STEP 5: Quality Control

After production, our dedicated team of total quality management partners, inspectors and engineers will perform quality control (QC) checks to assure the outcome is meeting your expectations. Most clients request an end-of-line or post-production report only; however, an in-line report can be implemented as well. If there are any issues, we’ll go back to the client and ensure you’re getting the quality you ordered.

AQL – Acceptable Quality Limit

In terms of conformity levels, the usual rate of acceptance from China consumer products’ manufacturers is AQL 3.0, or an ‘accepted quality level’ of 3% or above. Here is a quick rundown on how AQL works:

AQL stands for ‘Acceptance Quality Limit’, and is defined as the “quality level that is the worst tolerable” in ISO 2859-1. It decides on the maximum number of defective units in a bulk-buy purchase, beyond which a batch can be rejected. Importers usually set different AQLs for critical, major and minor defects. Most China exporters are familiar with this procedure.

For example: An AQL of 1.5% means, “I want no more than an average of 1.5% of defective items in the entire order quantity across several production runs with that supplier.”

In practice, three types of defects are distinguished. For most consumer goods, the limits are:

  • 0% for critical defects (totally unacceptable; a user might get harmed, or regulations are not respected)
  • 2.5% for major defects (these products would not be considered acceptable by the end user)
  • 4% for minor defects (there is some departure from specifications, but most users would not be concerned).

These proportions vary depending on the product and its market. For example, components used in building airplanes are subject to much lower AQL limits.

Consumer product journey

The QC results for your scissors:

= 1000 pieces = minor product defect

Is this degree of quality acceptable to you?

  • Glad to hear it! This number of minor defects is usually considered acceptable. We can move on towards consolidation.

  • Are you sure? For this kind of consumer product, it is common to have such a small percentage of minor defects. We can obviously set the goal higher, but that will increase costs and lead time. It’s up to you!


There are a number of factors that affect quality. For most consumer products, up to 4% of minor defects is usually considered acceptable. However, we set our standards depending on the product and market, and always ensure the end result matches your expectations. Like every other stage, all these goals are set together with you.