Tag Archives: middleware

SCM Control Tower Start-Up


We have been gathering a list of issues that need to to be resolved before building a Supply Chain Control Tower: SCM and IT partnership; Visibility; Strategy and expectations; Foundation for the tower; and Team-building.
SCM and IT partnership
The supply chain functional teams are expecting support from Information Technology. Up to now, many IT organizations have not been heavily involved with a lot of the supply chain; for example, the Procurement system could be a package that is supported directly by the vendor. How about bringing the teams together by emphasizing IT network management skills? IT manages complex wide-area networks using state-of-the-art applications. SCM will rapidly understand that IT brings real value to the party.

Scott Koegler recently wrote about “Combined Data and Visibility”. He pointed out that the number of systems or software applications that make up the supply chain within a single company is likely to be more than 1 and could easily be as many as 20. If that’s the case how is it possible to actually achieve what we’ve been calling visibility? He quickly dispelled the notion that all data for the SCM Control Tower can come in real time from the EDI system. So a conclusion is that the SCM Control Tower will need what is called “middleware”.

Read More about Starting Up A Supply Chain Control Tower

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