National Stock Numbers make supplying goods easier
If you’ve ever purchased anything, you’ve seen a numbers on it that identify the item (a bar code). There is something similar that applies to items that are not used by the general public: National Stock Numbers. This relatively new concept is an important way to identify and obtain important items.
National Stock Numbers are one of the many things to come out of World War Two. With all the complications that were arising from trying to get an item that might be known by a dozen or more names, it was decided that an easier way to obtain these items was needed. That’s when these numbers were created. Legislation was introduced in the early 1950s to put this idea into action.
Aircraft Seat Cushion – NSN 1680-01-100-1746
Blind Rivet – NSN 5320-01-597-4852
Each National Stock Number is made up of several parts, much like other ID methods, all designed to give more information about the particular item. This includes the country or origin, manufacturer, and product specs/description. While the first two parts of the number can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer—or country to country—the last few numbers are the same for each product. For example, light bulbs will have the last part, or washers, etc. Other items that fall into this category are wire springs, communication equipment, heating components, and much more.
These convenient numbers are used by all Governments and are usually assigned upon the invention of a new part, weapon, or other item that will be used by Federal agencies or Military Services. They are also used to identify items that need to be disposed of in specific ways to ensure the safety of the environment and human health.
These numbers have made certain agencies run in a more efficient manner, while also providing transparency and safety of information. It also flags duplicate items to avoid waste.
An example of how the “US Military Purchases Their Parts”:
National Stock Number Information provided under the Freedom of Information Act. National Stock Number Info may be required to notify the US Department of State, the US Department of Commerce, or other government entities in instances where ITAR controlled items are being sold or exported. National Stock Number Info does abide by all applicable US export controls laws and regulation and may be called upon by the US Government to provide information on request originating from Banned Countries or Entities as defined by the US Department of Commerce, US Department of State, and Homeland Security.