OCI Punchout: Automating the Procure to Pay Process

The procurement process is integral to any engineering B2B enterprise. It is how you ask for raw materials and supplies from your supplier. As such, the process needs to be smooth and less time-consuming; you need to concentrate on the business of creating world-class technology.

B2B buyers and sellers exchange information during transactions. One of the pieces of information is the catalog data that details the available products and their prices.

The supplier must provide the catalog electronically if the buyer uses an eCommerce platform.

In this article, we will discuss OCI and content catalog and how they help smoothen the procurement process. We shall cover:

  1. What is OCI?
  2. What is a Content Catalog?
  3. Differences between OCI and Content Catalog
  4. How to Automate your Procure-to-pay cycle with OCI Punchout

Let's get started!

What is OCI, and How does it Work?

Open Catalog Interface(OCI) is a standard that facilitates the exchange of catalog data to integrate orders from external web catalogs into the business's purchasing process.

When a buyer creates a purchase order on their B2B eProcurement platform, they'll leave it and peruse the relevant web store. This process of leaving is called punch out. They'll then go over the items and fill a shopping cart that is then transferred to the eProcurement system, where the ordering process continues.

OCI punchout has some disadvantages. For starters, if the buyer wants something from various webshops, they must search one shop at a time. This can take a long time and make the process slow. The only way to surpass this is using a background search that needs a specific OCI standard that must be met by all the webshops the user wants to search.

The background search also allows users to remain in their systems, making the process easier.

What is Content Catalog, and How Does it Work?

A content catalog is a file containing information about items in the supplier's inventory. The supplier provides the file, and the user can search directly in eProcurement.

Information on each item is made ready and standardized in a way that helps to process in B2B eProcurement platforms.

There are two ways to transfer a content catalog from the supplier's ERP system to the user's B2B eCommerce platform; physically or in a specific electronically structured format.

When you use a DIG.catman tool, you can process BMEcat format and Excel-like files.

Differences Between Content Catalog and OCI Catalog

Content catalog and OCI punchout are similar in that they help search for items when making a purchase order. However, the two differ in pricing and assortment sovereignty.

Here is how the two are different.


Content Catalog

OCI Punchout

Data sovereignty



Release process per price changes


Not possible

Actuality of the data

Per upload

Daily update

Possibility of configuration of articles

With effort only(must be reproduces by DIG)

Standard- supplier feature

Searchability and comparability in DIG. procure

Standard DIG.procure

No/or if supplier supported

Prefered and /or black list items

Standard DIG.procure

Not possible

procure to pay cycle flowchart
Did you know ?

How to Automate the Procure-to-pay Cycle using OCI Punchout or EDI

OCI Punchout is a great way to automate some parts of your procure-to-pay process. 

The procure-to-pay process helps businesses to inquire about, order, receive, and pay for supplies and services. The cycle will usually have the following stages:

  1. Request for quotation: A buyer asks for product information, specifications, price, and other information.
  2. Vendor Selection: The buyer evaluates the suppliers to get the best.
  3. Purchase Order: The buyer creates a request to buy and entails the specifications, quantity, and place of delivery.
  4. Invoice receipt and reconciliation: The B2B buyer receives the items and confirms the invoice meets the purchase order demands and receipt of the goods(ASN).
  5. Accounts payable: After confirming the invoice is correct and the PO and ASN are reconciled, the buying business pays. If there are differences, they are noted, and the buyer pays for the goods received.

The procure-to-pay process is long and tedious when done manually. It will mean physically tracking inventory, creating RFPs, and manually entering data into the eProcurement system. These processes could prolong the purchasing process and hinder your manufacturing process.

So how does OCI punchout or EDI automate the process?

  1. The OCI Punchout tracks inventory and identifies items in need of replenishment.
  2. It creates an RFQ and sends it to the suppliers.
  3. The solution alerts you of received quotes so that the buyer can make an approval which is automatically sent to that supplier.
  4. The system sends the buyer a Functional Acknowledgement (997), confirming the supplier received the order and the contents are correct together with the expected delivery.
  5. The supplier's ERP system validates product availability, pricing, and requested shipping dates and automatically creates pick and pack sheets for the warehouse. During shipping, the system generates a "Motor Carrier Shipment Pickup Notification (216)", an "Advance Ship Notice (856)", and an "Invoice (810)", and sends them via EDI to the appropriate parties.


Manufacturing and designing engineers must concentrate on their work without worrying about the equally important procurement process. Using OCI Punchout catalog, your business will make the process more efficient, shorter, and eliminate errors.

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