United Nations Development Program and Dun & Bradstreet Introduce the First Global Product Classification Standard Open coding system, UN/Standard Products and Services Codes (UN/SPSC), helps agencies facilitate e-commerce, reduce costs and better manage supply chain

(NEW YORK, New York) - February 23, 1999 - The United Nations Development Program and Dun & Bradstreet today introduced the first global commodity code standard that classifies more than 8,000 products and services around the world and is designed to facilitate electronic commerce.

The eight-digit, hierarchical code is the result of a merger of the United Nations' Common Coding System (UNCCS) and Dun & Bradstreet's Standard Product and Services Codes (SPSC). The UN/SPSC allows companies to consistently classify the products and services they buy and sell.

"Now, with the introduction of this global commodity code standard, agencies will be better able to manage their supply chains and improve their overall efficiency," said Andrew Dahan, president of Dun & Bradstreet, U.S. "The UN/SPSC can help agencies more effectively control their level of spend across agency units and country borders with the potential of delivering a significant improvement in profitability."

James Gustave Speth, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, said, "With the classification system we are introducing today, and with access to information technology, small and medium-sized companies in developing countries will be able to compete more effectively in the global marketplace, and in countries that they simply could not reach before."

When applied to product catalogues, the UN/SPSC will help agencies identify suppliers anywhere in the world. It can also be used as a high level index to cross-reference all products and services with given suppliers, resulting in the maximisation of purchasing power. The code will help suppliers more effectively market their products and services and compete on a global basis.

Gary Reiner, senior vice president and CIO of General Electric Co., believes the new UN/SPSC codes will help "GE manage worldwide purchasing for all of our businesses." According to Reiner, "The consistent UN/SPSC system will generate substantial savings for GE by enabling us to consolidate our purchases, streamline our supplier base and ensure that each business benefits from company-wide contracts."

"As the global purchasing card leader, Visa supports new product developments that provide customers the ability to further improve their processes and reduce costs," said Bruno Perreault, senior vice president of commercial products, Visa USA. "Visa is proud to endorse the UN/SPSC Code as the global classification for products and services, and is already working with Dun & Bradstreet to provide Visa customers with detailed, accurate reporting based on the UN/SPSC standard."

Purchasing card issuers, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software providers, desktop procurement software providers, industrial buyers, industry groups, catalogue companies and standards bodies have all expressed an interest in the UN/SPSC.

Fadi Chehade, CEO of RosettaNet, said: "RosettaNet's effort to enable electronic commerce between partners in the IT supply chain would be encumbered without the emergence of the UN/SPSC classification. Our members, which include the leading companies in the global IT sector, have solidly voted to approve the adoption of the UN/SPSC classification code and its permeation across systems and catalogues globally."

"We see the UN/SPSC as a major enabler toward achieving significant cost savings in purchasing goods and services," said Mark Simmons, global leader of Ernst & Young's sourcing and supplier management practice. "Purchased goods and services finally have common global definitions, allowing companies to leverage, standardise and obtain high compliance supplier contracts. As global sources evolve, supplier identification and qualification becomes much easier because we can now view suppliers around the world right from our desktops."

UN/SPSC Methodology

The UN/SPSC classifies products and services at the two-, four-, six- and eight-digit levels, depending on the specific needs of the user. Each subsequent level of detail describes a subset of all codes and descriptions preceding it in the code's hierarchy. For example, ballpoint pens at the eight-digit level are a subset of writing instruments at the six-digit level, which are a subset of office supplies at the four-digit level. These descriptions are varying degrees of "Office Equipment, Accessories and Supplies" at the two-digit level. A ninth and tenth digit that can be added to indicate a business relationship to the supplier such as rental/lease, wholesale, retail or original equipment manufacturer. Each UN/SPSC is unique and allows unambiguous translation of the commodity's description into any language.



Skykey.com is the first web site based business network (developed by Hitech United Australia Pty Ltd) which applies UN/SPSC to automatically connect businesses though its products and services oriented cross matching database system. It has the great potential to lead today's e-commerce into a new direction and make business communications on the Internet much more efficient than ever.

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