When working with Product Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM) one important facet is classification of products. You can use your own internal classification(s), being product grouping and hierarchy management, within your organization and/or you can use one or several external classification standards.
Five External Standards
Some of the external standards I have come across are:
The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code® (UNSPSC®), managed by GS1 US™ for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), is an open, global, multi-sector standard for classification of products and services. This standard is often used in public tenders and at some marketplaces.
GS1 has created a separate standard classification named GPC (Global Product Classification) within its network synchronization called the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).
Commodity Codes / Harmonized System (HS) Codes
Commodity codes, lately being worldwide harmonized and harmonised, represent the key classifier in international trade. They determine customs duties, import and export rules and restrictions as well as documentation requirements. National statistical bureaus may require these codes from businesses doing foreign trade.
eCl@ss is a cross-industry product data standard for classification and description of products and services emphasizing on being a ISO/IEC compliant industry standard nationally and internationally. The classification guides the eCl@ss standard for product attributes (in eClass called properties) that are needed for a product with a given classification.
ETIM develops and manages a worldwide uniform classification for technical products. This classification guides the ETIM standard for product attributes (in ETIM called features) that are needed for a product with a given classification.
The Competition and The Neutral Hub
If you click on the links to some of these standards you may notice that they are actually competing against each other in the way they represent themselves.
At Product Data Lake we are the neutral hub in the middle of everyone. We cover your internal grouping and tagging to any external standard. Our roadmap includes more close integration to the various external standards embracing both product classification and product attribute requirements in multiple languages where provided. We do that with the aim of letting you exchange product information with your trading partners, who probably do the classification differently from you.