The international eCl@ss standard

October 1st, 2020
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eCl@ss is an internationally recognised, ISO/IEC-compliant data standard for products, materials and services.

In this article, you will find the answers to all your eCl@ss questions:

What is eCl@ss?

eCl@ss is a data standard for the classification and precise description of industrial services, products, components, materials and systems. It is the only international reference standard that complies with ISO 13584/IEC 61360 standards.

Founded in 2000, eCl@ss e.V. is the association behind this international standard. Initially composed of a dozen major German companies, the organisation now has more than 150 members, including businesses, associations and public institutions. Today, eCl@ss e.V. is responsible for defining, developing and distributing the standard.

How does eCl@ss work?

As with the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC), eCl@ss offers an eight-digit coding system and a four-level classification hierarchy: the segment, the main group, the group and the sub-group (or product class). Furthermore, features are also listed as keywords to provide the product description. Today, eCl@ss comprises nearly 45,000 product categories and 19,000 features.

Example for a class C product such as printing paper:

  • Segment 24: Office product, facility and technic, papeterie
  • Main group 26: Paper, foil, packing material (office)
  • Group 06: PC paper for printers and copier
  • Sub-group 04: Multiprint paper 
  • Keywords: Inkjet printing paper (multiprint), multiprint paper, special paper (multiprint) etc.

The standard is available in sixteen different languages (some with partial translations): Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Thai, Traditional Chinese and Turkish.

The main advantages of eCl@ss

The standard is intended to facilitate and accelerate the exchange of computerised data, both internally and externally (with a company's customers, suppliers, distributors etc.). This enables all stakeholders across the globe to communicate in the same technical language.

Companies can benefit from this across the entire value chain:

  • Improved performance: Electronic catalogues and virtual marketplaces give products, materials and services more visibility.
  • Cost reduction: By streamlining purchases, centralising volumes and optimising portfolios, companies can create significant savings opportunities.
  • Increased productivity: Overall performance is improved through the use of automated interfaces and standardised data.

Finally, as with other standards, eCl@ss enables companies to optimise the management of their expenses and streamline collaboration with their different stakeholders.

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