PunchOut Catalog for procurement: How it works


Should a hardware and robotics startup make use of a supplier's PunchOut catalog? The short answer is yes. 

Performing the daily tasks of a busy engineering director is no easy feat. Your company is growing at an alarming rate, and you're scrambling to oversee the purchasing processes of the crucial, innovative equipment you need to build groundbreaking machinery like drones, supercomputers, and even satellites. 

As a result, your B2B commerce activity needs to run as smoothly as possible, with purchasing being a top priority. 

Let's look at everything there is to know about a PunchOut catalog and understand how hardware procurement doesn't have to cause stress and consume too much of your time. Today, we'll answer the following questions:

  • What is a procurement system?
  • What is a PunchOut catalog, and how does it relate to a procurement system?
  • What does "punch out" mean?
  • How does a PunchOut catalog work?
  • Benefits of using a PunchOut catalog
  • Key takeaways

What is a Procurement System?

Understanding procurement is the first step toward learning what a PunchOut catalog provides. 

A procurement system, or purchasing system, is the means by which companies automate inventory management and the purchasing of goods. Most modern suppliers are abandoning manual processes since they are unable to handle complex procurement activities. Implementing the right e-procurement system can prevent errors and delays and help the supplier introduce a smooth purchasing experience. 

What is a Punchout Catalog, and how does it Relate to a Procurement System?

It can be easier to understand the term "punchout catalog" if you think of it electronically, which it is, as a punchout website. 

From an engineering director's perspective, your corporate head of purchasing will be able to make a purchase order directly within the supplier's e-procurement system. A punchout website has the appearance of a typical e-commerce store and uses cXML (streamlined electronic business protocol) or another type of punchout to send a pending order directly to the buyer. 

The PunchOut catalog and procurement system are interconnected. Essentially, the PunchOut integration places your eCommerce store inside the procurement system. It allows customers to shop your online store without leaving their chosen software platforms, like an ERP system

What Does "Punch out" Mean?

"Punch out" is a term for electronic communication that happens during the shopping experience and simplifies purchasing goods as much as possible. A company's procurement system communicates to the suppliers and provides the buyer with a seamless purchasing process. 

How Does a PunchOut Catalog Work?

The punchout catalog makes it so that a vendor isn't notified every time a buyer makes a purchase. That's what the seller's procurement system is for. It processes the items in the online shopping cart and allows customers to browse and switch between different catalogs. But for the eCommerce site to work properly, it needs to have punchout integration with the buyer's e-procurement system. 

The punchout process is an integral part of the entire purchasing process. To help understand thoroughly, let's look at the steps involved. 

Step 1: PunchOut Setup Request

Using an engineering director's perspective, the PunchOut Setup Request (PSR) is when the employee in charge of purchase orders wishes to order hardware-centric goods from a supplier's website. This desire begins the punch-out connection, which transfers data to a supplier's catalog. But first, the purchaser would have to log in to their e-procurement system and select the vendor. 

Step 2: Browsing For Items

Now that the head of purchasing has set up a punch-out connection, they can shop on the supplier's e-commerce platform and start putting items in their shopping cart. 

Step 3: Transferring Content

After the head of purchasing selects all of their items, they can transfer their selections to their own e-procurement system while the PunchOut system keeps running. 

The PunchOut software is also now responsible for transforming the shopping cart data into XML format and guaranteeing customer specifications. 

This is essentially the only difference between traditional eCommerce shopping and a PunchOut system. Rather than checking out and submitting payment and shipping information, the customer is able to transfer data to their own e-procurement system with the click of a button. 

Step 4: Purchase Order and Shipment Details

The buyer must now submit a purchase order to the supplier, with the latter then beginning the fulfillment process. The PunchOut software approves the purchase after processing the user's cart. Lastly, the PunchOut catalog emails the customer an advanced shipping notice. 

