Benefits of Punchout Procurement


We’ve been talking a lot about how businesses can improve their procurement process using automated procurement software and other tools. Briefly, the more automation your company uses, the more efficient your process becomes and the less prone to errors. However, there’s a lot more to a quality e-procurement system than just spitting out purchase orders on demand. Rather, a complete procurement solution should make the entire procure-to-pay process easy.

While we can never eliminate all manual processes, we certainly can minimize them. One of the best ways of doing this is by making sure our procurement software has an integration with other business tools. In some cases, such as with a punchout catalog, this includes other companies ordering systems.

With that said, what are the benefits of punchout procurement? Let’s take a look.

Minimize errors

One of the biggest benefits of using a punchout catalog is the reduction in errors. With an older procurement process, a buyer’s staff often must flip through old paper catalogs, make selections, and copy those choices onto an order form or proposed purchase order. As each of these items is copied onto paper, there’s a chance for clerical errors that can derail the sale or result in a product return.

Often, however, your buyer receiving the wrong item can result in supply chain problems. For instance, if the order was time sensitive, then they might have production delays or other problems as correct products are later ordered and delivered. By minimizing errors, you can make buying and selling experience run more smoothly for both parties.

Save money

Clearly, troubles with accuracy can also cost money. Processing returns is a costly problem for almost any company that sells physical goods, whether B2B or B2C. However, there’s another way that a punchout catalog can save money — less demand on the sales department.

Try to think about it this way — when customers can’t find what they need, they may call the sales department. While most clients will need sales occasionally, integration between your products catalog and their E-procurement system will help minimize these calls. That’s because their software can automatically search your catalog for the products they need.

Increase revenue

For many potential buyers, convenience is important. So is the ability to find things that go with the primary purchase quickly. In the context of punchouts, it’s easy to suggest an item that your customer may want based on their purchasing history.

For a simple example, let’s suppose that the customer needs to buy a drone that’s equipped with professional-grade cameras. In order to operate a drone effectively, your customer will need efficient ways to recharge the device. With a punchout catalog, you can easily suggest an extra power supply or similar products that complement the purchase.

Gain access to more customers

The punchout procurement process is increasingly popular with corporate buyers. Part of this is the increased usage of automated e-procurement systems. However, increased efficiency is a major draw for buyers and sellers alike. So much so that many customers insist on punchout access as a condition for their business. Likewise, suppliers market the availability of a punchout catalog as a selling point.

Importantly, most medium and large -sized businesses will only work with companies that use these automated ordering systems. That’s because e-procurement software works better with these tools. Any time that staff needs to enter something manually, there is a chance of error. And if you don’t have punchout access for your customers, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on some serious revenue.


Being able to “punch out” of your procurement software, choose your products in a manner that is similar to e-commerce, and put your selections through the purchase order process without leaving your main software is a major draw. In addition, these catalogs provide up-to-date information about what’s in stock and how much it costs. This helps prevent disappointment and supply chain disruptions for the buyer.

From a seller’s perspective, these are also very convenient. That’s because you don’t need to maintain old-fashioned paper catalogs or CSV files. Instead, a punchout catalog will adapt based on changes made to the overall product lineup in your e-commerce solution. This way, you won’t have buyers calling about product availability nearly as often.

Better productivity

Because most ordering tasks will be automated, buyers and sellers using the punchout system will often experience better employee productivity. There are many reasons for this. For example, if a buyer needs various office supplies, they must look for each item individually. However, the search can be shorter using a punchout. That’s because the employee can put each item into the search bar on your website and choose from the options you list without leaving the procurement software.

Similarly, when the employee has finished selecting items for purchase, the other half of the software integration begins. The seller’s side of the software sends information to the buyer’s side so that the purchase order and fulfillment process can begin.

Superior record-keeping

Especially when you buy or sell a lot of products, it can be difficult to keep good records. While accounting software has helped boost accuracy, this software is only as good as the information you put into it. That means that if you forget to post something, it might take a while to find it.

On the other hand, when there’s an integration between one company’s buying system and another company’s order fulfillment system, the paper trail gets generated automatically. Then, the information is easily exported into accounting software the same way as with other data sets.

Increased accountability

Better record-keeping leads to another benefit of punchout catalogs — increased accountability. One reason is that each transaction is logged under each computer users account. Single sign-on is an important part of most integration efforts, and for that reason, the buyer’s computer systems will always reflect who requested the order. For the seller, that same information can help them know whom to ask if there is trouble with the order.


Automation aside, punchouts are handy because the vendor can personalize their catalog for each customer. This can be especially handy when a supplier company has many different product lines. Let’s take an electronics store as an example. Most of these stores will carry many products, like televisions and home speaker systems, that most B2B customers wouldn’t need. So, the catalog might display only computer hardware and mass storage devices.

Similarly, companies can add individual pricing to their punchouts. So, if you have one company that gets a 5% discount off of retail and another that only gets 2.5%, the two companies won’t see the same prices. Instead, they’ll see the negotiated rates. This helps eliminate confusion and improve communication between parties.

Supply chain stability

Finally, punchouts can help manage supply chains, both for suppliers and buyers. For suppliers, it’s easier to see what customers are buying and plan, allowing for better advance planning. Buyers, on the other hand, can benefit because it’s easier to see who has a necessary item in stock. 

While ideally, a customer’s e-procurement system will automatically order supplies at optimal intervals, sometimes the system breaks down, and customers must find last-minute supplies. In this case, access to a punchout would help the procurement employee find alternative supplies more quickly.

Punchouts are easy to use with ControlHub

Whether your business is big or small, ControlHub can help. It’s designed to integrate with many other programs and computer systems, which means that punchouts can be easily initiated and serviced. Then, as your employees place orders, ControlHub will automatically complete the rest of the procurement process. It will even send notices to accounts payable that orders have been made.

What are you waiting for? Contact us today for a demonstration of how ControlHub and its punchout integrations can help secure your supply chains and save money.

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