Solution comparison of pros and cons: OCI punchout or content catalog

OCI or content catalog - what are the advantages, what can be the disadvantages? The decision as to whether eProcurement obtains the available offers from content catalogs or by means of OCI punchout is a strategic one that also involves the distribution of power in the customer-supplier relationship. The comparison below provides an overview of all the advantages and disadvantages of OCI punchout and content catalog.

What is an OCI punchout?

OCI stands for Open Catalog Interface and refers to a standard created for the exchange of catalog data in order to integrate orders from external web catalogs into the company's own purchasing process. In this process, the user leaves the eProcurement platform and jumps to the relevant Web store (this is known as the punchout). Here, he compiles his shopping cart, which is then transferred to the eProcurement system. Further processing of the order takes place as usual. The disadvantage of such a solution for the user: For a search across several webshops, these stores have to be searched individually, because a so-called background search is only possible from the OCI standard required for this (i.e., each webshop to be searched must meet this standard). Only with this background search does the user remain in his own system, which makes the work correspondingly easier.

How does a content catalog work?

A content catalog, on the other hand, is a file that is provided by the supplier and can be conveniently searched directly in eProcurement. In this file, the information on the individual items is kept ready and standardized so that it can be processed further in eProcurement. This data is either physically transferred directly from the supplier's ERP system to the platform or exported in a specific electronically structured format. The transfer of this catalog data is then easily possible using the DIG.catman tool; in addition to the catalog data exchange format BMEcat, DIG can also process an Excel-like file. In the onboarding process, the catalog platform experts from DIG Supplier Management initially support the setup of the catalog on the platform (regardless of type) as well as the type and scope of data exchange (transmission of orders, etc.).

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

As already mentioned, searching offers across any number of content catalogs is possible without any problems, whereas this can only be implemented via OCI if certain technical requirements are met. The biggest difference, however, is in the pricing and assortment sovereignty: Without the release of new prices and articles by the customer, the supplier cannot change his catalog data in the content catalog. Also, these catalog prices can be negotiated individually (with OCI, this is made possible with a customer-specific access).

Another aspect of the catalog is the restriction of the offer, especially for sensitive product groups (e.g. only certain protective masks are allowed, etc.). However, even with OCI punchout, individual items can be individually hidden. Nevertheless, a catalog in this example offers the customer full decision-making authority.

Dynamic pricing in catalogs

For some product groups, daily updated prices are important. To have these available in the e-procurement system, there are two options: In the case of an OCI connection, these prices are updated daily by the supplier and thus retrieved from his web store (with all the disadvantages mentioned above). On the other hand, daily updated surcharges or discounts (e.g. depending on raw material prices) can also be dynamically included in the prices in the content catalog. In a DIG project, this was implemented for a customer where weekly fluctuating metal prices affected the cost of pipes, etc. Instead of manual adjustment, DIG's solution now automatically reconciles the catalog data with an external server.