“PunchOut Catalogs: Procurement WIN for Big and Small!”

By David Aronson

May 25, 2021

Digital Transformation is on a roll. Industry by industry, tool by tool, and step by step, transformative innovations are making easy work of outdated tools and processes for both consumers and employees alike. Procurement management, along with many other disciplines, is being reinvented by digital transformation. Procurement professionals help business operations run smoothly ensuring all necessary items and services are acquired properly.

In addition, they focus on eliminating off-contract spending, using negotiated vendor contracts, increasing the overall efficiency of the procurement process, and more. Still, how can ‘procurement’ save even more money, time, and resources, all while creating a streamlined experience for buyers? Behold! PunchOut Catalogs are an excellent example of using the latest innovative methods for procurement projects and processes to proceed smoothly, efficiently, and successfully.

PunchOut Catalogs are e-procurement applications that allow a buyer to access a supplier’s website from the buyer’s procurement application. An e-procurement system utilizing a PunchOut Catalog provides 24/7/365 access to an online catalog and automates related documents like purchase orders, invoices, and advance shipping notices, among others.

Traditional procurement systems use more hands-on methods of filling, reviewing, and sending order requests. Think telephone calls and faxed forms (*Cue hold music*). Catalog items were manually entered into procurement systems when a purchase order was created. Or, the item was located in the procurement system master catalog and then added to the purchase order.

Procurement systems developed the ability to import supplier catalogs directly into their own procurement system. (*Someone in 1996*, “Hooray!”) The standardized Catalog Interchange Format (CIF) helped buyers tremendously by eliminating manual entering of item information. Suppliers easily published catalogs, buyers easily imported them. The buying organization, more specifically, the purchasing department, still had the responsibility of entering the catalog information, then converting it between electronic forms. Doable, but still not exactly ideal while maintaining costs. Progress, nonetheless.

While eProcurement systems proved extremely useful, not every B2B business had the capital to make themselves compatible with any and every eProcurement system on the market. Recent innovations in PunchOut Catalog technology provide the essential bridge between eCommerce websites and the ever-increasing number of businesses interested in using eProcurement systems. Titans like Microsoft have solved the costly capital dilemma, and in doing so have leveled the playing field.

Punch-Out functionality within Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition allows users to seamlessly purchase through vendors without having to store their master data and information such as item numbers, descriptions, and prices. Through the use of external, cloud-based catalogs, purchasing becomes an easier and more streamlined process for everyone involved. A BIG WIN for both large and small companies alike.

David Aronson, Senior Consultant| David.Aronson@MazarsUSA.com


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