The statistical technique called acceptance sampling is used in industrial settings for controlling the quality of production batches. The staff of a company can accept or refuse a batch of products. From the production line, a sample will be picked and evaluated. If the respective material passes the test, the entire line is released on the market. It would take too much time to verify each item.
The process is normally used in two main cases: while the product is still in the facility, or just before it is ready for release. The US military was the first institution to implement the technique. Everything started with the verification of a bullet production line. In the case in which multiple broken bullets would have reached military use, the effects would have been unpleasant. A random sample was selected from all the available items.
The level of acceptance can be determined by the amount of defects that could exist and quality is not the top priority. The most important thing can be deciding if a lot will be released on the market or not. A large stock is handed to the consumer, but only when the amount of defects does not cross the established limits. A total assurance cannot be offered, because just a sample is usually collected in a certain production line.
The technique can be implemented in three ways: single, double, or sequential. In the first case, there is a limited number of samples collected and a certain amount of defects considered. For the second type, things are more complex, but not very different. Sequential is the extended version of single.
The technique is appreciated for various reasons and one of them is that a full lot does not have to be checked for each individual piece. Valuable products can be saved. Some good examples may be given from a real production line. When a company makes candies, it can struggle to keep the percentage of unsuitable sweets under ten. Five percent of the batch is tested and if the broken pieces exceed this level, the whole line can be canceled.
The defect percentage is decided by the company and it could be any number. The way of selecting the samples is also decided by the firm. The method is usually determined through specific statistical operations. Each firm has to choose a batch size that is representative for the larger lot from which it comes.
In the majority of cases, the testing sample is suggestive for its lot and seen as a mark of quality. A batch with a high percentage is a poor one. Lots that need higher standards also have a low limit of defects.
Firms can implement acceptance sampling much in their endeavors and different industries worldwide can benefit from this. In order to establish the quality of a lot, companies can use maximum percentages. Examples can be seen in which people can understand the ways of using the technique and its important role.
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