National Product Catalogue in Rail

Endorsed by the ARA

Project i-TRACE delivers National Product Catalogue to drive new efficiencies in rail
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Digitalisation of Material Master Data within the rail industry is a Project i-TRACE initiative

To support best practise in Material Master Data management, the National Product Catalogue (NPC) enables the adoption of a standard list of data attributes and processes for exchanging Material Master Data (MMD) in the Rail industry. The NPC will digitise the way MMD is managed in the Rail industry. This agreed, standardised approach to capturing and sharing critical data about the materials that flow through the rail supply chain saves the industry exposure to unnecessary costs, duplication and data quality errors.

“Cataloguing the spare parts delivered to the warehouse following an electrical transformer installation can take several days of opening boxes, identifying the parts, trying to relate back to a parts list and suggested spares stock holding document. Going forward, most of this validated data will be accessed direct from the supplier via the NPC.”

Bill Steward, Material Data Manager, Sydney Trains

NPC is an industry service that helps manufacturers and suppliers enter, validate, store, maintain and share all your product details, trade-related and marketing-related information. It provides a single repository of product data applicable across all product categories, including orderable spare parts & components​.


Manufacturers & suppliers are considered 'Publishers' to the NPC. Publishers decide who they will publish their data to ('Publication') and maintain the data over time. 

Operators/buyers are considered 'Recipients' to the NPC. Recipients choose to accept Publisher's data (known as a 'Subscription') and subsequently 'synchronise' for ongoing flow of data changes or additions made by Publishers.

Based on the principles of 'data synchronisation', the NPC enables the sharing and updating of quality, standard data. This data is required to link physical items (parts, components and assets) to the daily operations of suppliers, maintainers and rail operators.

  • Share data with nominated trading partners and enable them to see any changes in real time​

  • Publish data as a one-to-many; making the most of your prepared data, by publishing to multiple operators 

  • Synchronise item data as a foundation for efficient electronic data interchange (EDI/eProcurement)​

  • Keep your data in a single, secure, accessible, reliable location for internal and external use​

  • Maintain a high level of data integrity - avoiding duplication, errors and discrepancies​

  • Improve data quality with both automatic and process-driven validation services​

  • Securely share item master information such as GTINs (barcode numbers), descriptions, product classifications, unit of measure, dangerous goods, key regulatory and brand information and more​

The need for accurate, up-to-date, consistent and complete data for all products is now a recognised imperative within Rail. Quality data from the validated, expert source - the manufacturer/supplier - is the key to ensuring accuracy. Automating the sharing of quality data via a single source to all systems, ensures that there is interoperability, as they are speaking the same language whilst also removing the duplicated effort and data errors across the supply chain.

"Duplication of data is ‘data death’. It reduces data integrity. A single source of truth that is accessed by the authorities saves time and effort reducing wastage and hence cost for all involved.”

Andrew Carroll, Managing Director, Cold Forged Products

There are a variety of ways to connect to the NPC to load or receive data e.g. manually via web interface, or automatically (i.e. system-to-system).

Contact the GS1 Rail team to discuss the best way for your organisation.

There are many resources available to assist you with managing your material master data including guidelines, webinars, training and support. Contact us so we direct you to the most suitable resources to meet your needs.