A Punchout Catalog, also referred to as level 1 PunchOut catalog is a popular way of connecting buyer’s eprocurement system to the supplier catalog. However in order to simply the buying process further, suppliers should provide level 2 PunchOut catalog functionality.
The fundamental difference between level 1 and level 2 Ariba PunchOut catalog lies in their search capability. Consider this: A B2B buyer is connected to multiple suppliers and each supplier is providing his own PunchOut catalog to the buyer. So one can say that the buyer is connected to multiple PunchOuts. In such circumstances, if the buyer wants to search a specific product, he has to open every PunchOut link and then do a ‘Product Search’ in the respective PunchOut catalog. After comparing prices of the product from each PunchOut catalog, he may then decide to select the product from a PunchOut catalog that meets his budget. This can be time consuming.
A better option is to use level 2 PunchOut catalog functionality that allows the buyer to directly search the product from within the eprocurement system itself. This eliminates the need for opening the PunchOut catalog to search the product. This functionality is useful when the buyer is connected to multiple PunchOut catalogs.
With level 2 PunchOut catalog, the buyer makes use of ‘search function’ of the eprocurement system in order to search the product in different PunchOut catalogs. The search results page of the eprocurement system shows the product that you can access directly from that supplier catalog.
Although the ‘Product Search’ in level 1 SAP PunchOut catalog is done within the procurement system, the buyer has to access the supplier catalog by clicking the PunchOut link. This does not happen with level 2 PunchOut catalog wherein the buyer does not have to click PunchOut link to view the supplier catalog.
With level 2 PunchOut, the buyer can do a ‘product level’ search as well as a ‘category level’ search using the ‘search’ functionality of the eprocurement system. So whether you are searching for a specific product like ‘Iball Freego Blue Eye Wireless Optical Mouse’ or a category-wise search like ‘Computer Displays’, it can be easily done using the the eprocurement system. This is something that can never happen with level 1 PunchOut.
So while level 1 PeopleSoft PunchOut catalog enables buyer to search within the PunchOut catalog, level 2 PunchOut allows the buyer to search within the eprocurement system without accessing the PunchOut link.
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