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Q&A with PunchOut2Go CEO Brady Behrman on the importance of PunchOut integrations

B2B Integrations Expert and PunchOut2Go CEO Brady Behrman is interviewed by Digital Commerce 360 for the 2021 eCommerce Market forecast report.

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2021_B2B_Commerce_Report_Booklet.pngDigital Commerce 360's Key Findings from the 2021 U.S. B2B eCommerce Market Report is finally available and you can download here for free. Included in a report is a Q&A session with PunchOut2Go CEO Brady Behrman on the importance of PunchOut technology for B2B businesses moving forward into 2021 and beyond. You can check out Brady's insights into B2B integration and automation below.

From the Key Findings from the 2021 U.S. B2B eCommerce Market Report:

Why is PunchOut technology so important to B2B companies?  

PunchOut catalogs streamline B2B purchasing. They automatically communicate product and order information between supplier eCommerce stores and buyer eProcurement or ERP platforms.  When buyers purchase from suppliers who offer PunchOut catalog integration, software handles many of the time-consuming and error-prone manual tasks typically associated with creating and approving orders. 

Buyers simply select a pre-approved vendor from within their eProcurement system. They are redirected to the supplier’s eCommerce store, where they build an order. When they are ready to check out, the shopping cart data is sent back to the eProcurement platform and a requisition order is created.

In addition to accelerating procurement, PunchOut catalogs improve the procurement user experience, ensure that purchasing data is available to the buyer’s eProcurement and analytics software, centralize purchasing, and reduce rogue spending. In short, PunchOut catalogs reduce procurement workloads and cut the cost of B2B transactions. 

Has PunchOut technology become more important since the pandemic hit? Why?

PunchOut technology empowers B2B buyers to adapt to the rapidly changing environment created by the COVID–19 pandemic. In the face of severe supply chain disruption and fluctuating demand, B2B businesses—especially those in the healthcare and related manufacturing industries—were forced to quickly find new suppliers, reallocate resources, and modify purchasing. 

It is faster and easier to react with eCommerce-powered PunchOut catalogs than with traditional sales-lead procurement. Procurement professionals can source products, place orders, and complete the approval process within their preferred procurement system, focusing on work that matters rather than time-consuming manual processes. 

At PunchOut2Go, we saw a sharp increase in demand for PunchOut integration during the early months of the pandemic. Our team helped many clients in the healthcare industry rapidly integrate new suppliers into the eProcurement and ERP platforms they rely on to efficiently manage complex procurement processes. 

What are the biggest challenges manufacturers face when they don’t have PunchOut technology?

When manufacturers are unwilling or unable to offer PunchOut integration to buyers, they risk losing business to competitors who can. B2B buyers increasingly rely on eProcurement to manage and automate purchasing. Their platform’s value is fully realized only when suppliers’ are integrated—without integration, there can be no automation. Consequently, many B2B buyers have made PunchOut integration capabilities a non-negotiable factor in their vendor selection process. 

What are the latest trends around PunchOut technology manufacturers should have on their radars? 

In recent years, procurement professionals have become increasingly disaffected with traditional sales and procurement processes. They want the simplicity of eCommerce and the efficiency of eProcurement integration. McKinsey recently reported that 97 percent of B2B decision-makers want to make purchases via an end-to-end digital self-service model. That is exactly what PunchOut catalogs provide, and manufacturers should be aware that buyer behaviors are unlikely to revert to pre-pandemic norms. 

How can they overcome challenges and correct mistakes? Best practices? Technologies?

After eCommerce adoption, integration challenges are the main barrier to manufacturers offering PunchOut technology. Buyers use dozens of different eProcurement platforms, many of which have non-standard data feeds, communication protocols, and APIs. It would be expensive and technically challenging for a manufacturer to offer custom integration to buyers. But they don’t have to. PunchOut2Go provides universal PunchOut catalog integration support for any combination of eCommerce application and eProcurement system. 

How does PunchOut2Go help manufacturers with PunchOut technology and strategies?

PunchOut2Go’s Integration Platform as a Service empowers manufacturers to offer PunchOut Catalogs, purchase order automation, eInvoicing, and more to buyers using any eProcurement or ERP platform. We integrate the manufacturer’s eCommerce store with the iPaaS, and it takes care of translating data as it travels between the store and the buyer’s software. 

What do you want our readers to walk away from this Q&A thinking? What is the main message or call to action?

In 2021, B2B buyers want integrated digital procurement solutions, including PunchOut catalogs. With PunchOut2Go, manufacturers can quickly and inexpensively integrate any buyer on any eProcurement platform for PunchOut catalogs, purchase order automation, eInvoicing, and more.

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