A supplier’s catalogue is the central location for numerous other business activities inside an establishment. If you are a business selling computer accessories, without a catalogue it will be impossible to operate. Data of all the accessories and stocks you have is in the catalogue. You also need a catalogue to access the list of suppliers and their prices.
The problem of catalogues
If your business is a small supplier, creating and selling a specific variety of products in which you have specialised and take pride of, and you have two main customers who buy from you in bulk. They are your biggest customers. Your business relies on their buying your products.
Your biggest customer decides to put into practice, an electronic trading system. They send a letter to all of their suppliers, telling that, within a given time frame, all of their suppliers must be system compatible with their new proven practise. That means, you must provide your catalogue data in accordance with the customers given format.
You are now afraid of loosing your largest customer; and you invest several thousands of your capital designing an e-catalogue that complies with the customer. You still communicate with the other customer via fax and phone.
Meanwhile the second customer decides to create a new e-buying plan and you will be informed that they too will be requiring you to create your e-catalogue compatible to their system. Their system is different and cannot comply with the system you have with the first one. Now you are shattered and will have to make a very difficult choice.
If you say no, you will loose an important percentage of your sales. You are not able to say ‘yes’ either. Now you will have to invest a significant portion of your capital to make a catalogue matching to the second buyer.
Sometimes they will again require you to keep an additional list of your product records on their own systems through a hosted solution. This is not possible, with you constantly updating and re – keying your product details. It will be a nightmare and lot of errors are bound to happen.
So for this, comes a solution. ‘Catalogues must be able to interoperate’.