What is 'Acceptable Quality Level - AQL'

The acceptable quality level (AQL) is a statistical measurement of the maximum number of defective goods considered acceptable in a particular sample size. Goods in a sample are tested at random, and if the number of defective items is below the predetermined amount, that product is said to meet the acceptable quality level (AQL). If the acceptable quality level (AQL) is not reached for a particular sampling of goods, manufacturers will review the various parameters in the production process to determine the areas causing the defects.

The acceptable quality level (AQL)is an important statistic to companies seeking a Six Sigma level of quality control.

Acceptable quality level is also known as the acceptable quality limit.

BREAKING DOWN 'Acceptable Quality Level - AQL'

The acceptable quality level (AQL) of a product can vary from industry to industry. For example, medical products are more likely to have a more stringent AQL because defective products can result in health risks. In contrast, a product with benign side-effects of a possible defect may have a less strict AQL, such as the remote control for your TV. Companies have to weigh the added cost associated with the stringent testing and potentially higher spoilage due to a lower defect acceptance with the potential cost of a product recall.

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