Within the e-procurement place a rapid transformation is occurring catering to the growing need of buyer companies to procure products faster. The environment has become dynamic and real-time between a buyer and seller with the advent of protocols such as cxml punchout. For more information on cxml, visit https://www.key.com/kco/images/cXMLUsersGuide.pdf.
An e-catalog improves efficiency between a buyer and a supplier. It contains product description, pricing and contractual details of all products with a supplier. The buyer browses through the catalog, adds products to a shopping cart and sends a requisition for finance approval. Once approved, a purchase order is generated and sent to the supplier to be fulfilled. The e-catalog is an integral part of this workflow system.
There are two types of e-catalogs – hosted and PunchOut e-catalogs
1. The hosted catalogs are static. It is a .csv file that is regularly uploaded by sellers onto the buyer’s system. This means that if a product price increased or a product went obsolete or a new product entered the seller market on a particular day and the product catalog was to be updated a week later by the seller, the buyer would only have an outdated list and would not have access to the latest changes. This results in procurement delays with the buyer and supplier going back and forth on the catalog items.
Furthermore, data verification and reporting onus lies with the buyer. This is cumbersome. Any updates are required to be made on the .csv file separately each time. Hosted catalog can be considered as the most basic kind of catalog.
2. PunchOut Catalog is dynamic and real-time and therefore completely eliminates the above problem. The information is updated on the supplier’s catalog. The need to upload the updated catalog onto the buyer’s system is completely eliminated as the PunchOut technology directly accesses the supplier’s e-catalog by entering the supplier’s system using the cxml protocol. Here the data verification and reporting is generated by the supplier with reports on price changes, product consumption etc. The updates are automatic.
3. The product descriptions are limited in hosted catalogs but they are available in detail in PunchOut catalogs.
4. There is ample associated technical data with products in the PunchOut catalogs which is absent in hosted catalogs.
5. PunchOut catalogs possess order tracking abilities which is absent in hosted catalogs.
6. Checking of real-time product availability is possible in PunchOut catalogs but is absent in hosted catalogs.
7. Account information, first choice alternatives, promotions, marketing content and certificate of analysis are all available in PunchOut catalogs but are absent in hosted catalogs.
For seamless integration between buyer and supplier, PunchOut Catalog plays out as a great advantage. PunchOut is a direct link to the supplier’s catalog, Buyers can PunchOut of their systems and access the catalogs of various suppliers dynamically and therefore PunchOut catalogs are a definite advantage over hosted catalogs. It would however require you to procure PunchOut technology. But with sound knowledge on what components of PunchOut technology are mandatory and with recommendations, a good PunchOut technology vendor can be approached.