EAN.UCC Global Product Classification and the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code -Co EAN.UCC Global Product Classification and the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code -Co
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EAN.UCC Global Product Classification and the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code -Complementary Classification Systems

A joint statement of clarification from EAN International and the Uniform Code Council (UCC)

EAN International and the Uniform Code Council announced two different classification efforts on 9th May 2003.

  • EAN International and the Global Commerce Initiative (GCI) launched the Global Product Classification Schema (GPC) at the ECR Europe Conference in Berlin.
  • The Uniform Code Council announced that it had been selected by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to serve as code manager of the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC®).

In order to clarify the role and purpose of these two classification efforts, EAN International and the UCC would like to explain the opportunity these complementary efforts present to the EAN.UCC user community.

UNSPSC is the premier global, open standard for classification of products and services across all industry sectors. UNSPSC is the master framework to classify products and services across all industries and is positioned to link to multiple classification schemas in vertical industries.

The UNSPSC code is a hierarchical classification with five levels - Segment, Family, Class, Commodity, and Business Function Identifier. UNSPSC is managed through its own standards development process.

The GPC is a granular, non-hierarchical structure based on bricks, attributes and values. GPC provides detailed classification and attribute information currently for fast-moving consumer goods, and it is anticipated that further industry segments, as driven by business need, may include Pharmaceuticals, Hardlines, General Merchandise, Apparel, Food Service and others. The GPC is maintained and developed through the EAN.UCC Global Standards Management Process (GSMP). ACNielsen is the third party service provider selected to host and manage the GPC.

It is important to note that the two systems do not overlap and are complementary to each other. GPC, unlike UNSPSC, provides detailed classification attributes and values; and UNSPSC, unlike GPC, provides a global classification framework for all products and services in all industry sectors. The integration of these two systems requires a common intersection at the GPC-brick and UNSPSC-commodity level.

In order to create a clearly defined systems intersection, EAN International, the UCC, UNSPSC, and ACNielsen will work together to harmonise UNSPSC-commodities with GPC-bricks. Additionally, the four groups agree to collaborate in defining and maintaining the Segment-Family-Class portion of UNSPSC for the commodities/bricks defined by GPC. UNSPSC will also seek collaborative relationships with other vertical industry groups.

The GPC and UNSPSC user communities will both benefit from this relationship. Under this structure, GPC will be linked to a broader global standard, establishing a role in UNSPSC to define commodities, and enabling a higher classification or "roll-up" of GPC bricks. UNSPSC will be able to establish a collaborative agreement with a large user community. This will allow the UNSPSC community to leverage the expertise of GPC to improve/maintain the code, and provide users with greater specificity or "drill-down" for commodities.

Classification is a continuum from very general to very specific information. Different users and business applications will need to classify at different levels. The alignment of GPC and UNSPSC enables this entire continuum. In simple terms:

About EAN
International EAN International is a global not-for-profit organisation that creates, develops and manages jointly with one of its Member Organisations, the Uniform Code Council, the EAN·UCC Standards, which are open, global multi-sectoral information standards, based on best business practices. As co-managers of the GSMP system, EAN International and UCC co-own EAN.UCC Standards including GPC. By driving their implementation, EAN International and its Member Organisations play a leading role in supply and demand chain management improvement worldwide.

For more information on EAN International, please visit the following website: www.ean-int.org

For further information on GCP, please visit the following website: www.acnielsen.com/EANUCC-Schema

For more information on Global Standards Management Process, please visit: www.ean-ucc.org

About the Uniform Code Council
The Uniform Code Council, Inc. (UCC) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the development and implementation of standards-based, global supply chain solutions. Under its auspices, the UCC operates two wholly owned subsidiaries, UCCnet and RosettaNet, and it co-manages the global EAN.UCC System with EAN International. UCC-based solutions, including business processes, XML standards, EDI transaction sets, and the bar code identification standards of the EAN.UCC System are currently used by more than one million member companies worldwide. For more information about the Uniform Code Council, please visit www.uc-council.org. The UCC also manages the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC®) on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For more information about the UNSPSC, visit www.unspsc.org.

ACNielsen, a VNU company, is the world's leading marketing information company. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the company provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen's market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns.