Acceptance Sampling

DEFINITION of 'Acceptance Sampling'

A statistical measure used in quality control. A company cannot test every one of its products due to either ruining the products, or the volume of products being too large. Acceptance sampling solves this by testing a sample of product for defects. The process involves batch size, sample size and the number of defects acceptable in the batch. This process allows a company to measure the quality of a batch with a specified degree of statistical certainty without having to test every unit of product. The statistical reliability of a sample is generally measured by a t-statistic.

BREAKING DOWN 'Acceptance Sampling'

Probability is a key factor in acceptance sampling, but it is not the only factor. If a company makes a million products and tests 10 units with one default, an assumption would be made on probability that 100,000 of the 1,000,000 are defective. However, this could be a grossly inaccurate representation. More reliable conclusions can be made by increasing the batch size higher than 10, and increasing the sample size by doing more than just one test and averaging the results. When done correctly, acceptance sampling is a very effective tool in quality control.