Minding the Internal Store – Catalog Practice

If you have been around procurement long enough, you know the catalog’s role for buying from external suppliers. I have discussed in past blogs how the catalog is used in most companies for employees to buy from contracted and approved suppliers. 

Guiding Users to the Right Processes for Services Using the Catalog

Not all services are alike – making service processes in tactical purchasing a challenge for procurement. Services require flexibility to deal with the unknowns, but control to manage spend for what accounts for more than half the spend in most companies.   Moreover, the processes change based on a company’s need to balance speed and control for each service category.  Multiple processes become daunting for end users who need to understand the right policy to procure the service they need. 

In previous blogs in our Complete Guide to Catalog Management series we discussed how catalogs can be used to guide users (ie: Guided Buying).  Accordingly, we will make the case that the catalog will not only be used to guide users to the right process and policy for services procurement, but will also guide users to input a well-defined service specification. 

Public vs. Private Marketplace

How does a marketplace benefit my company?  A marketplace doesn’t just serve to drive compliance to existing supplier relationships. It is also an opportunity to benchmark those relationships and potentially discover new suppliers who will strengthen the value chain or increase spend under management.  Best in class procurement companies will want both a private and a public marketplace to drive compliance and discovery. 

What is Level 2 punch out and how is it used?

Do you want to give your employees a familiar and intuitive online shopping experience, but don’t want to manage catalogs?  In my last blog I talked about internal versus external content and a best practice for external catalogs – or punch out catalogs.  To recap, an external catalog can be deployed where prices change frequently or when you don’t want to manage internal catalog content.  Suppliers will manage catalogs on the company’s behalf and employees will punch out to the catalog to return products and services to the procurement system.  However, for companies with multiple catalogs, how do employees know which catalog to search?

What's the difference between internal and external catalogs?

Catalogs will drive compliance to your company’s contracted and approved suppliers, but what type of catalog is best, internal or external catalogs? Although the question seems basic on the outset, the decision has many implications and the answer is not the same for everyone. Your company may in fact adopt a hybrid approach, a mix of internal and external catalogs. So, how does one decide the best catalog strategy?

Beyond Compliance, How to Use Catalogs to Manage Spend?

In our last blog, we discussed how there is more to compliance than contracts. However, contract compliance is a top Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for best-in-class Procurement organizations and a source for significant savings on mission critical products and services. Companies work for months to put the right contract in place to ensure the right price with the right supplier. The strategic sourcing effort takes great strides, typically through contract negotiations, to make sure that buying leverage (a source of comparative advantage and cost savings) is reflected in contract terms.

Complete Guide to Catalog Management: 3 Key Ingredients for a Great Catalog Solution

In recent years, the need for companies to provide a more customized user experience and the need for a more flexible way to run processes has led to some excellent advancements in catalogs. Tools today allow you to get product content, supplier information and schemas in a more efficient way than ever before. Once set up, a great catalog management solution can often flow through a workflow as an exception process – if they are set up correctly.

Here are three things you should keep in mind when looking to equip your Procurement organization with a catalog management solution:

Complete Guide to Catalog Management: How to Drive Contract Compliance Through Catalog Usage

Contracts are often depicted as the linchpin between Strategic Sourcing, the processes that generate value and competitive advantage for companies, and Operational Procurement, the execution phase where value is realized. Contract compliance is a top key performance indicator (KPI) for best-in-class procurement organizations because the greater the compliance, the higher the cost savings. Compliance is a best-in-class objective, but is contract compliance too narrowly focused?