zCon Solutions is a software product development and services company


Recently I was invited to some presentations by zCon Solutions. Never having heard of them before, I learned a lot and will first give you a thumbnail sketch of who they are. zCon Solutions is a software product development and services company, serving small and medium sized companies and their clients from their global delivery center in India.

zCon was founded in 2006, by IT partners experienced in business analysis, technology services and project management. Since then, zCon has successfully built, supported and implemented multiple technology products and custom applications, using variety of technology stacks, programming languages, development tools and databases, GUI/Web technologies. zCon has the unique ability to provide data engineering, and software solutions under one roof.

They lead off any company presentation with all that they have developed in the healthcare arena, but turns out they have developed numerous solutions in other areas too. Looking at a chart of their skills like platform technologies, languages, web technologies, database/data warehousing, middleware, project management tools/technologies shows their expertise in just about any current skillset.

Offshoring offers a cost advantage and can match on-site or nearby contractors for quality and service. Zcon staff is English speaking and contact with clients matches being on-site with email, Skype and voice-over-IP.

OK now let’s take a look at some of the cool things they have done / can do:


WHO: Several companies who have formed a consortium to estimate and bid on construction projects. A natural match are several small and minority businesses invited to participate in the “Ohio River Bridge Project” (two large bridges between Louisville, Kentucky and Jeffersonville, Indiana).

WHAT: An on-line construction estimating and collaboration tool. Provides workspace for individual participants, build-up to totals, data-sharing available.

WHEN: Development complete, adaption required. Demo available soon.

WHERE: is headquartered in India with a facility in Chicago. Service will operate in the CLOUD, “Software as a Service”. zCon “support administrator” available for individual questions and to set up WEBEX collaboration sessions. With WEBEX, click on a link and go over your computer (or call in)

WHY:Common system for all participating companies PLUS a collaboration platform.

Electronic Medical Records

zCon’s demonstration shows a multi-facility practice which integrates labs, drug database, third-party providers. A closely-related pharmaceutical purchase order processing system searches catalogs for the best price and generates an EDI PO.


Exhibit 3 Electronic Medical Records


Exhibit 4 P/O Processing

Warehousing and Distribution Systems

Financial Risk Analysis

Brokers cross-check data for exceptions to rules of regulatory bodies.


Exhibit 5 Partial list of zConn Technical expertise

Please note, this is NOT a paid advertisement from zCon, it is simply my thoughts and impressions from seeing their repertoire of accomplishments. It is more like a “trip report” because I “visited” zCon from my office with the comfort of “WEBEX”.

This is a guest editorial by Ken Kinlock


Analyzing and Reporting


A while back, in December, 2010, we covered How Business Analytics is Being Delivered in the EDI World. Lot of water over the dam since then, so let’s take a look! Business intelligence / analytics coupled with data aggregation are not new terms. They have depended directly on the business system (like SAP) hence indirectly on the EDI system. They go back before EDI: a lot of them were once called “Decision Support Systems.”
So what do we focus on with Business Intelligence? A common list includes: (1) Customer Behavior (what your customer has done previously is an indication of what the customer might do in the future), including data like does customer buy at store, over the phone or on the Internet; (2) Sales and Marketing Research (all kinds of external data); (3) Financial Analysis (includes budget analysis and “spend analysis”); (4) Procurement; (5) Supplier Relationships.

Lot of opportunities to collaborate with partners like suppliers, vendors, customersWant to safely jump into this amazing new world? Best finding an experienced partner for help. Check out Techdinamics. For a robust link to vendors, see the EDI Tool Box.

Goliath Letter About David a.k.a. GXS versus Todd and Loren Data


You will enjoy this…got a call today from a consultant with a handful of spokes on GXS that trade with SPS customers. He said he read everything out there, stuff we put out, GXS put out, independent, legal. Said, “Seems we need to cut a link out of the ‘daisy-chain’ so I’m going to have my customers sign up with Loren Data and cut GXS out of the loop.”

Signing up is simple and painless, just go to www.ld.com

Now for the “official” GXS Announcement:

“Interconnect Advisory:
GXS to Stop New Loren Data Partnership Setups Effective January 1, 2014
GXS previously announced the agreement governing the connection between Loren Data and GXS will expire at the conclusion of its term on March 4, 2014; and that
GXS would enter into a static environment andno longer enable new relationships via the Loren Data Interconnect starting November1, 2013. The date to enter a static environment and no longer enable new Loren Data relationships has now been extended to January 1, 2014. GXS will be using the period from January 1, 2014, to March 4, 2014, to monitorthe static environment in order to ensure that all clients have been notified and migrated.
GXS clients who are still sending or receiving transactions via Loren Data are encouraged to seek alternative connectivity options immediately, in order to provide sufficient time for both them and their trading partners to establish and test new routing options.
Contractual terms with Loren Data for the Interconnect Service will expire on
March 4, 2014, and at that time GXS will have no way of receiving or sending data to Loren Data.
GXS clients with any questions regarding this service change should contact their GXS support team or send an email for assistance to gxs.interconnect@gxs.com.”
This announcement was presented as a public service by Daisy Chainers Anonymous.
Let us know how you feel about what is going on.

Causes of Supply Chain Disruption


Recently we wrote about “Supply Chain Management and Logistics Risk”. While we did not get specific as to which risks are “bigger”, we did cover a lot, even pirate ships. Now, Zurich Insurance Group, through the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has done a survey and gotten specific about causes of supply chain disruption. The top three: IT, weather events and outsourcing failures.

