By Steve Morgan on Feb 20, 2012
We all know that implementing an eProcurement system can save companies millions of dollars by improving spending control, ensuring ordering against negotiated contracts and preventing maverick buying ; but the heart of any ‘world class’ eProcurement product is how catalogs are managed and, by extension, how accurate the Item information is when an item search is executed within the system.
What is a Catalog?
A catalog is a definitive source of supplier product and service information that is typically divided into product categories and is used, in conjunction with pre-negotiated supplier contracts, to return accurate product and pricing information for a requestor.
The main catalog types are:
Internal Catalogs – These are catalogs that are stored locally in the system and can be created internally or uploaded into the system from a supplier or third party content management system.
Web Catalogs – Commonly called Punchout catalogs, these are Catalogs where a requestor would actually leave the eProcurement UI and go to an external supplier website or to a supplier ‘hub’ to order the items. Once the items have been ordered, the information would be brought back into PeopleSoft eProcurement for review, budget checking and submission for approval.
External Catalog – This type of catalog (also known as a ‘Transparent punchout’ or ‘distributed search’) allows requestors to search for products on an external supplier site or supplier hub without leaving the eProcurement UI. The search is executed in the background on the remote site and returns a list of matching products to the eProcurement search page where they can add the item to the cart and continue the ordering process as with other catalog items.
This is a visual representation of the various flows that can occur from a local search for a Product or Service. As part of the search process, the requestor can select to search from Internal Catalogs or, using Transparent Punchout, can search against a remote supplier directly or an external hub which can contain information from multiple suppliers. Within eProcurement, the transparent punchout products are displayed in the External Catalog section with a configurable number of Items brought back from the remote supplier or hub based on matching the search request.
The external catalog information will be displayed within the eProcurement search page:
Benefits of Transparent Punchout
The main benefits of having the ‘transparent punchout’ capability are:
- It provides more accurate product information (since it is real time) especially for highly configured items or variable price items without having to continually upload multiple revisions locally.
- It allows more control over what users can access without having them leave eProcurement and go to an external website.
- It places the burden of maintaining the catalog onto the supplier instead of the buying organization.
With the introduction of Transparent Punchout to PeopleSoft 9.1, the Requestor now has single point of entry to Supplier Catalogs whether they are stored locally or accessed remotely from a Suppler site or Supplier hub ensuring Contract Compliance, consistent look and feel and increased control over which Products or Services a Requestor can buy.