Punch-Out vs Hosted Catalogs – What’s the Difference

by Josh Biggs in Business on 25th March 2019

Having a competitive advantage over other businesses in your field is one of the most sought-after things in the business world. In order to achieve that, companies are constantly modifying the way they operate, being always on the lookout on how to minimize costs and maximize efficiency.

One of the terms that became increasingly popular over the last few years is the concept of eProcurement. By introducing one such system, businesses are able to efficiently find the best value of money from suppliers, release invoices promptly and automize the purchasing process.

The terms that frequently come up when it comes to such systems are punch-out catalogs and hosted catalogs. If you were wondering what the differences are, here’s all you need to know.

Hosted catalog

Hosted catalogs are a good choice for managing no more than a few hundred products which are continuously available with little to no changes. They are quite static, yet not every business requires a great flexibility from the catalog, which is why the hosted solution is sometimes welcomed.

Hosted catalogs, in reality, are just catalogs – they provide no flexibility. One such catalog will not show new products, it will retain the old products and if they become obsolete, you might end up receiving orders even though the product is no longer available.

Hosed catalogs do not give customers information on the stock levels in the real-time, meaning that one such flaw can result in disappointment. Due to the prior, shipping dates can be inaccurate.

Hosted catalogs, however, can prove to be a good solution for businesses that manufacture products at request and have a fixed range of products. They offer a consistent user interface that some users prefer but on the other hand, it doesn’t allow customization and it is not enabled from special features as for example, custom business cards.

Punch-Out Catalogs

Punch-out catalogs operate on a different basis than hosted catalogs which makes them a good solution for suppliers who have a wide range of products. Such catalogs can provide real-time information on stock levels and delivery dates since they are directly connected to the supplier’s system.

Punch-out catalogs have grown to be efficient and sophisticated, also providing additional information such as delivery notes, purchase order numbers, invoices and shipment tracking.

These catalogs also have the ability to update themselves in accordance with the information changes on the supplier’s main system.

Punch-out catalogs do not require a lot of maintenance since they are automated to take the data out of the main system. However, this allows no manual catalog management.

There is a lot of special features you can integrate into your website, such as PO number tracking or special edition products. Still, one thing to remember is that the interface can be quite different from one website to the other which for some is a good thing but for others is a bad thing.

All items in the basket from different suppliers will be processed through the designated eProcurement system, making it easier to track spendings. When the order is approved, the eProcurement system will place the order automatically.

An automated system of this type is becoming a great need for businesses to stay on top of the requirements. Hosted catalogs can provide value if your products are strictly defined and recurring. However, for companies that have a wide range of products that can undergo changes or can have their special edition products created, a punch-out catalog would be a better solution. Its low maintenance and flexibility make it a great tool for meeting today’s rapidly changing demands.

Categories: Business