Just like the physical catalogs we used to pore over during the holidays, digital catalogs, such as those in the SAP Ariba Catalog Management solution, present the products and services offered by an organization for sale or for purchase.
Catalog management is the process of enabling and managing those catalogs. But it goes beyond just being able to leaf through the products and their descriptions. Procurement catalogs also allow a company to set rules, save time, reduce order-to-invoice cycles and track spend. They also offer broader access to new customers. And that’s just a few of the benefits.
Procurement software interfaces are evolving quickly. In the past, many transactions required coding and other specialized training.
The SAP Business Network, (formerly known as the Ariba Network) offers a user interface that is very easy to use. It’s more like the online consumer shopping experience that we are all familiar with. Because of that, there are fewer excuses to not use the system. That encourages and enhances user and supplier adoption.
Catalogs enabled across the Ariba Network can also enforce purchasing policies. That means employees can order only the items and services they have the proper authority to purchase. It’s also easier to leverage strategic supplier relationships and negotiate prices and content.
PunchOut catalogs are integrated with a supplier’s e-commerce site and are maintained by the supplier. Buyers can access these catalogs through their SAP Business Network (formerly the Ariba Network). Buyers are redirected to the supplier’s site and to the pertinent catalog when they need to purchase a product.
While there, the buyer can browse products, add items to their cart, and then return to the Network to complete the purchase. These catalogs are useful when buyers need to purchase frequently purchased standard products and services such as office, MRO, or janitorial supplies. In other words, high-volume, low dollar purchases.
A static catalog is a text file that is sent across the Ariba Network to be published in Buying & Invoicing and Guided Buying.
These catalogs are easily searchable catalogs that contain a limited number of products or services selected by the category manager to make them easily available to users for purchase.
Static catalogs are especially useful when organizations need a large number of employees to purchase frequently used but specific products, such as standard company uniforms. They’re also useful for high-dollar items, like laptops, that also require an IT support staff. Having one or two items that you need to have the technical knowledge to support is much easier than having to service many different types.
Internal catalogs are catalogs where the data is obtained from suppliers, but is managed internally, usually by the category manager. In other words, they do not link to the supplier site.
However, that gives the procurement team a high level of control over user purchases, such as product availability and pricing based upon the consultant level of the employee.
This type of catalog is often used to limit the choice of items that a user can purchase. For example, one of two desk phones. These limited purchasing options would be available in Guided Buying on a company-wide basis.
What’s important to keep in mind about internal catalogs is that your procurement team is responsible for building them and updating them. That means a close eye needs to be kept on them for changes in the product offerings, prices or for other updates. An inaccurate catalog can lead to frustration with the user, which can affect full adoption.
Catalog enablement is not a complete process without considering the impact to supplier enablement.
Proper catalog administration is crucial to reaping the many benefits of the SAP Ariba Catalog Management solution. However, catalog management and supplier enablement are closely tied together because the catalog is a critical component of the supplier relationship. By maintaining an up-to-date catalog, companies can provide their suppliers with accurate information about their product and service offerings, which helps suppliers better understand the company’s needs and requirements.
In turn, supplier enablement ensures that suppliers use the catalog effectively and can easily access the information they need to fulfill orders and provide high-quality products and services.
By enabling suppliers to use the catalog effectively, companies can streamline their supply chain operations, reduce costs, and improve the overall efficiency of their procurement processes.
If you’re struggling with catalog and/or supplier enablement and organization, we can help.
Our supplier and catalog enablement experts support clients in updating existing catalogs; enabling static and internal catalogs; level 1 and level 2 punchout catalogs; and training internal teams on catalog usage and best practices.