Pacifica Research publishes Pilot, a complete line of real-time business management software in Windows, designed to meet the needs of large or small retailers, distributors, warehouses, job shops, light manufacturers, property managers, maintenance facilities, service providers and farming operations.
Pilot Business Automation and Control addresses the unique challenges faced by business in a connected internet age. We aren't new to business software design, and we know the tools that work and those that don't. Total integration is the key, and, for over 30 years, Pacifica Research has never done it any other way.
If your business and your success depend on effeciently selling products or services for a profit, here are some of the ways Pilot will help you do that.
On the sales side, Pilot handles everything related to customer service, receivables manangement, order processing, quoting, invoicing and documentation. The remarkable Customer Snapshot shows you instantly how your hard work is paying off, with a clear picture of important customer metrics including sales, profit and days to pay. Since Pilot is integrated end-to-end, all of this information flows seamlessly into inventory control and back-office accounting.
Pilot gives a new level of control over vendor management too. With cash requirements forecasting, you will know well in advance just what your cash outlay will be, including discounts. Pilot makes it simple to manage multiple checking accounts, and bill paying is a snap. Knowing what you owe and making timely payments are important, but receiving the right product at just the right time affects your profits. Straightforward order processing is a Pilot hallmark.
Having a handle on inventory is crucial, and for most businesses, your biggest headache. Pilot really shines in inventory control. Your inventory is likely both your most valuable asset and largest liability. When you don't know what you have and can't say what it's worth, you simply can't sell it for a profit. Pilot tracks inventory of every kind, accurately. Raw materials coming in, finished goods going out, product in multiple warehouse locations, items manufactured from bills of materials, Pilot manages all of these and more. Complete integration means Pilot keeps track of purchases, sales, transfers and BOM composes effortlessly.
Whether you pay a half-dozen employees or thousands, Pilot payroll is up to the job. In fact, Pilot is designed for massive, high-volume payroll processing, and handles even complex multi-task and multi-state payroll with ease. Time tickets may be used for rapid daily hours input, and Pilot supports a timeclock interface. Paychecks may be printed or submitted by direct deposit. Federal payroll tax forms, including W2 forms, are printed on plain paper and magnetic media.
This list highlights just the Pilot features that are designed for the seed industry. They are absolutely essential to any seed business, and won't be found in a spreadsheet or accounting package. But features alone don't tell the whole story. Here's why Pilot is such an incredible system:
Pilot is a complete business management solution, with the tools needed by every member of your team. Every part of Pilot is fully integrated and connected, so purchasing and sales will know immediately when production brings seed in from cleaning.
Pilot is loaded with "back-office" features that support the specialized seed business tools. They are completely integrated. When you receive seed, Pilot will create and print a check to pay for it, and manage all vendor information. Reports will show exactly where every lot of seed was purchased (and sold), and precisely what it's current cost is. That's very important when you need to compute and print commission reports, which Pilot does.
Pilot manages your customers and accounts receivable too. Order processing and invoicing for a seed business is quite involved, and frequently includes complex discounts, very detailed descriptions, tedious royalty and trait tracking and large customer accounts. Pilot helps you design attractive, legible documents for every step of this process. Your customers receive paperwork that casts you in a very good light.
Besides the features designed for seed businesses, Pilot includes a great deal more. Here is a brief list.
Pilot is fully multi-user, and everyone in your company can do their work at the same time. This even means that several users can be inputting invoices at the same time. Pilot employs sophisticated record locking so that simultaneous updates to the same record (the same customer, for example) are carefully controlled.
If you use more than one database, you can open a second Pilot session and work in two companies at once. You can even change the screen colors to differentiate if you like. You can open the same data entry screen multiple times as well, and work on several orders at once. Pilot allows tremendous productivity.
Pilot runs on a dedicated server based network (Microsoft, Linux, NetWare), Terminal Server, or Windows peer to peer network with any number of network logins. A terminal server session must run Windows Server 2003 or newer. A windows workstation must run Windows XP or newer. The number of concurrent Pilot logins is determined by Pilot seats purchased.
Pilot uses real-time transaction processing, and all modules are automatically fully integrated with other modules, including the general ledger. Every transaction you enter, every change, every bit of data is processed instantly as you enter it. Besides that, data is on line all the time. All detail remains on-line and accessible for reporting, even from prior years. This detail may be edited by operators with sufficient privilege. Pilot does away with the concept of pre-defined fiscal periods, allowing detailed financials to print across any date range and any part of the enterprise. For instance, a financial can report on a project from beginning to end, even across a year-end.
A Pilot database representing a company is contained in one file. Each transactional record in the database includes the I.D. of the person who created it. Pilot allows changes to be made to any record, as long as the user's privileges permit the change. In almost every case, old documents, dated before the start of the current period, should not be changed by anyone except the bookkeeper or accountant. It is simple to prevent these changes in Pilot, and the default security settings will prevent changes outside the current period.
