E-procurement – the process of buying supplies online – is now the primary sourcing method for procurement officers as B2B businesses adopt a consumer-centric approach.
Even big-ticket buyers like government agencies, and corporate houses are turning to mobile, self-service purchasing. Suppliers therefore must seek to empower their purchasing process with a better shopping experience and improved spending management.
This is where B2B eCommerce PunchOut integration comes into play. Despite underlying factors driving PunchOut adoption, it’s vital to understand what PunchOut catalog solutions are and how they streamline procurement by combating the lengthy P2P process.
What is PunchOut in B2B eCommerce?
PunchOut is a technology that enables buyers to access their suppliers’ websites through their procurement applications. When these buyers access a secure, private website they can view contracted products and pricing directly from within their eProcurement solutions or ERP system.
Best of all, eCommerce PunchOut integration also offers custom catalogs for an individual buyer, with special pricing and product selections in addition to automated synchronization of requisition and purchase order data.
The Problem of eProcurement Systems
Even though it is certainly evident that buyers are researching items and spending more online, suppliers are not keeping up with these changes. As a result, they are failing to capture the entire market share due to the following challenges:
Supplier-related issues: Finding the right suppliers to buy from, supplier relationship management, and evaluating performance.
Strategy selection: Procurement has shifted from an operational function to a top strategic player in an organization. It is imperative to align procurement strategies across multiple locations and strategize to help meet goals.
Reducing costs and achieving savings: Lowering costs continues to be a primary procurement mandate.
Accurate data: The need for increased access to accurate data seems to correspond with an increasing reliance on software and tech tools in the supply chain.
Managing stakeholders: Procurement is at the crossroads of many different business functions. Improving internal customer engagement levels to change management and achieving buy-in from executives.
Risk Mitigation: Reducing over-spending and dealing with compliance issues.
Tools & Technology: Finding the right tools and technology to support the procurement process, technology adoption.
Recruiting, retaining, and training talent: Long talent acquisition processes affect further business operations.
Time: Lead time issues and a limited amount of time for sourcing
RFx process: Shortening the RFx-to-award cycle in procuring IT-related products or services.
But here’s the big part: Most eCommerce websites do not even know that they face these challenges, much less than a single, simple integration will solve the problem.
Solving eProcurement Problems With B2B eCommerce PunchOut Catalog
The global eProcurement market is expected to reach one trillion U.S. dollars by 2022. This means suppliers need to buckle up and streamline their sourcing methods. eCommerce PunchOut solutions optimize productivity, competitive advantage, and profitability by delivering incremental improvements in cost savings and efficiency.
1. Real-time availability
eCommerce PunchOut catalog syncs with your POS and automatically updates all your product data, including pricing and stock levels. As a result, there is no need to continually update multiple catalogs for a variety of buyers and no room for operational inefficiencies that may occur from inaccurate prices on orders.
2. Cost-efficient procurement
That’s why it is more important to maximize the control, transparency, and efficiency of the procurement process. And the only way to ensure a profitable business is to keep the budget in line with the plans.
PunchOut catalog integrates the buy-side and sell-side, thus freeing procurement officers to focus on accelerating the sales cycle and streamlining the purchase approval mechanisms. On top of that, suppliers can save printing and operational costs related to the maintenance of the catalogs. This centralized procurement system reduces the cost by almost 85%.
3. Increased Order Accuracy
An automated procurement process with the PunchOut catalog can reduce order errors — duplicate orders, pricing, quantity, and scheduling mistakes, misconfigured products, and more —
With reduced order errors, procurement staff can free up 10 minutes per order spent on returns, exchanges, and manual verification of order receipts for higher-value activities.
4. Increased Buyer Retention
ECommerce PunchOut’s capability ensures that suppliers understand the complete buyer’s journey and post-sale lifecycle, increasing customer loyalty.
Upsell and cross-sell features, configuration capabilities, incentives like discounts, and personalized content are some of the PunchOut features that keep current customers in the loop.
5. Access to Big Ticket Clients
Large buyers depend solely on eProcurement methods to centralize financial tasks and promote greater visibility and simpler management.
eCommerce PunchOut integration allows seamless purchase order generation, which in turn, keeps the overall spend in check while providing optimized pricing and quality. Additionally, agencies can look at key metrics like supplier lead time, spend under management (SUM), item defect rate, and more to analyze supplier performance and improve procurement processes.
6. Accurate and Enriched Data Transmission
Modern eCommerce PunchOut solutions use Catalog Interchange Format (CIF) allowing buyers to import catalog data directly into their procurement system. The format makes it easy and intuitive to create hierarchical relationships (e.g., size, color, material) while keeping file size and data management costs to a minimum.
Besides CIF, PunchOut Catalog software uses two more languages: Commerce Extensible Markup Language, (cXML) and Open Catalog Interface, or OCI, commonly used by System Applications and Products (SAP) and Oracle-based systems. These dynamic languages support advanced configuration and automated data transmission of CIF catalogs.
7. Efficient Fraud Monitoring
Businesses can use PunchOut catalog software to control how and where their customer’s shop. They can decide which vendors to include and set pricing with suppliers beforehand. Customers can also select popular items from major vendors like Amazon, Office Depot, or Staples.
As a result of these measures, the accounts payable team can easily identify fraudulent payment requests. If a vendor has not registered for the PunchOut catalog or if the invoice does not match prices listed on the supplier’s website, then it’s clear that it isn’t an authentic invoice.
Streamline Your Business With VARStreet PunchOut Catalog Integration
Procurement tools like PunchOut catalogs are just one part of a complete procurement strategy, but it can help you achieve significant savings and greater efficiency.
VARStreet’s mission is to provide solutions focused on connecting eCommerce applications with buyer’s procurement systems. Working with PunchOut-ready eCommerce stores, you’ll be able to take advantage of VARStreet’s experience with a range of procurement applications, including Ariba, Vinimaya, Coupa, and SAP.
Every business needs a streamlined procurement workflow and order management system. With eCommerce PunchOut automation, it’s all possible.