Procurement & Contracting Services

Commodity Code Help

Commodity Codes Explained

Commodity Codes Explained

Commodity Codes are used in several university systems, including the Kuali FInancial System (KFS), and AggieBuy. The codes identify what type of good or service is being purchased; they are used to drive the approval routing, and also for reporting purposes.  Using the correct commodity codes ensures that purchases receive the appropriate approvals, and post-audit reports contain accurate information.

UC Davis has adopted the UNSPSC set as our Commodity Code system. 

  • They are based upon an International standard system (USPSC)  This is important because spelling (e.g., plough vs. plow) and language (e.g., waistcoat vs. vest) may not always be what you expect.  This is not common, but you are likely to run into it at times.
  • Additional fees taxes and charges may not have their own codes  For example, the Requisition has an Additional Charges section which is used for entering this information.
  • The codes are "specific"  There is a hierarchical structure to the code set; to illustrate, let's look at the structure in the code for Toner, 44103103.
    Level Code Title
    Segment 44 Office Equipment and Accessories and Supplies
    Family 4410 Office machines and their supplies and accessories
    Class 441031 Printer and facsimile and photocopier supplies
    Code 44103103 Toner

Now that you know the code for Toner, you can use the segment, family or class information to find related codes. For example, searching for 441031* will return all codes for printer, fax and copier supplies. Use this anytime you have a code that's in the right general area, but not exactly what you need.

To get you started, we've created an online list of the UNSPSC segments.  We've also created a Hot List of codes for some of the most frequently ordered items.

Search Tips

  • Use the * as a wildcard in KFS
  • If using multiple words, or word fragments, use the wildcard in between (e.g., *snow*plow*); this will account for cases where there are words or spaces in between
  • Stay away from suffixes; for example, search for *veterinar* rather than *veterinary* or *veterinarian*
  • Set the Published Material indicator to "Yes" to narrow your results, if looking for anything published (this includes books, periodicals, DVD, etc.)
  • If you knew the DaFIS commodity code for an equipment item, try using it in the Asset Type field
  • Object code might be useful, if you know the object and it's a narrow area (8000 will not be much help!); you can also help narrow to services by entering 7* for the object

Working With Your Search Results

  • Results can be sorted by any of the results fields
  • Use your browser's "Find in Page" functionality to locate a code in a long list
  • If you find a code that's close to what you were looking for, use the first part of the code, with the wildcard after it, to find more codes in the same general area; the bigger portion of the number that you use, the more narrow the results (remember code structure discussion, above)
  • Search results can be downloaded, so you can use it to start your own "cheat sheet" for future reference

For questions about commodity codes and their related properties (e.g., objects), please e-mail

NOTE: In the university's e-procurement system, AggieBuy, commodity codes are automatically-defaulted when selected from the supplier catalog. 

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