The importance of eProcurement is widely known, yet most companies struggle to efficiently implement it due to several bottlenecks on various levels. Lately, after knowing the benefits of implementing digital procurement process, companies have started to deploy a digital purchasing software. But imagine if there are additional steps in the purchasing process that are not covered within the software? Wouldn’t that be a deal-breaker?
Having a punchout system embedded within the software makes it easier for companies and their procurement team. A punchout system is not only a time saver but also a great way to keep track of suppliers and pre-approved goods for easy and hassle-free reordering of goods or services from within the system.
But what is a punchout catalog? Let’s have a look.
What is Punchout Catalog?
A punchout catalog has the ability to combine e-commerce with procurement to create a singular buying system that organizations can use to streamline the purchasing process.
A punchout catalog is also called a punchout supplier catalog. This is because it can easily integrate supplier catalogs with a buyer’s own digital procurement application or an existing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution.
This helps the buyer access data directly from the supplier’s product catalogs which save up time. This way, the buyer only orders from trusted suppliers and the process is hassle-free.
A punchout website, in simple terms, is a standard e-commerce website that can communicate directly with a procurement system.
Let’s take an example – Your company’s procurement team has requested or requisitioned goods or services with the best pricing and terms & conditions available. This obviously, must have taken a lot of effort. The amount of time invested in researching suppliers and finally cracking the best prices is nothing compared to the result of actually ordering goods or services from the perfect supplier.
But this research would be a waste if the buyer has to go through the same process manually when ordering goods or services the next time, right? This is where the punchout catalog comes into the picture.
If the supplier’s details are saved after ordering goods or services the first time in a catalog, it would save the buyer and the company a lot more time. This way, the procurement team can directly connect to the entire supplier catalog and browse pre-approved goods or services at the best pricing and terms available. All this without leaving your existing eProcurement software.
Exciting, isn’t it? The job of a punchout catalog is essentially, to present a supplier’s offered goods or services in the catalog for easy ordering. When this punchout catalog is integrated with your existing eProcurement system, you can place orders without even leaving your digital procurement software.
Most importantly, the punchout catalog when integrated within an eProcurement system is a blessing for buyers and a dream come true for any organization.
How does punchout work?
The punchout process involves the following steps:
- First, the procurement manager or the buyer opens the company’s existing eProcurement or digital procurement system.
- Once the buyer locates the supplier and selects it, the eProcurement system redirects the buyer to the supplier’s e-commerce store or B2B marketplace.
- The system can automatically authenticate the buyer and logs them into the supplier’s online store.
- Now, the buyer can look at the products available in the supplier’s catalog as they are browsing the supplier’s site. Here, the supplier can also provide the buyer with custom products or services at discounted prices, negotiated previously. The buyer can add the products to the cart just like one would in an actual e-commerce store.
- Once the buyer has added all the products in the cart, instead of checking out, they will punch out. This essentially means that the system automatically exports the order data to the buyer’s eProcurement system for approval.
- The purchase order (PO) will then need to be approved in the buyer’s eProcurement platform. Once approved, the system will create a PO in the supplier’s e-commerce store, and further, the usual delivery process will be initiated for product delivery.
The punchout process is rather simple. Additionally, it enables the procurement manager or the buyer to order products from the same system while staying within an internal eProcurement system that keeps a track of all transactions.
Why do you need a Punchout system?
A punchout catalog aids in reducing purchasing errors within an organization. The reduced errors mean faster purchasing, improved speed and accuracy. This means there isn’t much work that needs to be done before you get a product or a service from a verified vendor.
Let’s have a look at the benefits of a seamless and integrated punchout system and why you need it.
- Increased ordering and hassle-free checkout experience
When your existing eProcurement software has a punchout system integrated within it, buyers have access to thousands of products or services, with pre-approved suppliers which makes it easy to place a quick order.
- Shopping as convenient as B2C
Many B2B companies dream of the checkout convenience which is experienced by the B2C companies. With a punchout system, the buyer’s experience is more simplified. The re-ordering will be faster and more convenient just like a B2C experience. The buyers can also buy products and conduct searches within a familiar User Interface (UI).
- No maintenance for external links
Since the systems access third-party products and are handled by their own publications, your organization will not accrue any expense to maintain the third-party website.
The suppliers that are preferred by the procurement team of a company are all concentrated in one application. This promotes better consolidation and increased efficiencies.
- Access to negotiated prices
When a particular supplier is added to the catalog, it is possible that the bulk prices which were earlier negotiated with them are in the catalog now. Procurement managers have access to these negotiated prices of preferred vendors right here on this catalog.
- Faster processing speed
With an integrated punchout system, buyers can speed processing, order fulfillment, and special and urgent requests. The entire purchasing process is automated making the punchout system more optimized and accelerated.
- Efficient enforcement of buying policies
Using the punchout catalog gives buyers the ability to reorder faster and get speedy approvals on all orders and integrate catalogs with the desired suppliers. Buyers can enforce their buying policies based on punchout reorders.
- Access to previous orders and negotiated prices
Authorized users and procurement managers gain access to the previous orders that have been ordered using the punchout system. The negotiated bulk prices from preferred vendors are right on the catalog pages, making it easier to reorder from verified and trusted suppliers.
- Fully integrated catalogs
Different types of catalogs can be integrated into an organization’s existing digital procurement software including punchout catalogs, hosted catalogs, and internal catalogs. Additionally, authorization protocols can be uniquely set to meet contract-compliance requirements as well.
- Status reports are automated
Order statuses are alerted to the buyers early in the buying process when a fulfillment issue arises. This reduces disputes, returns, and delays and helps an organization save up on valuable time.
- Competitive advantage
Companies that have a punchout system integrated with their existing eProcurement solution have seamless purchasing benefits. This helps organizations gain control of the entire purchase-to-pay (P2P) process and deliver B2B automation to their valued customers. This helps in the growth of sales and drives higher customer satisfaction rates.
Finally, we understood that a supplier punchout catalog is a supplier’s e-commerce website that is accessible to the buyer from the company’s existing eProcurement solution. This allows the buyer to browse and search for the supplier’s products from within the internal eProcurement system and then order and purchase the selected supplies online.
With Bellwether’s digital procurement solution, you can easily integrate into the punchout catalog and access your supplier’s offerings – all in one place. From requisitioning to ordering goods or services from your supplier – you don’t have to look anywhere else. Bellwether can do it all!
Get a Demo now to check it out.