Procurement | Managing the Lab

The Challenge of Juggling Multiple PunchOut Catalogs

Back in the early 2000s, the hot new thing was to order office supplies right from your work computer. You’d pull up the preferred vendor’s catalog, search for a new stapler or mousepad, add them to your cart, return to the purchasing system, generate the requisition, issue the purchase order, get it approved, do the paperwork, place the order, hope the items were still in stock, wait for the supplies to arrive, and then pay. Simple, right? Okay, in hindsight, not really. But, at the time it was actually pretty revolutionary.

This describes many people’s first experience with a PunchOut catalog. But what if you were a purchaser with unique needs, like those in the biopharma, R&D or life sciences industries? What if you faced a time crunch, needed to compare products and prices across multiple vendors, or required a specialized item? Or, what if you needed to access independent lab supply reviews plus real-time product availability status? You would’ve been out of luck. To be honest, the world of PunchOuts hasn’t changed much today.

So, what is a PunchOut? A PunchOut catalog cuts out a few steps in the procurement process by auto-generating a requisition, the approval of which triggers the issuance of a purchase order.

We’ve all heard that more is more, right? Well, in the case of PunchOut catalogs, more is, unfortunately, less.

Once an end user must navigate multiple PunchOut sites from their procure-to-pay (P2P) platform, such as Ariba, Jaggaer, or Coupa, the process quickly loses its luster.

Five challenges of juggling multiple PunchOut catalogs

  1. Product and pricing comparison between vendors is difficult since you must “punch out” of one catalog and into another, navigating between sometimes hundreds of open tabs. No independent product reviews are available.
  2. Catalogs often have limited, unsophisticated search functionality, making lab supply research and purchasing more time-consuming. Takes multiple tries to find correlating product name or exact product number from catalog to catalog.
  3. Hosted catalogs are prone to glitches, pricing inconsistencies, and delays in updating information, often requiring large time commitment on behalf of procurement to maintain.
  4. Order isn’t placed with the supplier until the purchase order is approved. In that time, product may have gone out of stock or shipping times may have changed.
  5. Each order from a different PunchOut catalog triggers a new purchase order and invoice, requiring separate order tracking and paperwork. Complex experiments require purchases from multiple suppliers, multiplying the paperwork and further complicating order tracking.

The goal is to make your lab supply purchase process as Amazon-like as possible with an eCommerce marketplace, such as ZAGENO, where millions of products from thousands of suppliers are streamlined through a single portal, with all orders being consolidated into one single invoice.

Streamlined workflow with an eCommerce marketplace


In comparison to the PunchOut catalogs of yesteryear (and even today), a digital procurement strategy that incorporates an eCommerce marketplace lets the lab have their thoroughly sourced, well vetted, in-stock cake and eat it, too. ZAGENO is the last and only PunchOut catalog you’ll ever need.


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