When a record is changed, that change is recorded and tracked in a special database table called the Exceptional Events Log. The log shows the original and changed records side by side, with the differences highlighted. If a record is changed multiple times, several entries will be found in the log.
Users with ordinary privileges are not permitted access to the Exceptional Events log. Only a System Operator may search the log entries, and no one may delete or change them.
Every document, transaction and record in Pilot, no matter how old, may be printed on reports or displayed. Several Pilot reports are designed specifically for auditing the company, and include drill-down capability for the purpose.
Pilot is written in the C++ language, all in DLL files, and is based upon the SUMMUS relational database. Central to Pilot are two libraries stored in SUMMUS databases. These libraries contain all of the standard screens, reports, icons and record definitions needed by Pilot. Each company database is contained in one SUMMUS database file. Within this file is a data dictionary structure defining all of the records, indexes, custom reports and relational linkages. Records, and fields within records, can be any size necessary to contain the data. A record with little data will take less space in the database than a record with more data. In other databases, all records of one kind must be the same size.
Pilot enables the system operator to limit each user's access to the different accounting modules. Each person is only assigned the privileges required for that employee to perform his job effectively. This security is implemented at the user level. Each user has a separate user ID, protected by a password. Each transaction is stamped with the user's ID, which allow the system operator to track the use or misuse of the system.
Pilot gives you fast access to your information. From locating and retrieving your records - even old records, to previewing or printing reports of all kinds, Pilot has no competition.
Drill-down capabilities are found at hundreds of fields in Pilot, and on most reports when previewed on the screen. A drill-down opens the record in a live data-entry screen where you may make changes to the data.
For the most streamlined data entry, the mouse is almost never required for navigating the screen, although it may be used everywhere. Logically grouped menus are always visible on the left side of the workspace. You can open as many screens at once as you require, and open screens are listed in the menu area. You can make each screen as large or small as you wish.
Pilot has more than 80 standard reports, with many choices in the formatting of each one. Typically, the report launch parameters include date range, document range, account, vendor or customer range or selection, sort options, level of detail and page width. At most fields, you can set screen defaults for the parameters you prefer, and change them if necessary when you print. All reports can be printed to any printer, the screen, PDF, Excel, email or a disk file.
Pilot includes five report writers in addition to the standard reports. This is necessary because of the distinct differences in the reports and documents which are produced by these tools.
The System Report Writer builds a report program in the SPL language, compiles it and places it on a report menu. These reports can be presentation-quality, depending on the designer's efforts, and may include:
The Adjustable Report Formatter begins with one of several system reports, then offers many formatting options to allow you to customize the report. You can give a unique name to your format, then choose your format by that name in the future. These are some of the features of the Adjustable Report Formatter:
The Financial Report Writer builds a template record which drives a financial reporting engine. Financial reports may be designed with these features:
The Document Writer is used to modify the appearance of invoices, order forms, packing lists, checks and paychecks. Using this tool, you can visually:
The Inventory Label Formatter creates inventory bar code labels in any size and configuration, based on inventory, sales orders or invoices, purchase orders or invoices or stock transfers. This visual tool is able to:
Pilot is sold and installed in modules. There are five standard business management modules and five add-on modules to extend the features of the standard modules. The general ledger standard module is required. All others are optional. In each section, the standard module must be installed before the add-on can be installed. The modules are:
In addition, there are industry-specific modules and integrated systems available:
VARs and developers sell and support add-ons to Pilot. Modules have been written for wholesale and warehouse inventory, machine shop job cost, short run job cost and delivery route management.
Users and developers have access to several areas where modifications and custom changes may be made in Pilot. The system operator may limit or modify access and privilege by menu or by screen for each user. Users with sufficient privilege may modify screens while they are operating them. Possible changes are substantial, including:
These changes are not affected by version upgrades, and may be turned off at any time.
Developers may use the visual screen generator, an integral part of any Pilot installation, to make much more substantial changes to screens. This includes changing any visual or input characteristic of a field, adding new program functions to fields, moving or changing the order of fields, hiding unwanted fields or moving seldom-used fields to a second or third page. These changes are normally made in a custom library file apart from Pilot's standard libraries and outside the company's database. In this way, the changes are isolated and protected against version updates in most cases, and may be easily removed.
Developers may write new programs or modify existing ones in either the C++ or SPL languages. SPL is a powerful compiled language designed primarily for writing reports from a SUMMUS database, but it has many applications besides reporting. All system reports and all reports created in the Pacifica Report Writer are written in SPL, and the source code for all system reports is available at no charge to developers. The SPL compiler and interactive debugger are built into Pilot. C++ language source code for selected application programs is made available to developers on an individual basis.
Pacifica Research is currently working with several clients in a limited introduction to Internet commerce. This includes EDI order processing and invoicing, preparation of HTML-formatted inventory catalogs dynamically generated.