Rationalized Codification System

The system to be adopted for accurate identification of materials should be the allotment of a numeral to each item. In materials management terminology this is known as “Codification”. The objective of codification is to provide a common language for identification of every single ‘input’ item in the inventory for all transactions within the organizations i.e. within its constituent units. All input materials, irrespective of the source of procurement, whether form external sources or manufactured by the organization itself, are to be codified.

Codification to be successful must be based on a simple system:

Step 1

The large number of items and the variety involved even in a moderate sized inventory present a formidable task for code planning. The entire inventory needs to be classified under major groups known as ‘Generic’ groups. The principles for classification may be either prime composition of materials e.g. ferrous metal, non- ferrous metal, rubbers, plastic, timber, textiles, oil and lubricants etc ., or usage wise e.g. electrical, mechanical, structural, electronic, chemical, ceramic, miscellaneous etc. a certain amount of overlapping may be inevitable. For example, where prime composition of material is the criterion, the problem will be where to place items of a mixed composition. The decision may be to place such items in the category in which a particular material is predominant, or in the group where the major user shops, or, ins some cases just allow a judicious mixture of both the ‘composition’ and ‘usage’ principles. For instance if the generic grouping includes both ‘Ferrous Metal’ and ‘Mechanical Engineering’ there would be no problem to place an item of mechanical engineering in the mechanical engineering group even though the metallic composition of the item be ferrous metal.

Step II

Items under each generic group should then be further classified into distinct sub-groups according to the type of the material These are known as “Specific” groups. For example, under the generic group ‘General Engineering’ one of the specific groups may be ‘Bearing’. This Specific group will cover all the present and also the anticipated future holding of Bearings Ball, Bearings Roller, bearings Tapered roller etc.

Step III

The next step would be to classify and to list out, firstly in alphabetical order and then in size chronology all the items under each specific group. For instance, in the case of Bearings, all Bearings Ball should be listed size wise to be followed by a similar list of Bearing Roller, and a list of Bearing Tapered Roller etc. Reach item should then be allotted consecutive numerals. The code numbering is now complete.


While consecutive numbers are allotted care should betaken to leave few serial numbers vacant rather liberally. These numbers will be required later for allotment to new items inducted in the inventory from time to time. At the time of preparation of the code lists it would pay to involve the R and D and the user divisions whose guidance about probable induction of new items or new sizes in the period ahead would be of immense value. It would help in deciding the appropriate stages where the serial numbers may be left unutilized and the quantum of such numbers.

Reading the Code:

The Code number of each item would consist of the generic group number, the specific group number and its own code serial number in that order. In most cases the generic group and the specific group are expressed in two digit numbers each, and the individual item code number is expressed in seven digits. For example, code numbers may read like 00 04 018 02 01 009 06 02 065 etc All the seven digits should not be written continuously. To express the generic code number and the specific code number distinctly a one digit space must be left blank after each group number.

Item Code:

001 – Beaker, Griifin Low Form with spout 1 ml capacity size 12 x 16 mm

002 – do – 5 ml capacity, size 20 x 25 mm

003 – do – 10 ml capacity, size 25 x 32 mm



006 – do — 50 ml capacity, size 68 x 95 mm

007– do – 500ml capacity, size 83 x 109mm




011 – Bottles, Aspirator outlets for rubbing 250 ml capacity size 65 x10 mm

012 – do – 500 ml capacity, size 80 x 170 mm




016 – Bottles, Reagent Plain Narrow Mouth 250 ml capacity size 65 x 140 mm




20 Burette for Pinchcock with tip class BIS 1997: 1967 50 ml graduation 0.1 ml

* Provisions left for code numbering new items anticipated to be received in the inventory in future.