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Inspection Level And Selecting An AQL

AQL Inspection

1. Inspection Level and Sample Size

“Inspection Level” mainly refers to the size of the sample that is pulled from the production lot for inspection. The three commonly used inspection levels for general inspection are GI, GII and GIII. GII is the most common one. GI calls for a smaller sample size than GII (reducing the time needed to perform the inspection, but increasing the risk that defects may be missed). GIII calls for a larger sample size than GII (increasing the time needed to perform the inspection, and decreasing the risk of missing defects in the shipment). As an example, for a shipment of 1500 widgets, the sample sizes based on different inspection levels would be:

Sample Size Based on Shipment of 1500 Widgets
Inspection Level: GI GII GIII
Sample Size: 50 125 200

Want more inspection level guidance?

By default, InTouch will perform inspections based on GII unless otherwise advised or requested. In addition to these three commonly used inspection levels there also exists “special” inspection levels (S1, S2, S3 and S4) which are used in some situations. For more information on this please speak with your InTouch Client Manager.

To determine the AQL inspection level based on your shipment qunatity, refer to the InTouch AQL Chart.

On the first page of the chart identify your shipment size under “Lot Size”, then reference the letter to the right to identify the sample size code letter. The sample size which corresponds to the code letter can be found on the second page of the chart.

2. Selecting an AQL Level

a) Select a different AQL level for major and minor defects. The level for major should be more stringent than that for minor.

b) Distinction between a major and minor defect: Simply put, a major defect is anything for which an end user is likely to bring the unit “back to the store” for, or be completely dissatisfied with the product for. A minor defect is something for which the end user may experience some dissatisfaction, but is not likely to return the item to the store because of.

c) For “set” items, InTouch will by default increase the AQL level based on InTouch standard practices, as set items can virtually never pass an AQL inspection based on normal AQL levels. Please contact us for more information if your items are “set” items.

To see how InTouch Applies AQL Standards

a) Below are the most common AQL levels and sample sizes.  For more stringent or more relaxed AQL levels, or other sample sizes, please contact us.

b) Suggestions for AQL Levels

  1. “Big Retailer” (e.g. K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) AQLs for general merchandise: major  = 2.5, minor = 4.0 or 6.5
  2. High-end cookware brands: major = 1.0 or 1.5, minor = 2.5, 4.0 or 6.5
  3. Baby product brands, high-end electronics: major = 0.4 or 0.65, minor = 1.0 or 1.5
Note:  In the case that one is not selling directly to end users, one generally wants the AQL chosen to be one level stricter than the requirements of one’s client  So, if one is selling to a big retailer whose inspection levels are major = 2.5 and minor = 6.5, one should set their levels at 1.5 and 4.0 respectively.  This ensures that if the inspection can pass one’s standard, it will have no problem passing the standard of one’s client.


Note: The sample size mentioned above is selected based on the shipment size of goods being inspected.  Please see above “Inspection Level and Selecting an AQL” for more information. 

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