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Other Coding - UNSPSC

United Nations Standard Products & Services Code (UNSPSC)

This is a procurement coding system used by some public departments; the hierarchy is also roughly based on what products are made from, similar to CPV. The code is eight digits, but without a check digit, with each pair having some meaning. User departments usually use level four, but higher levels can be used if the headings needed are not present. The minimum fee to join is for an individual, this is $300 pa. The database can be downloaded free to anyone and searched in pdf format. An excel version is also available and can be downloaded for $50 per version. The headings are added and changed fairly often; the current version ‘v9.1201’ has 22037 headings. The database can also be searched on the website. There are no item (product) level codes or standardized descriptions.

  • Free to download in pdf format 
  • Can sort products into what they are made from
  • Heading level only, no item level codes or standardized descriptions
  • Codes difficult to find and use
  • Headings added or changed frequently, making it difficult to stay up to date, or know which version is being used
  • Cannot be applied uniformly or quality assured
  • Cannot be used to collaborate on procurement or share information other than at a very high level
  • It is not a foundation for moving forward to full coding.
  • Some headings are confusing as they are duplicated in other areas
  • Spellings are Americanized.

Visit UNSPCS website

Other types of coding