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PunchOut Catalog — The Ultimate Guide of 2023

A PunchOut catalog is a dream come true for many procurement professionals that use an e-procurement system. 

It allows them to have a purchasing experience that provides process improvement and better spend management for the entire organization without leaving their e-procurement system. However, not many people in the industry are familiar with it. 

For this article, we will discuss what a PunchOut catalog is. We will explain how it works and its benefits in procurement. Additionally, we will tell you some examples of PunchOut catalogs. 

Once you are finished reading this article, you will have a deeper understanding of the PunchOut catalog and why many procurement professionals use it nowadays. 

PunchOut Catalog: What is it?

A PunchOut catalog is an integrated e-procurement system that allows suppliers to promote goods and services to buyers through the supplier’s own procurement application or hosted e-procurement system. 

PunchOut catalogs connect e-procurement solutions to e-commerce systems that let business-to-business (B2B) companies streamline the shopping experience by automating order transfers or authentication within the e-procurement systems. 

Approved purchasers from the buying organization can access hosted catalogs as part of the purchasing process. Thus, these approved purchasers can place items in their online shopping carts and check out as they would when using an e-commerce solution. 

However, instead of the suppliers handling the invoicing and sale of the purchased items, the entire transaction is managed by the buyer’s e-procurement system. 

How Does it Work?

Modern procurement systems enable buyers to import supplier catalogs directly into the buyer’s own e-procurement system or application. However, it left updates to file format conversion, supplier data, and data integrity expenses to the purchasing department

Modern catalogs use a format known as the catalog interchange format (CIF). Files in this format transmit supplier catalog data to the buyers in a comma-separated variable (CSV) layout that specifies the file header, filer trailer, and line item data. 

The simplicity of the CIF catalog limits the versatility of e-procurement systems due to its static nature limits and incapacity to directly support advanced item configurations. However, PunchOut catalogs address these limitations through the use of commerce extensible markup language (cXML) or the open catalog interface (OCI).

These languages that built the PunchOut catalogs are dynamic and support advanced configuration and full b2b eCommerce functionality for buyers. 

A PunchOut catalog is an online supplier catalog created in an open catalog interface supporting procurement-related processes to a customized PunchOut website. 

The PunchOut eCommerce solution improves the structured relationship between the e-procurement system of the buyer and the storefront of a supplier. 


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The Advantages of PunchOut Catalogs

PunchOut catalogs enable suppliers in making their catalogs more versatile and convenient for the buyer’s procurement processes. Thus, allowing them to grow their businesses. Here are some reasons why many businesses are using PunchOut catalogs:

1. No maintenance fees

There are no maintenance fees for maintaining or publishing the PunchOut catalogs. Using PunchOut catalogs eliminates the possibility of human errors. 

2. Manage your spending

PunchOut catalogs allow businesses to manage their finances effectively by automatically generating purchase orders and various levels of approval within the organization. 

3. Improves productivity

The PunchOut catalog improves productivity by making it simple for buyers to purchase what they need. The automaton of the entire purchase cycle improves the effect of the firm’s resources. 

4. Smooth purchasing transactions

Procurement professionals that use PunchOut catalogs no longer need to manually submit files with each product change and update. The PunchOut catalogs are designed to run 24/7 and provide automatic updates on discounts, quantity, and other details of the items. 

5. Saves you money

PunchOut catalogs help businesses to save more money through its order technology. Most of the time, there will be a difference in price for certain items between one supplier and another. Also, there may be numerous discounts and other terms which make one supplier more favorable than another.

This is helpful as it encourages procurement professionals to check more than one eCommerce to find the item that they need for the right price. They can do the purchasing without leaving the program and add items to the requisition list for more than one supplier. 

Disadvantages of PunchOut Catalogs

1. Constant updates

Although it improves the productivity of your business, it needs to have weekly updates to ensure that all items in the PunchOut Catalog are still available. Revisions are also difficult if you do not have someone expert in handling it.

2. More integration of automation needed

No matter how advanced your PunchOut catalog is, there will be information delays and gaps after it has been implemented. Thus, why more integration of automation is needed to handle the technical requirements of having a PunchOut catalog. 

3. Variation of interface

Although all PunchOut catalogs are all doing the same thing, the software that is hosting it has different user interfaces. Thus, many companies switching to new e-procurement software may have a hard time again mastering the interface of their PunchOut catalog. 

Examples of PunchOUt Catalogs

1. Amazon Business PunchOut

Amazon Business PunchOut gives its users access to millions of products from Amazon Business. 

With Amazon Business PunchOUt, buyers can enjoy the same convenient shopping experience they are used to when buying from Amazon while also acquiring the added benefit of competitive pricing and discounts only available to businesses. 

2. PunchOut2Go

PunchOut2Go, now rebranded as TradeCentric, is the leading provider of PunchOut catalog integration solutions. It offers a simple solution that allows buyers to easily connect to any PunchOut catalog and a wide range of other eCommerce platforms. 

3. SAP Ariba PunchOut

SAP Ariba PunchOut is a popular PunchOut catalog that connects buyers to suppliers through its Ariba Network. With it, sellers can provide a personalized and updated shopping experience for customers that are browsing the SAP Ariba catalogs. 

When b2b customers shop in SAP Ariba, they are redirected to the seller’s website where they can see the latest products, prices, and ordering options which are displayed in real-time. 

Frequentlyasked questions

+ What is the PunchOut catalog?

It is an integrated e-procurement system that allows suppliers to promote goods and services to buyers through the supplier’s own procurement application or hosted e-procurement system.

+ How does it work?

It works by supporting procurement-related processes to a customized PunchOut website. To simplify, buyers can now procure their needs without exiting their e-procurement systems.

+ Do I need it?

If you want to save more money and time looking for the items you need to procure, then it is for you! 

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