What are AQL Standards
The Acceptable Quality Level, commonly referred to as AQL, is a method widely used to measure quality control. It was developed by ISO (International Organization for Standardization.) The official standard number is ISO 2859-1:1999. An AQL inspection checks finished garments, raw materials, operations, supplies in storage, maintenance operations, and administrative procedures. So, how does AQL work in real life?
Third Party Inspectors
In Vietnam there are two reputable third party inspectors: SGS and Intertek. Both companies offer package services where they coordinate with the factory, conduct the inspection and send you a report. They do a lot more than just QC the final garments. They can test fabric for defects like pilling, colorfastness or UV resistance. They can audit a factory before you place your first order. Hiring a third party inspection company is not cheap and usually only makes sense when placing large quantity orders like 10,000 pieces or more.
1. Choose your factory carefully. Get to know the owner well and check closely what internal QC measures he or she employs.
2. Clarify in writing what AQL standard you expect the factory to follow.
3. Do your own QC inspection at the beginning of production.
4. Do your own final QC at the end of production before shipment.
At the end of the day you are depending on the accountability and constitution of the factory owner.
The ultimate quality control will happen when your customers put on your garments. If there are problems, they will complain to your hotline or via social media. Your brand value is on the line. Do whatever it takes to ensure quality control is maintained well.