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Purchasing Catalogs in Business ByDesign

I am currently working together with our consulting organization on a customer project that also includes catalogs in SRM.

So I thought it would be the perfect timing to talk about purchasing catalogs in ByDesign here. 

What are purchasing catalogs used for?

Catalogs can be used in shopping carts and purchase orders to search, select and add products to the business document. No manual data entry is needed anymore by the user but all necessary information such as product description, supplier, price, supplier part number and product category are automatically added from the catalog.
This way you can also automate the purchase order creation process and PO documents are sent to the supplier immediately.

2 types of catalogs

In general we can distinguish two types of catalogs that you can use in ByDesign:

  1. External catalogs
  2. Internal catalogs

External catalogs

“External” because these catalogs are hosted and run by the suppliers themselves. This has multiple advantages but of course also some disadvantages.


  • Proven user interface that fits to the category of their products.
  • Sometimes catalog structure even fits to the paper catalog (especially in the area of plant maintenance this is often helpful to convince the users to change from a paper based catalog to an electronic one)
  • Automatic update to the product portfolio and the pricing information – done by the supplier.
  • Fast implementation. Ready to go in hours or days using the OCI (Open Catalog Interface) standard.
  • We even partnered with multiple suppliers and already pre-tested their catalog with ByDesign to make sure they work perfectly. Check them out on the SAP Store!


  • Different user interface per catalog because the suppliers are responsible for the catalog
  • Not all suppliers support a cross-catalog search that makes it easy for users to search all connected catalogs at once.
  • No direct control over price information
  • Supplier could add/change products/product categories the buyer doesn’t want to see in this catalog.
  • Mapping to internal product categories in ByDesign currently only possible on catalog level. Not on category or product level within the catalog, nor based on category standards such as UNSPSC.

Here’s a screenshot of the configuration screen for external catalogs. It’s just two or three fields to fill.image

Internal Catalogs

Internal catalogs are created by the buyer in the ByDesign system.

There are two ways to do that:

  • Manually enter all catalog items in a custom catalog
  • Upload a catalog file that the buyer either created himself using an Excel template or that he received in the standardized BMEcat format from their suppliers.

The two main advantages of internal catalogs also determine which way to choose to create such a catalog:

  •  With internal catalogs you have full control over pricing and product changes. You even have the possibility to upload a catalog file, review it first and then publish it afterwards. As long as you don’t publish it users will still be able work on the former catalog version.
  • For the most ordered items from suppliers that can’t provide their own OCI-catalog a manual creation of a custom catalog makes sense to make the purchasing process easier for your employees as well as to automate the procurement process for these products.

For more details on how to setup such an internal catalog manually, make sure you watch this short video.

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  • Christian, I am trying to learn how to add an external catalog to my tenant. Can you direct me to the steps I need to take to do this? Do I start with an implementation Project or is there a work center where I can setup the catalog. How do I get to the window you have shown above of the external catalog settings? Thank you!

    • Hi Clay,

      You need to make sure that external catalogs have been scoped in your business configuration. If you don’t find an activity called “External Catalogs” in the activity list in your Business Configuration work center, then you will need to add it to your scoping.
      Just create a new change project from the Business Configuration and add the scoping item. You probably find it somewhere in Procurement under Self-Service-Procurement.

      Best, Christian

      • Thank you Christian. Your answer helped. Now, I have another question for you. In releasing the units of measurement, I see that there are a few of the units in SAP are shown with an “X”. For example, the SAP UoM for Bag is shown as XBG where the UNECE UoM is shown as “BG”. ByD shipped with the UNECE standard but these don’t match. Whats up with the “X” as a precursor to many of the UoM’s in ByD? Can I select the XBG as the UoM to match the UNECE “BG”? Thank you.