Benefits of Using a PunchOut Catalog


Smooth business operations and PunchOut catalogs go hand-in-hand. Manually generating purchase orders can exhaust staff resources and ultimately bring failure to the company in the form of neglecting quotes and customer demand. In other words, the alternative to PunchOut catalogs takes too much time and is difficult to maintain. 

Online automation by purchase order approval software also makes the buyer's life easier: faster order processing increases productivity, and optimization ensures you aren't wasting staff resources.

E-Commerce Similarities

Everyone enjoys the ease that comes with online shopping, and with PunchOut integration, B2B relationships can reflect the personal e-commerce experience. 

Using an intuitive interface, buyers can enjoy the same point-and-click style experience as individual shoppers. Not only that, but users can search for items using their own familiar application. The PunchOut catalog system may even be a step up from singular e-commerce since it eliminates the need to bounce between websites. Think of it as an online store with everything at your fingertips, like Amazon Prime. 

Time Saver

Both the supplier and buyer can save time utilizing PunchOut software. Your company's purchasing team will enjoy quicker turnaround times between the order approval and the issued purchase process. Additionally, less information is required on the buyer's part to complete orders. Knowing that everything is accounted for and that you're bound to receive your orders faster than before frees time up for other staff initiatives. 

As a bonus, the PunchOut catalog also automatically syncs the buyer's e-procurement platform and the supplier's website, which frees up even more time to focus on generating value for the company in other areas. 

Simplified Purchasing

Buyers can purchase items quickly when they use a PunchOut catalog, and a streamlined purchasing process is critical for an engineering company that's growing by the second. Massive pieces of machinery are breaking all the time, so any technology that coordinates between suppliers and buyers is imperative. 

Cost Effective

With a PunchOut catalog, you can reduce transaction costs and say goodbye to countless pending transactions that are difficult to monitor. Integrating a PunchOut catalog provides the buyer with enhanced visibility of all expenditures, which reduces cost by ensuring items aren't accidentally purchased more than once. 

Real-Time Availability 

The vendor manages their PunchOut catalog, which gives the buyer accuracy as to what items are available in real time. Buyers also don't have to import data manually and can enjoy all of the latest pricing and item updates. They'll also have access to item promotions, discounts, and new inventory, and all changes are automatically reflected in the buyer's e-procurement system. 

Real-time updates also ensure order precision and prevent redundancies throughout the ordering process. 

Fraud Protection

A lack of electronic procurement software can lead to illegitimate product purchases and dishonest activity from employees. PunchOut catalogs prevent this type of damage, as the process includes an approval process. 


In the world of hardware and robotics startups, procurement is a crucial process that can become quite complex and time-consuming. To simplify the process and increase efficiency, companies can make use of a PunchOut catalog.

In this blog post, we explored everything that a PunchOut catalog entails and how it can benefit procurement-heavy companies. We begin by defining what a procurement system is and how it automates inventory management and the purchasing of goods.

We then delved into the PunchOut catalog and explain how it works. Essentially, a PunchOut catalog is an electronic business protocol that allows corporate heads of purchasing to make a purchase order directly within a supplier's e-procurement system.

This integration places the supplier's eCommerce store inside the procurement system, allowing customers to shop the online store without leaving their chosen software platforms. PunchOut catalogs help simplify the purchasing process and allow vendors to manage their catalog and pricing in real-time.

Next, we outlined the key benefits of using a PunchOut catalog. These benefits include increased productivity, simplified purchasing, cost savings, and fraud protection. By automating the procurement process, businesses can save time and resources, reduce transaction costs, and prevent fraudulent purchases.

Additionally, a PunchOut catalog provides an intuitive interface that allows buyers to search for items and enjoy the same point-and-click experience as individual shoppers.

In conclusion, for hardware-centric startups, making use of a PunchOut catalog can provide significant benefits for their procurement process. The system streamlines the process, increases productivity, and allows for real-time updates and fraud protection. Ultimately, PunchOut catalogs provide a user-friendly interface and enhance the overall experience for buyers, making it a worthwhile investment for businesses.

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