its roots in gardening / botany naturally, but it was first recorded in a play back in 1606 by Beaumont and Fetcher where a spring frost kills flower buds and the term was used metaphorically.