Ecommerce – Current Information..

A PunchOut Catalog, more accurately called a PunchOut Website, is a technique for a corporate purchasing agent to purchase from a supplier’s website from within the buyer’s own procurement application or hosted eprocurement system.

A PunchOut website is actually a standard ecommerce website with the special capability to communicate directly with a procurement system through cXML and return a pending purchase order back to the customer therefore they don’t must enter product information inside the procurement system.

To understand a PunchOut, it’s vital that you understand modern procurement systems and where punchout catalogs suits the picture. With traditional procurement systems, supplier catalog items could be entered in the procurement system each time a purchase order was being created or perhaps the item would be located in the procurement system master catalog and included in the investment order. As time passes, procurement systems gained the opportunity to import supplier catalogs straight into the procurement system. The buying organization, often the purchasing department, had the duty to get into the catalog information, convert it from one electronic form to a different, and keep costs.

After their founding in 1996, Ariba® introduced the Catalog Interchange Format (CIF); this standardized electronic file format for supplier catalogs eliminated the need for buyers to manually enter item information or convert files from one format to a different. From the CIF standard, suppliers could easily publish catalogs and buyers could easily import them. Rather than concentrating on mundane catalog management, purchasing departments could allocate more time on spend management.

The Catalog Interchange Format is ideal for catalogs that infrequently change. In case a supplier sells a widget or performs a service that stays exactly the same for a long period of energy, a CIF file is the simplest way to communicate catalogs under one thousand items. In this particular global economy with nimble suppliers, mass customization, and commodity pricing, a catalog of static information, fixed pricing, and the lack of ability to customize is a problem.

Within the consumer world, the answer to your static product catalog, and in many cases its replacement, is the ecommerce website. For any corporate purchasing agent working within a procurement system or hosted eprocurement website, accessing an external supplier website isn’t possible. Even when it were possible, there was clearly no standard approach to automatically enter in the item information from your website into the procurement system.

Oftentimes a static catalog as well as the inability to exchange information with the ecommerce website reintroduces significant work with the purchasing department. To handle this problem, an electronic aniwag interchange standard called the Commerce eXtensible Markup Language (cXML) and PunchOut concept was created by the industry consortium.

Through cXML and the PunchOut mechanism, buyers can access a supplier’s PunchOut-enabled ecommerce website, be automatically logged in, search the catalog, configure items, add these to the shopping cart application, and return the cart as a pending purchase order to the procurement system. In short a PunchOut website is really a standard ecommerce website with the special capacity to communicate directly with a procurement system through cXML and return a pending purchase order back to the buyer therefore they don’t have to enter product information within the procurement system.

Where a CIF catalog is static, punchout catalog is actually a dynamic product and a service catalog is dynamic platform allowing for current information, product configuration, and real-time price and availability.