Brisch Classification – Definition

Cite this article as:"Brisch Classification – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated June 10, 2019, last accessed October 29, 2020,


Brisch Classification Definition

It is a coding or classification system used for inventory classification. It is based on numerical figures from 0 to 9 and usually has three blocks consisting of a total of six to eight digits. The blocks are separated by decimals and each block gets specifically classified materials. This system is named after prominent British consulting Engineer Edward Brisch, who invented it in the 1950s.

A Little More on What is Brisch Classification

Different types of store codes are used for the classification of inventory. The codes are designed to meet different requirements and based on the type of store item, the purpose of the item or its application.

Some of the most commonly used store codification methods are:

  1.    Alphabetical Codification
  2.    Numerical codification

III.    Mnemonic codification

  1.    Combined alphabetical & numerical codification
  2.    Decimal codification
  3.    Brisch codification

VII.    Kodak codification

VIII.    Color codification.

Brisch is a Parts family coding and classification system. The purpose of this system is to identify and classify the parts and components that are used for making the final product. Brisch system is generally used within the UK. Similar systems like Opitz system is used in Germany and Miclass system is used in the Netherlands.

In Brisch system, the first block signifies the classification of raw materials, materials used in packaging and the finished material. The middle block indicates the next level classification including nature, use, features and quality of materials. The block in the right or the last block signifies the lowest level classification that includes the quality of materials, components, source of supply, frequency of use, appearance, availability, marketability, prices, and others.

In an engineering organization the classifications would be:

0) Organization and operation

1) Primary materials

2) Brought out commodities

3) Components to user’s own design

4) Sub-assemblies and assemblies

5) Tools and portable equipment

6) Plant and Machinery

7) Building and Utilities

8) Scrap

9) Reserved

Each of these divisions is further divided into sub-classes and sub-classes are broken into finer classes to get a final symbolic description of an item.

Brisch is a comprehensive rationalized Material Coding system. The objectives of such a coding system are-

  • ¬†¬†¬†Group the similar items together.
  • ¬†¬†¬†Putting up the future items in their proper places.
  • ¬†¬†¬†Classifying the items according to their features.
  • ¬†¬†¬†Determining essential parameters for specifying an item.
  • ¬†¬†¬†Enabling computerized data processing and analysis.
  • ¬†¬†¬†Providing a unique code number to each item.
  • ¬†¬†¬†Avoiding duplication and ambiguity
  • ¬†¬†¬†Promoting standardization
  • ¬†¬†¬†Establishing a common language for the identification of an item.
  • ¬†¬†¬†Specifying items according to national and international standards.

References for Birsch Classification

Academic Research on Brisch Classification

Adoption and implementation of group technology classification and coding systems: insights from seven case studies, Tatikonda, M. V., & Wemmerlöv, U. (1992). The International Journal Of Production Research, 30(9), 2087-2110.

GT coding and classification systems for manufacturing cell design, Choi, M. J., & Riggs, W. E. (1991). Production and Inventory Management Journal, 32(1), 28-32.

The numbering and taxonomy of inventoried items, Carlson, J. G., & Gopal, C. S. (1983). International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 3(1), 10-18.

The Design/Manufacturing Interface, Radford, J. D., & Richardson, D. B. (1977). In The Management of Manufacturing Systems (pp. 76-86). Palgrave, London.


Inventory Management, Firth, M. (1976). In Management of Working Capital (pp. 24-52). Palgrave, London.

Group technology & cellular manufacturing: Updated perspectives, Suresh, N. C., & Kay, J. M. (1998). In Group Technology and Cellular Manufacturing (pp. 1-14). Springer, Boston, MA.

The potential of group technology for US manufacturing, Hyer, N. L. (1984). Journal of Operations Management, 4(3), 183-202.

Material Specification, Codification, and Standardization, Vrat, P. (2014). In Materials Management (pp. 211-224). Springer, New Delhi.


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