SKU classification system categorizes front-end products for retailers and drug wholesalers

July 5, 2019By Behind the Shelf Blog, Data Analysis and Management

by Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager 

Imagine trying to locate a book in a library where there is no system – no categorization – that groups by subjects, titles, or authors. Library goers would certainly be lost without the Dewey Decimal System! Similarly, managing a retail operation without organization and definition to support it would be pure chaos. Fortunately for the health, beauty, and wellness industry, Hamacher Resource Group (HRG) developed, published, and maintains the Fine Line Classification System.

Think of the Fine Line system like the Dewey Decimal System for products found in a pharmacy’s front end. HRG developed the Fine Line coding system in 1987 based on a request from the trade association representing healthcare distributors.  This coding system quickly became the industry-standard used by drug wholesalers, POS vendors, and retail pharmacies nationwide.Fine Line page

Without our Fine Line system, tens of thousands of items would each require individual monitoring or retailers and distributors would need to manually group the items and then roll them up to glean meaningful information and insight. The HRG Fine Line Classification System is among the most reliable available.

Our Fine Line system has three levels of hierarchy. At the top is the category level (example: Digestive Health) which is given a 2-digit code. Next is the subcategory level (example: Laxatives) which is given a 3-digit code. Finally, there is the segment level (example: Fiber Products) which has a 4-digit code. And within each segment are usually hundreds or thousands of products.

HRG’s Category Research & Analysis team, along with their Product Research team, reviews the Fine Line system twice a year to reflect market trends, emerging categories and subcategories, as well as merchandising dynamics. Input by manufacturers, distributors, and other advisers also helps shape the direction of the system and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of this ever-expanding industry.

We’re always available to chat about Fine Lines or anything else category-related, so feel free to drop us a line.