Item database, codes and description

Item codes and descriptions

All standard items have a reference code and a standard description in order to:

  • Facilitate communications at all steps in the supply chain
  • Enable computer management of the supply chain
  • Facilitate the listing of all standard items in a logical order
  • Facilitate the use of search tools for standard item lists
  • Enable data consolidation

The coding system is in English. Each item is issued with a unique standardized code; those familiar with the system should be able to easily identify the type of item by reading the code.

Item descriptions have a maximum of 60 characters; only key words appear in upper case.

A revision of the codes and descriptions is undertaken annually. The complete standard items list is available from ICRC headquarters and the International Federation secretariat.

To avoid duplication, responsibility for registering the codes for standard items has been centralized under the ICRC Logistics Division.

Currently, the database includes 10,000 items of which only a selection, 2,400 has been included in this catalogue.

Code structure

The code is divided into four fields. The first, groups, defines an item according to a preset list corresponding to its area of use: medical, administration, etc. The next two fields - family and category - indicate the nature of the item; and the last - specifications - it unique details.

12-character codification breakdown:

Field

N° of allocated spaces

Number or entries

Group

1 digit, letter

18 groups

Family

3 digits, letter

211 families

Category

4 digits, letter

1826 categories

Specifications

4 digits, letter/number

10,717 specification

 

G

 

F

A

M

 

C

A

T

E

 

S

P

0

1

Group

Family

Category

Specifications

 

Examples:

-       MDRECOMPA10              COMPRESS, ALUMINIZED, 10 x 10 cm, wound pad, sterile

M

 

D

R

E

 

C

O

M

P

 

A

1

0

 

Medical

Dressing

Compresses

Aluminium 10x10cm

 

-       WNECGACR2M1F           COUPLING, GALVA, REDUCER, 2"-1", thread male/fem

W

 

N

E

C

 

G

A

C

R

 

2

M

1

F

WatSan

Network couplings

Galvanized couplings reducer

2-inch male 1-inch female

                  

 

Current item groups, 18 in total:

Group

Group description

A

Administration

C

Radio and Telecommunications

D

Drugs

E

Engineering

F

Food

H

Housing

I

Information Technology

K

Kits, Modules and Sets

L

Library

M

Medical Renewable Items

O

Prosthetic Technology

R

Economic Rehabilitation

S

Services

T

Transport

U

Emergency Response Units

V

Veterinary

W

WatSan

X

Medical Equipment and Instruments