# Acceptance Sampling - Explained

What is Acceptance Sampling?

## What is Acceptance Sampling?

Acceptance Sampling is a method used in the industry for quality control. This method uses statistical sampling to inspect or test a random sample for determining whether the quality of a batch of product or service is acceptable or not. This method is used for quality control of the products or services when the cost of 100% inspection or test is too high or time-consuming or when the test destroys the product. Acceptance sampling is considered to be an effective and efficient means to ensure the quality control of such products or services. There are mainly two different methods used for this purpose- sampling by attributes and sampling by variables.

## How does Acceptance Sampling Work?

The acceptance sampling method was first popularized by Dodge and Roming and it was applied by the U.S military for testing the bullets during the Second World War. During a war, each of the bullets cannot be tested beforehand as that would exhaust the bullets, on the other hand, one cannot take the risk of using bullets in the battlefield without testing it.

The acceptance sampling method gives a middle ground in such a scenario. In this method, samples are picked at random from a lot and those samples are tested. Based on the result of this sample test decisions are taken whether to accept the lot or to reject it. It is the middle-road between 100% inspection and no inspection.

In general, Acceptance Sampling is done when a product is finished and leaves the production plant, but in some cases, it may also be done within the factory. It is to be remembered that this method helps in determining whether or not to accept a batch of a product, but it does not estimate the quality of the lot. Usually, the manufacturer supplies a few samples from the lot to the consumer. If the number of defects is lower than the acceptable number, the lot is accepted by the consumer. There are two major types of acceptance sampling plans, one is by attributes and the other is by variables. Although the former is most common for acceptance sampling, the latter is also used in many cases.

## What is an Attribute Acceptance Sampling Plan?

In this Acceptance Plan, a random sample size (which is less than the size of the lot) is selected from the lot. Then Acceptance Quality Level or AQL is determined. AQL is the maximum percent defective that can be tolerated as a process average. In other words, it is the maximum number or percentage of defective pieces in a good lot. Rejectable Quality Level or RQL signifies the percentage defectives in a lot that can be tolerated in only as a specified proportion of lots. For example, a company receives a shipment of 10,000 pieces of the product X. The receiving company cannot afford to inspect each of the products received. They can apply an attribute sampling plan to determine how many pieces of the products need to be inspected (sample size) and how many defective products are allowed in that sample (acceptance number). Suppose the AQL is 1.5% and the RQL is 5.0% and it is assumed that alpha=0.05 and beta=0.1. Then the sampling plan indicates 209 pieces need to be examined and if 6 or less than 6 of the examined pieces are defective, the shipment is to be accepted and if more than 6 is defective the entire shipment is to be rejected.

## What is a Variables Acceptance Sampling Plan?

It is comparatively a complex method and requires an understanding of the statistical model of normal distribution. In this method, variables or measurement data are used instead of attribute data and the defective rate and the defective rate varies with the mean, standard deviation, and distribution shape.