Selecting Commodity Codes

Introduction to UNSPSC Commodity Codes

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The State of North Carolina uses UNSPSC Commodity Codes.  UNSPSC is an internationally accepted, open standard, public classification system that allows for business analysis of expenses and the creation of cost saving contracts. The UNSPSC protocol replaced the NIGP protocol within the NC eProcurement tool.  Financial systems, such as NCFS and Colleague, will continue to use NIGP.  An automatic mapping between UNSPSC in NC eProcurement and NIGP in the financial systems has been created to provide a link between these systems.  No action is required in financial systems to change commodity codes.

When managing their registration in the electronic Vendor Portal (eVP), vendors will use four-digit UNSPSC codes.  Buyers will use six-digit UNSPSC codes in NC eProcurement, but may still see NIGP codes in their financial systems.

For more information regarding the UNSPSC Commodity Code classification, access the UNSPSC website, and for additional help with commodity code selection, please contact the NCEP Help Desk.

Finding and Selecting Commodity Codes

I. Commodity Code Explanation

  • A commodity code is a standard system of numbers that are used to identify the goods and services that are being purchased.  Using standardized codes enables the State to determine the level of spend in various categories.
  • The newest version of NC eProcurement will use the UNSPSC Commodity Code system, which utilizes hierarchical groupings of numbers to identify and list commodities and services by categories and classes.
  • UNSPSC Commodity Codes have four hierarchies, the Segment, Family, Class, and Commodity.  Each hierarchy consists of two digits representing an ever more specific group of goods or services.

UNSPSC Commodity Code StructureExplanation of UNSPSC Commodity Code Structure


Example of UNSPSC Commodity Code StructureExample of UNSPSC Commodity Code Structure


  • The NIGP Commodity Code system that the State has used is made up of five digits, with the first three digits of the code specifying the class, and the last two digits specifying the item within the class category.  The NIGP classification system is available through a licensing agreement.  Therefore, users cannot search NIGP codes publicly.
  • Because the UNSPSC Commodity Code system is completely open, users can search UNSPSC Commodity Codes through the public UNSPSC website.

Note: The UNSPSC Commodity Codes listed on the UNSPSC website are specified to the eight-digit level (XX-XX-XX-XX).  Since NC eProcurement will utilize commodity codes only to the six-digit level, users should only select the first six digits of whichever eight-digit commodity code describes the desired good or service.  For example, if the desired commodity is a personal computer (UNSPSC Commodity Code: 43211508), only the class level code (UNSPSC Commodity Code: 432115) should be entered into NC eProcurement.

II. UNSPSC Segment Organization

UNSPSC Commodity Codes are organized by segment into a logical sequence that reflects how value is progressively added to products.  These segments are divided into goods and services.  Goods are made up of UNSPSC Commodity Codes in the segments ranging from '10' through '60.'  Services are made up of UNSPSC Commodity Code in the segments ranging from '70' through '94.'

UNSPSC Segment Organization

UNSPSC Segment Organization


III. Most Commonly Selected Commodity Codes

While there are thousands of options for UNSPSC Commodity Codes, some are selected much more frequently than others.  The Top 20 Commodities chosen in NC eProcurement may be found in the table below, beginning with the commodity code most often selected.

The UNSPSC Commodity Codes and related descriptions are matched with the equivalent NIGP descriptions.  Users can utilize this matching to select the commonly mapped UNSPSC Commodity Code.

Top 20 Commodities
UNSPSC Commodity Code UNSPSC Description NIGP Description
441017 Printer and photocopier and facsimile accessories Printer Accessories and Supplies
781018 Road cargo transport Shipping and Transportation of Goods
491017 Awards Service Awards
531115 Boots Leather Boots
551217 Signage Metal Signs
441217 Writing Instruments Pens for Writing
401615 Filters Filters: Air, Fuel, Oil, etc.
441220 Folders and binders and indexes Binders and File Folders
141115 Printing and writing paper Writing Pads and Tablets
501718 Sauces and spreads and condiments Dressings, Condiments, Sauces, etc.
301220 Specialized external flooring and paving materials Aggregate, Precoated
501115 Minimally processed meat and poultry products Meat and Meat Products
811126 Computer hardware offsite or depot maintenance, repair and support Software Maintenance and Support
421516 Dental and subspecialty instruments and devices Dental Kits and Supplies
504468 Frozen nominant vegetables Frozen Vegetables
432116 Computer accessories Computer Accessories and Supplies
441024 Labeling machines Stamps, Stamp Pads, and Ink
271217 Hydraulic hose and tube fittings Hydraulic Hose and Fittings
241022 Packing tools Tape and Tape Dispensers
521515 Domestic disposable kitchenware Plastic and Styrofoam Kitchen Products