The problem of constructing the steady-state solutions of the global (in the physical space) system, when local steady-state multiplicity is possible, repeats itself on various scales in heterogeneous catalytic reactors. This work presents a qualitative analysis that classifies this relation according to the physical system, the origin of steady-state multiplicity (thermokinetic, isothermal or truly kinetic) and the shape of the rate curve. A systematic approach for drawing the global observable bifurcation set from the local one is presented. The global features of a catalytic wire exposed to uniform conditions are usually identical to the local ones, i.e. inhomogeneities propagate out of the system. The existence of a global gradient in the adiabatic or isothermal heterogeneous plug-flow reactor or in the heterogeneous model of the catalytic pore adds one or even two stationary-front solutions. The latter problem, which accounts for adsorbate and fluid phases, applies only with truly kinetic multiplicity, and has not been considered earlier in the literature.