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Other Coding - Manufacturer Classifications

Manufacturer Classification Systems

This classification is based on the products or services supplied and is non-hierarchical, examples of this are:
Thomson Directory Headings, Yellow Pages Headings, Standard Industry Classification (SIC codes)

These headings classify a company by what it manufactures or the service it provides, e.g. Double Glazing Repairs, Chiropractors. Companies decide on their own codes that fit their organization for use in a phone book or for other classifications e.g. Companies House.

They can also be used by a supplies department as a way of classifying suppliers for information purposes. This means that the heading is applied manually by the supplies staff from a list. The benefits and problems of this system is as follows:


  • Suppliers of the same product or service are grouped together.

  • Provides easy identification of alternative suppliers

  • Provides information on spend with similar suppliers


  • Slow and difficult to apply

  • Some suppliers are not covered by any classification

  • Some suppliers provide a wide range of products or services so information could be misleading or incorrect (e.g. Argos)

  • The application of the classification is subjective to the person involved who could classify differently to someone else, making the information unreliable

  • There are no rules to follow or help available for application, therefore no QA

  • The information has little real value

Occasionally the classification of the manufactures or suppliers is applied to the products or services supplied, this application has all the above problems, leading to an analysis of very little value.


European Article Numbers (EANs) are the numbers found on most products packaging as bar codes. The most common EAN is 13 numbers long and represents the country of origin, manufacturer, product code and check digit. The product code is related to the pack quantity. This code is manufacturer and pack quantity specific, so is useful for automatic identification of products at shop cashouts, or when goods receiving. The EAN cross–references to manufactures catalogues numbers. EAN changed it name to GS1 in February 2005.


  • Accurately identifies manufactures products on despatch or receipt

  • Can identify batches of products for recall


  • Is not meant to be used as a procurement record

  • Is not shown in catalogues


Other types of coding