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Coding and Classification: Maximising Returns from Purchasing Data

Intelligence is at the heart of every successful business and organisation. Intelligence today means the ability to make the right decisions in the context of a competitive environment. Technology and the Internet are being used in new ways to streamline processes and automate routine, low value tasks, within organisations and with customers and suppliers.

Information about Coding and Classification: Maximising Returns from Purchasing Data

How organisations actually make the most of their purchasing data and information which is being collected through the use of technology, is often the last issue to be considered in a broad improvement strategy. One of the last considerations, data, has the greatest potential for success or failure. Purchasing data has a wide variety of uses, varying from operational management of suppliers and identification of rationalisation opportunities to supporting the commercial negotiation process and management of multi-million pound contracts. It is needed to support both private and public sector organisations where best value for money and quality are prime business drivers. While it is easy to view IT systems as a barrier to getting at the right data, often the main problem is that insufficient thought is given to the organisation’s need for information and decision-making. Success relies on understanding what the organisation wants to achieve. Reaching that goal can depend on how information is classified and stored. The issues are quite logical, but are management rather than technical considerations. This guide has proved very popular since it was first produced in 2002 as it provided an introduction to purchasing coding and classification for the first time. It has been updated to reflect new developments, but has stood the test of time well. It provides:

  • Good practice guidance in helping organisations wishing to adopt or review their purchasing coding and classification structures
  • Non sector specific advice to any organisation that finds the quality of its purchasing data a barrier to making further progress in achieving goals and targets.
  • Clear evidence that purchasing coding and classification is a strategic issue for business management, even if implementation falls to others in operational areas.
  • Useful lists of contacts which can be used to gather the latest information as new developments are made


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