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Standard Numbering for Commodity Items

Question: What is a SPIN Number?

Answer: The GTIN-12 (U.P.C. Number) is a specific form of product identification. Another form of product identification is for those items which are not unique to one manufacturer. Examples are brass fittings or copper piping. Although some manufacturers have worried that they will lose their identity, the many manufacturers involved have found this not to be the case and that the benefits to distributors and users are enormous.

IBCA has developed standard numbers for the types of commodity items that are specific to the industry it serves. The method for identifying these types of products and then developing a common terminology and finally assigning index numbers is a systematic procedure conducted by a committee made up of manufacturers and distributors of those types of items. Most of the work has been done, although occasionally new groups are identified by the companies involved. Check the IBCA list to see if any of your products fall into this category.

The product identification numbers for these items are referred to as Standard Product Identification Numbers (SPIN). Both the GTIN-12 (U.P.C. Number) and the SPIN are to appear on labels carried by shipping containers or intermediate packages.

Examples of typical SPIN number files are shown in the table below. The GTIN-12 (U.P.C. Number) Identification Number for Manufacturer 'A' is 742135; for 'B', it is 123456; and for 'C', it is 987654. Notice that although the U.P.C. is different, the SPIN's are the same.

Examples of typical SPIN number files:

Mfr. GTIN-12 (U.P.C. Number) SPIN CAT# Description
A 742135 12345 668173 01048 14C049T 1/4 x 1/8 STD BLK MAL 90 REDUC ELL
B 123456 05070 668173 01048 6923ZF633 1/4 x 1/8 STD BLK MAL 90 REDUC ELL
B 123456 12345 668333 30230 6924XX923 3/8 WROT COPPER ADAPTER FTG X F
C 987654 24534 668333 30230 TX123 3/8 WROT COPPER ADAPTER FTG X F

The advantage to using the SPIN number in addition to the U.P.C. is that the SPIN is universally understood to represent a given item, regardless of manufacturer or vendor. Architects, contractors, distributors and users save huge amounts of money otherwise necessary to maintain costly cross-reference tables and re-labeling procedures.


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