Focus on the UNSPSC

August 4th, 2020
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The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is an open, global system for the classification of all products and services.

In this post, you will find the answers to all of your UNSPSC questions:

What does "UNSPSC" mean?

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code was initially created by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (D & B) in 1998.

The code is an open, global, multi-sector standard for efficient, accurate classification of products and services. It covers raw materials, industrial equipment, components and supplies, consumer products and services.

How does the UNSPSC work?

The UNSPSC is an eight-digit coding system, comprising a four-level hierarchical structure: segment, family, class and commodity. An optional, additional suffix consisting of two digits can be used to indicate the business function, e.g. rental, repair, recycling, retail etc.

Example for a typical class C product such as toner (44103103):

  • Segment 44: Office Equipment and Accessories and Supplies
  • Family 10: Office machines and their supplies and accessories
  • Class 31: Printer and facsimile and photocopier supplies
  • Commodity 03: Toner

This coding system is available in various languages on the dedicated website: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

What advantages does the UNSPSC bring?

The purpose of the UNSPSC is to help businesses and Member States increase their productivity, reduce their organisational costs and boost their efficiency.

Organisations that have implemented the UNSPSC benefit from a uniform view of their expenditures. It enables them to automate the collection and analysis of expenditure data, while also making collaboration with their customers and suppliers run more smoothly, as all sides are using a single classification system.

Ultimately, organisations can better manage their expenditure and engage the necessary optimisation levers, such as streamlining their supplier portfolios, standardising their product purchases, negotiating better prices by leveraging larger volumes, and getting their unscheduled purchases under control.

Therefore, using a standardised coding system to classify products and services makes it possible to ensure that trade runs smoothly between buyers and suppliers all over the world.

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