Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) for product Inspections
How are AQF product inspections performed?
Asia Quality Focus performs product inspections services according to:
- Recognized international quality standard for product inspections: ISO 2859-1 (ANSI/ASQC Z1.4-2003), also known as the AQL Tables, unless another standard is requested by the client.
- Client's requirements, specifications, criteria and instructions.
- AQF team's expertise and experience in quality control.
- AQF Western common sense.
What do we inspect during an inspection?
- The quantity produced (semi finished, finished and packed)
- The visual appearance (cosmetic check of the mass production)
- The product specifications (size, dimensions, colors)
- The labeling and marking
- The packing and packaging
- All possible functions and possible tests (safety, abuse, printing, etc.)
What quality standards do we use for product inspections?
Based on the acceptable quality limit sampling size chosen from the AQL tables we carefully ensure to select production samples randomly. We inspect the samples and classify the defects into critical, major and minor defects. We use detailed product checklists for these definitions - our clients are invited to make amendments.
According to the number of defects found for each type, we will advise you to accept or to reject your shipment.
Then you make your own decision based on the detailed report we have provided to you so you can discuss the findings with your vendor ask him to rework/re-produce/sort out the defective products.
How to use the AQL Tables?
The AQL tables belong to international quality standards to ensure product quality meets your expectations.
They will determine the sampling size we to be inspected according to your ordered quantity and your Acceptable Quality Tolerance level (I, II or III). The standard AQL sampling plan used by default and by 98% of the people is the level II for a normal product inspections.
If your order has multiple references, ideally we should at least inspect a level II on each reference.
Indeed, for a standard order, the standard level II from the AQL gives the minimum sampling size we should check per reference if we do not want to take additional risks. If we inspect a general level II sampling size on a multiple references orders, then the sampling size is diluted and divided by the number of references, increasing the risks as the sampling size must not be representative enough.
More information about:
How to find your sampling size on the AQL table?
In order to find the AQL sampling size to be inspected, we look at the first chart and find on the left side the range of items being produced in total. You have the choice of levels I, II and III, with Level III being the most stringent testing and level I being the least. Level II is the standard and is most often used. For example, if you are producing 8000 items, at level II you have the letter L, which in the second table says to inspect 200 items.
On the top of the second AQL chart are the defect levels, ranging from 0 to 6.5. You can choose which level to apply for your type of defect: critical, major and minor. Usually most importers will choose standard defect levels which are 0/2.5/4 but one can choose 1/1/1 if he wishes or 0/1.5/2.5 like in the automotive industry. Using the standard 0/2.5/4 defect levels and a sample size of 200, we see that if you have more than 0 critical defects, 10 major defects or 14 minor defects, you should reject your shipment. Of course the decision about what to do after your received the inspection results belongs to you. Most importers will wish to discuss all inspection findings with their vendor/manufacturer in order to improve whatever possible. In case the inspection results are very close to AQL limits, it is important that you double check if the level of found defects is acceptable to you or not.