Acceptance sampling – What it is, definition and concept

Acceptance sampling is the process through which a sample is analyzed to admit or discard a population. They use it in the quality controls of those products that are very expensive and even impossible to analyze 100% of the population.

In other words, acceptance sampling consists of analyzing a sample, and based on the result, the respective population is accepted or rejected.

Companies that work with products for their transformation or directly carry out a trade activity, both wholesale and retail, must guarantee the quality of their products.

To do this, the most common is to carry out specific quality controls that allow analyzing the products and checking that their condition is adequate. In order to carry out this quality control, it is often impossible to analyze 100% of the units in a batch.

In this case, the analyst chooses a sample from the entire batch to determine whether it meets the quality criteria or whether, on the contrary, it should be returned to the supplier. This type of analysis is acceptance sampling. It is a hypothesis test with which it will be accepted that the product meets the minimum requirements or it will be rejected.

For example, if we have a car workshop and we order 1,000 tires, it will be impossible to analyze one by one. Under this circumstance, we will analyze some of them to accept or reject the order.

Characteristics of acceptance sampling

Acceptance sampling has the following characteristics:

  • It does not offer information about 100% of the population.
  • It is a method that saves many resources for those who use it, since it does not require analyzing the entire population.
  • With a representative sample, the results will be very reliable.
  • The sample is selected randomly.
  • They use it in quality controls.
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Acceptance sampling example

Let’s imagine that we are the owners of a recycled cardboard bottle factory. In our company we buy the cardboard from a supplier and we take care of shaping and applying the glue to make it consistent.

In order to guarantee the quality of our product, we carry out random quality controls on some packages of each batch of recycled cardboard that our supplier sends us.

The chosen sample is analyzed in our laboratory and it is assessed whether it meets the agreed quality standard. After analyzing a package from the last batch received, we verify that the thickness of the cardboard is less than that agreed in the contract, which can cause our bottles to break and cause problems for the customer.

We decided to return this complete lot to the supplier since in our acceptance sampling we have detected that the agreement has not been fulfilled.

In conclusion, acceptance sampling is a process used in quality controls to verify that a certain product meets the minimum levels agreed in a contract. It can also be used, for example, in health inspections to ensure that the analyzed food is in good condition.

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