PunchOut Catalog and CIF catalog are the two different ways by which a supplier communicates with buyers about his products and services. Although CIF catalog is easier to implement, it comes with a lot of limitations, hence can be a cause of great headache in the long run for both the supplier and the buyer. For instance, CIF catalog can considerably reduce the efficiency in your purchasing process. So bluntly speaking, usage of CIF catalog has become obsolete.
Following are the factors that help us to differentiate PunchOut catalog from a CIF catalog:
CIF catalogs are static, as a result data exchange between supplier and buyer’s eprocurement system does not happen in real time. So when any new product is included or there are changes in product pricing or description in CIF catalog, it is not immediately available to the buyer. Firstly, the new product information has to be entered manually in a spreadsheet. You have to then convert the spreadsheet into a CIF file format, which is then loaded into the procurement system. Also, dealing with end of life products that need to be removed from the catalog is a nightmare as it requires a lot of manual work.
Ariba PunchOut catalogs are dynamic, hence they support real time price and availability. No wonder, adding or deleting products in PunchOut catalog is a breeze. Since exchange of information is dynamic, constant changes being made to product information are available to the buyer in real time. In short, it enables you to offer live data to your customers. Moreover, PunchOut catalog completely eliminates the need for any manual intervention.
Products that require configuration are not stored in CIF catalog. Inability to provide configurable products is one of the biggest disadvantages of using CIF catalog. It is mainly used when suppliers have non-configurable products i.e. basic products and services to offer.
OCI PunchOut catalog can easily handle highly configurable content. If you are into the business of selling IT products such as computers, laptops, CPU and servers, you need to provide configuration options. With a PunchOut, you can provide options to configure products.
CIF catalog is not suitable for frequent updates. In fact, companies that provide services related to creation of CIF catalog specifically mention that catalog can be updated at the most 4 times in a year. Even making a small change in CIF catalog content such as modifying the description of product, will require replacing the catalog completely, which is an arduous task. So if you are offering products whose pricing, available, product descriptions and other attributes do not change over a significant period of time, then use of CIF catalog is recommended.
Suppliers who change the catalog content very often are advised to use a JD Edwards PunchOut catalog. Updates with PunchOut catalog are quick, convenient and hassle free. So if you wish to update the catalog several times in a year, go for a PunchOut catalog.
CIF catalog can be difficult to manage, if it has more than 1000 products. Also, a CIF catalog restricts the space for describing the products. It is not possible to describe the products in a visually appealing manner. Suppliers who are offering large number of products should not use the PunchOut catalog. When the catalog size is relatively small, you can opt for CIF styled catalog.
When it comes to handling large number of products, you can rely on Oracle iprocurement PunchOut catalog. It is useful when you are offering huge volume of data with extensive documentation (reviews and user guide) for various products. You can also use images more effectively to display the products.
On the whole, in today’s fast paced environment that is highly dynamic, it doesn’t make sense to use a static CIF catalog that burdens you with extra manual work. Whereas, PunchOut catalog offers a better way to communicate as it supports real time exchange of information. Hence using this dynamic product is always a better option in terms of ease of business and attracting more customers.
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