This Is The Difference Between A Punch Out Catalog And An Item Catalog (Plus 5 Reasons Why You need Both)
Purchase order and procurement software promise big rewards. It’s supposed to make the entire procurement process easy while also giving you the tools you need to track purchases effectively. Unfortunately, companies find all too often that purchase order systems aren’t as easy to use as they’d hoped.
Problems with a purchasing software system might show up because the software doesn’t work well with other programs used in your business. Or maybe the software you installed a few years ago is now outdated and was never user-friendly. Whatever the reason, if purchasing software is difficult or confusing to use, employees may bypass the system and you’ll have a new mess to deal with.
Fortunately, it is possible to find e-Procurement Purchasing Solutions that truly are user-friendly. These software systems make it just as easy to shop from within the system as it would be to shop outside of it. It’s even easier since the system automatically sorts acceptable purchases and ensures employees won’t have to deal with trying to submit expense receipts for purchases that don’t qualify for reimbursement. With a system this user-friendly, there’s no reason for employees not to use the software.
Punchouts and item catalogs are two of the key features that make online e-procurement systems easy to use. Using purchasing software that includes these features will help any business, but it’s especially helpful if you’re setting up a procurement system for large organizations. On their own, each feature provides user-friendliness and enforces purchasing compliance. Together, they make for an easy-to-use procurement system that helps support company goals and streamline purchasing.
- Users can purchase directly from vendor websites.
- System only shows items preapproved for purchase based on the user’s account/tier level.
- Helps limit maverick spending.
- Generates purchase orders automatically.
Punchout catalogs (also called punchout websites) provide a way for employees to shop your suppliers’ websites from within the procurement system. This gives employees who use your company’s purchasing system the same kind of shopping experience they’d have if they weren’t using your procurement software.
Basically, employees start by opening your e-Procurement system and then “punch out” a request that takes them to the supplier’s website. Once there, they can shop the same way they normally would. The most visible difference is that employees will only see items that are preapproved for them to purchase. Then when they place an order, it’s automatically sent through your procurement system instead of straight to the supplier.
A punchout catalog makes using purchase order software negligibly different from shopping outside of the system. Thus, there’s no reason for employees to avoid using your purchasing system. This dramatically cuts back on the problem of maverick spending.
Punchouts also make things easier for employees in the purchasing department. The system automatically generates purchase orders and routes them through appropriate channels. Since POs are generated automatically, they’re virtually error-free and require far less individual attention than in most other systems.
- Set limits on purchases company-wide based on employee’s account/tier level.
- Set limits on types, quantities, and sources for preapproved items.
- Automatically enforce purchasing agreements made with vendors.
- Improve inventory management and tracking.
Item catalogs are something that you can choose to set up inside your e-procurement software. These catalogs keep track of products that your company approves for purchase. Creating a local procurement catalog will help keep costs down and make the system more user-friendly. Item catalogs are also a reliable way to enforce company policy.
Having a catalog of approved products helps employees make sure they’re buying the right items. It’s also an easy way for employees to make item requisitions since they don’t have to worry about finding the lowest price or wondering which brand to buy. They just pick the item in the catalog.
When you’re shopping around for e-procurement software, make sure it includes this feature. A good purchase order system will let you set up and easily maintain an item catalog for your organization. Being able to customize and change the catalog easily, whenever you need to is also a must-have for a digital procurement system.
Whoever oversees the item catalog determines which products to include and the level of detail to provide about the products. They’ll also decide if employees can order from an external vendor. With a purchasing system like the one from NextProcess, procurement managers can customize options to only allow certain purchases from outside vendors or restrict ordering access to certain employees. They can also set up multiple catalogs for employees in different departments based on their needs.
Here’s Why You Need Both
Punchout and item catalogs serve different, but overlapping, purposes. Having at least one of the two is going to help make your e-Procurement software easier to use but having both provides even more advantages. Here are five reasons that it’s a good idea to get software that supports punchouts as well as item catalogs.
1) Employees Know They’re Buying the Right Items
Item catalogs show employees which items to purchase. Punchout catalogs make it easy for employees to create purchase orders while ordering items from a supplier’s website. Together, these two features make it easy for employees to know which items are approved for purchase and then order those items without any hassle. No more worries about confused employees not knowing which items to purchase or how they’re supposed to place orders.
2) It Ensures Employees Will Use Your Software
Both punchout and item catalogs make procurement software more user-friendly. When you have both there’s really no reason for employees to go around your software to make purchases. This virtually eliminates maverick spending. As a bonus, since there’s no point in having a software system that employees won’t use, these two user-friendly features help make the software more cost-effective for your organization.
3) It’s Easier for You to Enforce Company Policies
Let’s say you have a policy stating that certain types of purchases require purchase orders and another policy regarding which items that employees are allowed to purchase. Working together, a punchout catalog and an item catalog enforce both those policies. The item catalog restricts purchasing to approved items and the punchout catalog makes sure it’s easy for employees to comply with rules for generating purchase orders. Each feature helps enforce company policies in their own way. Having both helps cut down on problems including fraud and unauthorized purchasing.
4) Your Company Saves Money
When your procurement software is user-friendly and enforces your company’s policies, the software gives you more control over company spend. That’ll help you cut back on, and possibly even eliminate, “rogue” or “maverick” spending. Punchouts and item catalogs also help ensure accurate orders and quick processing. The faster and more accurately a purchase goes through the system, the more money your company saves on processing costs. It all adds up to a win-win for the company and all employees. Plus, with NextProcess, we don’t charge extra for additional user licenses. You only pay for what you need, and you never pay extra for giving more employees access to the system.
5) It Simplifies and Centralizes Purchasing
Punchouts and item catalogs help bring all your purchasing into one system. They eliminate the need to go outside the e-Procurement software to shop for products, find out which products are approved for purchase, or generate purchase orders. That streamlines the entire purchasing and record-keeping process. You can scale the software to a company of any size, making it easy to keep a small business organized or to manage purchasing across multiple locations in a larger corporation.
Why Choose NextProcess?
When shopping for e-Procurement software it’s vital that you find one that includes all the features you need. But the software must also come from a reliable supplier who can back up their claims about the product. It’s not that hard to find a software system that includes punchouts and item catalogs. But you also want to make sure there aren’t any hidden fees and that the provider will help with implementation.
This is where NextProcess comes in. We offer reliable e-Procurement software that includes all the key features you need, including punchouts and item catalogs. We also have an implementation rate that’s near 100%. When you purchase our software, we’re going to set it up and make sure it’s running perfectly for your company before we consider the implementation complete. Contact us today to get started with a purchasing system that will change your company for the better.