Changing the e-Procurement Landscape; Long-Standing Purchasing Issues Find Resolution with New e-Commerce Innovations

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World’s first multipurpose PunchOut technology solves traditional purchasing problems such as supplier enablement, contract compliance, and more for organizations who utilize e-procurement systems.

This major innovation aids e-procurement managers by eliminating manual audits of supplier catalogs and streamlining the onboarding process.

... the real breakthrough is in the supplier onboarding capabilities and built-in contract compliance.

A significant breakthrough in e-commerce technology promises to deliver all of the buyer benefits of supplier PunchOut catalogs while eliminating the common hassles and potential risks.

A common problem for purchasing organizations that use e-procurement systems (such as Ariba, SciQuest, PeopleSoft, etc.) is getting suppliers ‘onboarded’ or ‘enabled’.

Those terms refer to getting suppliers connected to the e-procurement system and their products, or catalog data, uploaded into the system. Another issue has been the process through which users of such systems locate and purchase the products uploaded by suppliers.

Supplier product/catalog data appear in a typical e-procurement system in one of two ways; as a line item (or ‘hosted’) catalog, or as a PunchOut catalog.

Hosted catalogs are stored on the buyer’s side, appearing as line item listings on a page. Because of space constraints, these listings contain only basic, limited information.

By comparison, PunchOut catalogs are hosted on the supplier’s side, presenting products in more of a user-friendly online catalog way. Each product listing can include all relevant photographs and full product details, having more space to display such information.

That, in addition to user-friendly ‘Amazon like’ shopping carts, is why most buyers prefer shopping and buying through PunchOut catalogs.

However, some purchasing organizations frown on PunchOut catalogs. There are typically two reasons for that. First, some PunchOut catalogs can be unstable and difficult to align with preferred practices.

The second reason (and for most purchasing managers the most serious) is that, because PunchOut catalogs are hosted outside the purchasing system, buyers do not often know if/when a supplier changes catalog items or prices.

This creates a substantial risk, because those changes can lead to overspend and out-of-contract buying. In fact, over recent years there have been a number of reports of suppliers overcharging government organizations millions of dollars as a result of this lack of visibility.

Now, an e-commerce technology company based outside of Atlanta, called CoreXpand, says it has solved all of those problems, including the supplier onboarding challenge.

“We’ve made it simple, convenient, and affordable to empower suppliers while protecting the purchasing organization”, said Lindsey Tanner, founder and CEO of CoreXpand. Adding, “We’ve really optimized the buyer/seller relationship within an e-procurement environment”.

The solution making that possible is an e-commerce innovation known as PunchOutCX, said Tanner, referring to it as “the world’s first multipurpose PunchOut system.”

At the heart of this technology is an enterprise platform that has proven reliable for thousands of businesses from mom-and-pop startups to Fortune 500 companies and large government organizations.

Beyond reliable performance and stability, the real breakthrough is in the supplier onboarding capabilities and built-in contract compliance.

For supplier onboarding, PunchOutCX uses a patented PunchOut WizardTM. This online tool allows suppliers to upload catalog data and create a PunchOut catalog in just 8 steps.

According to Tanner, “The beauty of our wizard is that it allows the purchasing organization to define the parameters ahead of time regarding how they want the PunchOut catalogs to look, and more importantly, function.”

He further explained, “Every purchasing organization has different ways of doing business. Whether it’s the way they organize product categories, or how they want to route purchase approvals and orders.

Once those parameters are established in the wizard up front, they’re done. They never have to spend another minute getting supplier PunchOut catalogs up and running.

So when the supplier builds their PunchOut site using the purchaser defined wizard, the result is the perfect PunchOut catalog that functions in accordance with the preferences and business needs of the purchasing organization.”

For contract compliance, PunchOutCX incorporates an industry first “buyer control” component. Purchasing managers now have the ability to see and approve catalog changes before they can be made live in the supplier's catalog, using a behind the scenes administrative control panel.

Flexible levels of control allow managers to forego the approval of potentially mundane catalog content such as photographs or product descriptions, but these approval controls can be modified by authorized personnel at any time.

This new combination of stability, convenient onboarding, and built-in protections is already attracting the attention of some large purchasing organizations. One large state government recently awarded part of a multi-million dollar contract to a small supplier (the nature of the contract requires anonymity).

A noteworthy element to this story is that this small supplier won the contract over some large “big box” competitors. Both the supplier and the customer acknowledged that the award was due primarily to this new technology with its contract compliance component.

With trouble-free supplier onboarding, PunchOut catalogs customized to fit precise business needs, and guaranteed contract compliance, it is highly likely that more purchasing organizations will adopt this technology in the near future.

For additional information on this new technology, contact Lake Furney (see below) or check it out online. If you prefer, you can get a clearer sense of what this technology can do for you by requesting a demonstration of its functionality.

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Lake Furney, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
CoreXpand, LLC
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