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How to establish a National Codification Bureau (NCB)

The second service may endeavour to keep rigidly to the rules but they are remote from their parent logistics organization.  Supporting information may be difficult to obtain and they are not involved at an early stage with capital purchases. Compromise codifications are therefore probable.

The third service has cataloguers sitting beside the purchasing staff.  The philosophy of the service is that the cataloguers are only number crunchers. Type 2 codifications are the only ones generated. Conforms to the rules, but not to the spirit.  Results in making it difficult to advance inter-service standardization and rationalization decisions.

The final option is the centralized option. Under this option all the codification activities being undertaken by the main national Bureau. This option has, as its principal advantage, that the quality of the codification product will be consistent. It also has a disadvantage in that all the knowledge of the NCS is contained within one organization and logisticians are prone to treat the Bureau as a specialist function, and providing the Bureau meets the defined objectives they are basically ignored.

What I am really saying is that each option has advantages and disadvantages. Overall there seems to be a move to the centralized concept.


One of the most important aspects of establishing a Bureau is taking your national defense industry along with you. If you convince them of the potential marketing advantage of listing their items in national and international cross reference listings you will be well on the way to achieving this.

To illustrate I will use a New Zealand example. New Zealand's defense industry is very small. We had one contractor who had invented a maritime signal lamp that was superior to anything on the market at that time. They wanted to market the product to other nations' Navies. An NCB Project Officer was assigned to them, who designed their part numbering system and applied national stock numbers to all the components. The NCB produced a microfiche of the total product. When their marketers went international to sell the product they could produce all the firm's data on the product, together with a listing of the stock numbers.  In their opinion the stock number listing greatly aided successful sales to other nations.

By involving industry from the start you will find, as time progresses, it easier to obtain technical information from them for future codification. It will also aid in determining those companies that you have to be cautious of and those who will be totally co-operative. It is also wise to advise them that the Contract Codification Clause will be included in all future orders and requisitions originating from defense sources. An example of this clause can be found in the ACodP-1, STANAG 4177.  It places obligations on the manufacturers for the provision of information in support of codification. A very worthwhile clause in any supply contract.

There are two notes of caution I would add to industry participation. One is to constantly remind industry of their obligation to reveal the true manufacturer and part number of every component they provide.   Some international manufacturers I have encountered will renumber parts they buy in to their own numbering system. This hides the true identity of the part, which may well be an item manufactured to Mil Spec or DIN type specifications. They profit by charging higher prices for their items while at the same time limiting the provisioning service from finding suitable alternative sources of supply.

The second note is to watch warranty clauses when purchasing capital equipment. Some manufacturers warn that a warranty will be negated if any part other than theirs is found in a capital asset subject to warranty conditions. Remember whom we are there for, not industry, but our forces. In operational conditions the difference between life or death of our personnel may be the ability to fix a piece of equipment with a suitable substitute, acquired from your own services or the service of another nation you may be working with. Visibility of

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