What it is and how it helps you save

by Salim Khalife, Founder & CEO

We’ve written a few blogs about how to make the procurement process more efficient, less costly, and the workflows within the process more automated. One clearly simple way to achieve all of those things is to have your vendors do some of your work for you. That’s just what PunchOut capabilities do. Think of a PunchOut site, or PunchOut catalog, as a catalog maintained by your supplier, using your negotiated pricing that is accessed directly from within your company’s eProcurement software. PunchOut sites are a great alternative (or addition) to maintaining guided buying catalog information for large or rapidly changing catalogs, because it reduces buyers’ catalog maintenance tasks while continuing to keep purchases under visibility and control. Just what is PunchOut, and how can incorporating it into your procurement cycle boost efficiency and save you money?

What is PunchOut?

A PunchOut site is an e-commerce website that lets buyers like you make purchases from a supplier’s website through your own procurement application. The PunchOut website communicates directly with the buying organization’s procurement system through cXML (commerce eXtensible Markup Language). cXML was designed to standardize the communications between procurement applications and e-commerce suppliers. It was named for the “punching out” action taken by the buyer organization as they exit their company’s system and link to the suppliers’ web-based catalogs.

Do many suppliers offer PunchOut?

Forrester predicts that business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce transactions will reach $1.2 trillion by 2021. Frost & Sullivan has an even more aggressive outlook, with expectations that B2B e-commerce will hit $6.6 trillion by 2020. Suppliers aren’t blind to this trend and are increasing their market share by boosting their online presence, including adding PunchOut capabilities. And more and more large, global, and government-sector companies are demanding that their suppliers offer PunchOut catalogs because they recognize the tremendous time and labor savings involved.

PunchOut offers significant benefits to suppliers — they get paid more quickly, maintain better control over their inventory, and improve customer retention. For vendors not able or interested in developing their own PunchOut capabilities, companies such as Greenwing Technology, PunchOut2Go, and eStore-Connect enable all types and sizes of vendors to offer PunchOut.

How does PunchOut work for you?

Users typically find PunchOut catalogs simple and convenient to use — the experience is much like shopping the suppliers’ public e-commerce site, only pricing is customized to your organization. The process is straightforward:

  1. Select the PunchOut vendor from the requisition function in your eProcurement solution
  2. Shop on vendors’ website, viewing your company’s negotiated pricing
  3. View real-time inventory availability
  4. Place desired items in your shopping cart
  5. Requisitions auto-populate with shopping cart items for quick, error-proof entry
  6. Checkout with ease – all items selected are added to the requisition
  7. Requisition then follows normal workflow established in your eProcurement solution
  8. Once approved, your purchase orders are created and automatically sent to the vendor

What are the main benefits of using PunchOut?

PunchOut provides a number of benefits to buying organizations like yours, including:

  • Faster order processing
  • Lower overall procurement costs
  • Less work spent by your buyers maintaining internal catalogs
  • Provides familiar supplier interface to shoppers
  • Always reflects current, negotiated pricing
  • Keeps more purchases under your direct control

Want to learn more about incorporating PunchOut in your procurement department? View this on-demand webcast or schedule a meeting to discuss your options and specific questions.

About the author:

Salim Khalife is the founder, president and CEO of Paramount WorkPlace, a technology company that develops, sells, and supports advanced web-based and mobile requisition, procurement, and expense software solutions for mid-market organizations. The company introduced its first cloud-based SaaS requisition application in 1997 and continues to innovate and expand its partnerships and integrations ever since. Learn more at