Ft Wayne Union Railway


October 11, 1922 The Ft. Wayne Union Railway is incorporated to serve the International Harvester plant on the east side of Ft. Wayne. It is jointly owned by the Pennsylvania, Nickel Plate, New York Central and Wabash railroads, each with a 25% share in the new company.
Corporate Genealogy of Fort Wayne Union Railway

Originally the Fort Wayne Union Railway, the curvy Union Belt runs between the NS Huntington District and Piqua Yard on the east side of Fort Wayne.  The connection to the the Huntington District is next to the old Gladieux Refinery.  A long time ago the Union Belt actually crossed underneath the Huntington District and ran into the Chicago District near the Maumee River.  The bridge underneath the Huntington District is still there today and you can see it just east of the State Road 930 Cloverleaf.  The line runs along Meyer Rd. near the old International Harvester plant then curves west towards Piqua Yard.  Here the track runs across the old Piqua Yard hump and then into the Triple Crown Yard.  Norfolk Southern operates the Union Belt to switch out several shippers along the line.  The western most end of the track is used by roadrailer trains switching the Triple Crown Yard.  NS refers to the line as “the belt.”  NS used to run roadrailers in and out of Triple Crown using the Union Belt on a regular basis but now predominately uses the Piqua Wye near Winter St. instead.

Find out more on what railroads the New York Central owned all or part of.

Passenger Train on the Peoria & Eastern Railway


Robert Thompson of Peoria, Illinois bought a schedule of the Peoria and Pekin Union Railway Company dated Time table no 14 Sunday, Sept 26, 1954 . it has the New York Central passenger train #12 leaving Union Depot (pictured above, built in 1899) at 2:05 PM
2:07 at CB&Q crossing
2:12 at Bridge junction
2:19 at Wesley Junction
2:20 at Wesley
2:25 at Grove
2:30 at Pekin Junction ( from mile marker 0.00 to 8.8)
ending at Illinois Central Junction (mile marker 9.2)then NYC No. 13 coming the other way from 12:45 PM to 1:10 PM

See more about the Peoria & Eastern Railway

Chicago CTA RED LINE reopens October 20th


City of Chicago and state of Illinois officials are gearing up for the Oct. 20 reopening of the Chicago Transit Authority‘s (CTA) Red Line South, which will mark the completion of a $425 million modernization project.

The 10.2-mile stretch between Cermak-Chinatown and 95th Street will reopen on schedule after being closed for five months during the rebuilding of track and eight stations along the line, which serves Chicago’s South Side, CTA officials said in a press release.

“The reconstruction of the Red Line South is an historic investment in both the Red Line — the backbone of the CTA rail system — as well as the many communities it serves on Chicago’s South Side,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This brand new railroad will provide faster and more comfortable commutes, and is an important step toward creating a 21st century transit experience for commuters.”

The CTA was the first U.S. transit agency to entirely remove and replace such a large stretch of railroad in a tight timeframe and with an extensive alternative service plan, CTA officials said. Originally opened in 1969, the Red Line South was reconstructed from the ground up, including all rails, ties, ballast, drainage systems and signaling equipment.

The improvements are expected to trim up to 20 minutes off the round-trip commute between 95th Street and downtown Chicago, CTA officials said.


In France, Tram work started on Nice Line 2 – October 16, 2013


Tram work started in Nice today on Line 2 –  building work began this morning on a second tram line in Nice, France. Crossing the town from east to west, it’s supposed to be ready in 2017. Marché d’intérêt national is the starting point on work and was site of work opening ceremony by Mayor Estrosi.

Even before the full completion of the line 2 is line 3 which could be achieved in 2018 towards the Allianz Riviera, the new 35,000 seat stadium that just opened. Currently Bus 95 runs to the stadium with “tram-like” frequency, but lots of people prefer to drive and traffic jams are huge.


Trust for Public Land to plan conversion of railroad track into Queens Highline


Engineers, architects and planners are about to spend the next year figuring out whether 3 1/2 miles of abandoned railroad track can be transformed into Queens’ version of the High Line. In case you missed it, the old New York Central West Side Freight Line was “transformed” into the High Line.

The experts will perform engineering studies to test the deteriorating track beds, which have been abandoned for more than 50 years; they’ll meet with residents and merchants, and they’ll determine whether the massive project is workable as they develop plans.

Two city-based firms — WXY architecture + urban design and dlandstudio — edged out a field of more than two dozen applicants for the right to envision the park, which would run along the old Long Island Railroad Rockaway Beach railroad tracks from Rego Park to Ozone Park.
It is 3 1/2 miles long and would become a biking and walking trail.
While it would involve the neighborhood and has a lot of local support, a lot of people think the rail line should be re-activated and provide better transportation to New York City.
The Long Island Railroad Rockaway Beach Branch diverged from the LIRR’s Main Line in Rego Park at about 66th Avenue at what was called Whitepot Junction. It ran south through the neighborhoods of Middle Village, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, across Jamaica Bay and through Broad Channel, and on to the Rockaway Peninsula, where one spur continued east and rejoined the LIRR in Far Rockaway, and the other went west and dead-ended at Beach 116th Street at the Rockaway Park station.
There was a plan to attach the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch line to the IND subway. However, the Depression forced the IND to shelve that plan…but not before installing signage in some of its stations pointing to a Rockaway connection that was never built!
Frequent fires on the wooden trestle crossing Jamaica Bay impelled the LIRR to close the old line. It was purchased by New York City, which rebuilt the tracks and began subway service to the Rockaways in 1956.
The northern end of the line above Liberty Avenue remained in service until 1962, when declining patronage convinced the LIRR to close it down.