Background of eProcurement
The world of purchasing changed significantly with the introduction of eprocurement systems. Massive returns on investment were promised and the whole purchasing world was about to be revolutionised – all for a few million investment.
It was envisioned this would be done by rationalising the supply base to an absolute minimum and then ensuring no off-contract buying was done by enforcing purchases through the system. There were also additional savings to be had in the reduction of administration – from purchase orders through to invoice payments.
A small problem
Without a critical mass of suppliers there would be no real return on any investment. The problem was that there were so many different proprietary systems (including Oracle’s iProcurement, Ariba, Commerce One, SAP and a multitude of others) that the cost of supporting multiple catalog formats was prohibitive for suppliers. Even worse was when attempts were made to add services or configurable products to the catalog.
Then along came Punch Out or Round Trip depending on which you prefer, however the principle is the same. This allows end users (buyers) to browse a supplier’s website and to import back into their eprocurement system the details of their purchases, therefore allowing all the same business rules and processes to be applied. This solved problems for configurable products, volatile pricing and some other key supply chain issues.
Simply put then, PunchOut is one of several names given to the technical “protocols” or “routines” that allow suppliers to directly connect their product catalogs to their customers (buyers) eprocurement systems.
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