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Open Catalog Interface

The Open Catalog Interface feature of SAP allows Maintenance Technicians and Maintenance Planners to link directly to external vendor web sites to source parts while in the SAP Work Order screens (IW31, IW32, etc).  Using a web punch-out approach, it allows these key maintenance people to select the parts that they need and bring the information directly into SAP without having to circumvent corporate controls and purchasing policies.  The maintenance user is given access to the supplier's web page and all of its features.  This is an interface that is now familiar to most people.  Its just like shopping on Amazon.  The big difference here is that when the checkout button is selected the parts and materials information for the items to be bought are returned to the user's SAP system for processing by the purchasing department instead of buying directly from the supplier's site.

When OCI is enabled, configuration settings are used to link external catalogs to plant/WO Types.  When a work order is being edited of the configured type in the correct plant a 'catalog' button is made available on the bottom of the component selection screen of the work order.  Selecting the catalog button opens up a list of external catalogs that are available.  After the user is through shopping, the check-out button on the web page brings the items in the shopping cart back to the component screen of the work order.
The image to the right shows that there are four different catalogs available for the user to select from for this particular work order.  Double clicking on any of the available catalog IDs shown will open that catalog in the SAP session for the user.

Once on the supplier's web site, parts are searched for and selected as they would be on any other web site.  Selected parts are added to a shopping cart (the shopping cart shows as a list at the bottom of this example site).

Checking out is where the big difference happens.  Normally, the supplier's checkout button would take the user to the supplier's buy-side entry where the user would enter the buyer's name, shipping information, and credit card information etc.  In a normal worls this would require the Maintenance Technician to have access to a purchasing card, would circumvent any approval process that the company may have in place to control spending and prevent fraud.  It would effectively create an order outside of the system that would require special processing when received at the warehouse and a host of other problems.


The checkout process returns the items from the shopping cart to the work order component screen.  Here, the normal entries required for processing a stocked or non-stocked item are still performed by the Maintenance Technician.  No corporate policies are bypassed or broken.  The correct information for the correct part is passed properly to the purchasing department.