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Using e-Catalogs in the Procurement Process

Simplifying the Purchase-to-Pay process from order initiation to payment can result in improvement and efficiencies across the functional areas that touch the transaction, in addition to easing the burden on the internal customer who is the ultimate recipient of the goods or services.  Online e-Catalogs have proven to be an important tool for end-to-end improvement in Purchase-to-Pay, with many possible solutions available, including purchased software, the use of vendor catalogs, and internally developed solutions.

Recently a Procurement Analyst at a large global consumer products company wanted to find out how other large companies were using e-Catalogs as part of their overall Procurement strategy.  Within a few hours, using iPollingTM, he had answers from many of his peers around the world. 

Here is the background statement on the reason for the poll:  “We are trying to understand the pros and cons of using guided buying tools, including e-Catalogs, and their impact on Procurement and invoice processing. I am interested in what direction or role e-Catalogs play in your company’s strategic road map for Purchase-to-Pay. Also, any comments regarding what are some of the benefits to Procurement and Accounts Payable would be very helpful.”

The first of two iPollingTM questions asked about the status of using e-Catalogs in the Procurement process.  The results indicate significant penetration, with 48% of companies indicating that they are using e-Catalogs extensively and an additional 36% indicating that they have “implemented, with some use”.  The remaining 16% of the companies are not currently using e-Catalogs.

status of utilizing e-catalogs in the procurement process in the company ipolling peeriosity

The second iPollingTM question asked how companies were hosting and managing their e-Catalogs.   For 41% of the respondents, e-Catalogs are managed and hosted by a 3rd Party provider.  For 32%, managing and hosting is a combination of using a 3rd party and in-house, and for the remaining 27% of the companies who use e-Catalogs managing and hosting takes place entirely in-house.

ipolling results if e-catalogs are used, how does your company host and manage your catalogs

Here are a few of the comments added by iPollingTM participants:

  • Contracted item information (owned by corporate sourcing team) is automatically pushed to an on-line procurement catalog for use by approved requesters.
  • We (Sourcing, Procurement Ops, and IT) work with our 3rd party suppliers like Grainger, Office Depot, Zones, etc. to sync up their catalogs to our Procurement system.
  • All catalogs are hosted by the vendor
  • Currently, we have a limited number of catalogs up and running, from office supplies to laptops. We use catalogs for small-dollar goods.

If your company uses e-Catalogs, are you using a purchased software package or do you access vendor e-Catalogs directly?  Are you using e-Catalogs extensively, and how has their use created a positive impact on your Purchase-to-Pay process?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated e-mail system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participate in iPolling.

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