AQL stands for Acceptance Quality Limit, representing the maximum number of defective units, beyond when a certain batch is rejected. Importers can set different AQLs for critical, major and minor defects. Most Asian exporters are familiar with this type of setting and AQL 2.5 forms part of hundreds of purchase orders sent to Chinese manufacturers.
What is AQL?
It’s important to ensure there is a certain level of product quality and an efficient method for recognizing those standards. Quality control is vital, as it can maximize risks, can help to save money and time throughout the supply chain production process. Suppliers can be managed easier and it ensures your company has strong bargaining powers and brand protection.
AQL sampling is a practical and effective way to perform quality assurance whilst ordering manufactured goods, helping to reduce any risks prior to officially accepting the items. There are three main AQL levels that a product can be classified by: critical, major or minor. All of which ensure product orders are meeting the client’s needs and specifications, based on the sampling data. Customers can then make an informed decision to accept or reject the batch based on the data provided by the AQL.
Attaining the inspection report is very important and will state whether your production has passed or failed the selected Acceptable Quality Tolerance Level. Critical defects (0%) are not acceptable at all, as the user could be harmed, major defects (2.5%) represent products being considered unacceptable by the end user and minor defects (4%) fail to meet specifications in ways that most buyers would still accept.
Each defect can be interpreted differently by all inspection companies, but importers and suppliers can both agree on an AQL Standard that is acceptable, based on the level of risk they decide on. Once an AQL Standard is agreed on, it will be used as a reference throughout the inspection process, determining the acceptable percentage for every defect in an order.
Understanding the AQL Chart
There are two tables used to determine the AQL of products; and they both can be used to determine the sample size for inspection purposes and the acceptable defective units. The AQL chart also offers more options, including inspection levels and standards for particular unique cases.
The most common standard is AQL Table 1. This is used as an important tool when carrying out quality control inspections, this AQL table simplifies the information for the buyer, the manufacturer and the quality control provider; as they can all come together and agree on set quality inspection standards.
The next table includes single sampling plans for when normal inspections are carried out, the check marks on the table show how many products have passed and the crosses show how many products failed. The up arrows determine the sampling size and if you see an arrow that equals or exceeds the batch size, you should complete a full inspection or a piece-by-piece inspection.
What is AQL 2.5 for Quality Inspections?
AQL is a vital tool when performing sampling inspections, inspection teams can use an AQL standard to ensure the number of units inspected in a given sample are correct and the number of defective units that could cause a failure result are noted down. The AQL Standard determines the required sample size that needs to be inspected and the number of rejected units.
Inspecting a large number of units at once can be too difficult for manufacturers and therefore, incorporating a method such as AQL 2.5 can be extremely helpful for businesses.
AQL is a preferable method when you need to test every single product in a batch. However, if you are only purchasing products in small volumes, your business may have the resources already to test everything at once, but as quantities rise, strict testing can become harder to manage due to time restraints and costs.
AQL 2.5 is a robust, useful model that has successfully been used over many years, however, AQL inspections does not guarantee a defect-free experience, as minor defects may go undetected. However, AQL allows you to select the percentage of defects that you are willing to accept and it’s a secure option when it comes to gaining valuable insight into your supply chain, your products and your business.
After completing an AQL Inspection, the agency will issue a shipment certificate and this will clarify whether you passed or failed. The inspector will conduct a pre-shipment inspection before production commences and issue the pre-shipment report, this will be attached to your documents when shipping.
AQL sampling is a practical and effective way to perform quality assurance on an order of manufactured goods to reduce the risk prior to accepting an order. Backed by the industry knowledge and experience of nearly 1,500 professionals, in more than 20 countries, HQTS is well-suited to be your partner in quality.
Combine this with HQTS’ quality standards and services and you have a powerful, profitable and productive commercial proposition. HQTS will help ensure your packaging is up to the task and that your goods are effectively secure and protected throughout the transport process. Contact us here today for more information or any questions you may have.