Pilot Seed Management

At Pacifica Research, we recognize that seed companies are not well served by commonly available business management software. Lightweight bookkeeping programs offer them even less.

We began building Pilot Seed Management over 30 years ago with a clean sheet of paper and the clear understanding that, although we didn’t know the seed business, we knew people who did. Pilot Seed Management has been designed from its inception by seed industry leaders, men and women who built and ran the largest and most successful seed companies themselves.

Pilot Seed Management has features not found in any other software:

  • Maintain inventory by specie, category, family, variety, lot and sub-lot
  • Purchase seed from any source into a lot
  • Manage grower production contracts
  • Produce and acquire seed based on contracts
  • Make lot adjustments using process records
  • Provides procedures for cleaning, treating, coating
  • Move seed from a lot to any location or warehouse, in any package size
  • Maintain accurate cost, quantity and quality information for each lot
  • Process complex blends and mixes using a blendsheet, or right on an order
  • Buy and sell in any unit of measure, bulk or PLS
  • Design and print variety, straight seed and mix tags
  • Manage customer quotes, pre-season bookings, contracts, orders and invoices
  • Integrates seamlessly into PilotCS Cascade

This list highlights just the Pilot features that are designed for the seed industry. They are absolutely essential to any seed business, and aren’t found in a spreadsheet or generic accounting package. But features alone don’t tell the whole story. Here’s why Pilot Seed Management is such an incredible system:

Pilot is:

  • Complete – it’s much more than inventory control
  • Easy to learn – designed for the way you do things
  • Quick to install – installation and setup is about a week
  • Multi-user – everyone can work in Pilot at the same time
  • Multi-tasking – open many screens at once even in the same module
  • Flexible – view and change anything in Pilot if your credentials allow
  • Real-time – records are updated everywhere as soon as you save
  • Secure – each user’s login/password establishes his credentials
  • Customizable – you can change screens and reports on-the-fly
  • Fast – written in C++ and built on a powerful relational database
  • Attractive – screens are beautiful and easy to navigate

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 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 creates and prints a check to pay for it, and manages all vendor information. Reports show exactly where every lot of seed was purchased (and sold), and precisely what it’s current cost is. That’s 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, detailed descriptions, tedious royalty and trait tracking and large customer accounts. Pilot helps you design attractive, legible forms for every step of this process. Your customers receive documentation 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 Web Connect website interface
  • Accounts payable with vendor management
  • Accounts receivable with customer management
  • Payroll with employee management
  • General ledger with financial reporting

Real-Time and Multi-User
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 encourages 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 2008 or newer. A windows workstation must run Windows 7 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 credentials. Pilot does away with the concept of predefined 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.

Auditability
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 security permits 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 recorded in the log.

Users with ordinary credentials 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.

Extraordinary Efficiency
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 which defines the structure of all 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.

Beginning with our PilotCS Cascade product family, you may optionally choose either Oracle® MySQL® or Microsoft® Sequel Server® as your database.

System Security
Pilot enables the system operator to limit each user’s access to the different accounting modules. Each person is only assigned the credentials 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.

Fast and Easy to Operate
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.

Reporting Systems
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.

  • System Report Writer
  • Adjustable Report Formatter
  • Financial Report Writer (requires GL+ module)
  • Document Creator
  • Inventory Barcode Label Designer

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:

  • A launch screen for user input
  • A page heading with automatic column headings
  • Access to all data in the database, including derived data and in-line computations
  • In-line logic at data selection
  • Up to 12 levels of sorting
  • Unlimited filtering
  • Unlimited group headings, subtotals with conditional breaks, footnotes
  • Drill-downs on almost all data items in detail and subtotals
  • Flexible indexing
  • Data export capability, WORD, EXCEL, and PDF
  • Printer and font control just as in any system report

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:

  • Choose the columns you wish to print from a list
  • Turn off columns that you want to hide
  • Adjust the position and width of the columns by dragging
  • Sort and subtotal the report based on data in the columns

The Financial Report Writer builds a template record which drives a financial reporting engine. Financial reports may be designed with these features:

  • Standard templates for P&L, balance sheet and statement of cash flows are included
  • Up to 28 columns of numeric data can be defined as balance, activity or formula
  • All display characteristics can affect individual columns or all columns
  • Columns can print G/L, profit center, budget or computed data
  • Lines can define accounts or account groups by number, wildcard expression, range or type
  • Lines can exclude accounts or account groups by number, wildcard expression, range or type
  • Lines can detail or summarize profit center information
  • Footnotes can be attached to account numbers or groups
  • Consolidate multiple company databases on one financial
  • Columns, lines and cells can utilize formulas
  • Non-dollar information can be taken from G/L accounts and printed or used in formulas
  • Multiple schedules can be created for one financial, and print as one or more pages
  • Computed data can carry forward through schedules

The Document Writer is used to modify the appearance of invoices, order forms, packing lists, checks and paychecks. Using this tool, you can visually:

  • Move any printable item or hide it
  • Change or remove the caption on any item
  • Change column widths and number of decimals printed
  • Turn lines and boxes on or off for plain paper documents, or add new lines, boxes and color blocks
  • Include logo bitmaps and set their size and position
  • Turn on various backgrounds, such as graybar and gradient screens
  • Select separate fonts for captions and data, and set their sizes independently
  • Maintain several document styles at once for invoices and orders
  • Set the printer destination and print formatting for each document type

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:

  • Include your selection of dozens of data items from inventory and other sources
  • Move the items and change their size, font, orientation and color
  • Print text, lines, boxes and borders anywhere on the label
  • Print any text as a bar code of any size and all standard symbologies (using included bar code fonts)
  • Include photos and graphics on your labels
  • Print auto-incrementing serial numbers
  • Select from many Avery standard label sheet layouts, or create and save your own
  • Store any number of label layouts for different purposes
  • Visually select the starting label number to print based on an Avery style number

Modules and Add-Ons
Pilot is sold and installed in modules. In addition to Pilot Seed Management, 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:

  • General Ledger and G/L+
    General Ledger (required) includes chart of accounts, transaction processing, journal entry, financial reporting. G/L+ adds profit center accounting, budgeting and financial report writer.
  • Accounts Payable and A/P+
    Accounts Payable includes vendor list, purchase invoice entry and printing, cash requirements forecasting, cash disbursements and check printing, bank reconciliation, A/P aging and activity tracking. A/P+ adds purchase order processing and printing, recurring order processing and disbursement processing.
  • Accounts Receivable and A/R+
    Accounts Receivable includes customer list, pricing and discounting by customer, sales invoice entry and printing, cash receipts, A/R aging and activity tracking. A/R+ adds sales order processing and printing and recurring order processing.
  • Inventory Management and I/M+
    Inventory Management includes inventory list, inventory activity and profitability by vendor or customer, reorder by history, seasonal history or percentage of min or max stock levels. I/M+ adds serial/lot/location capability, bill of materials and kit management, serial number and where-used tracking, bar code label printing and photo capability.
  • Payroll and P/R+
    Payroll includes employee list, payroll entry and check printing, federal and state tax table maintenance, tax and withholding reporting, federal quarterly report and W-2 printing. P/R+ adds high-volume paycheck processing, time tickets, electronic timeclock interface, magnetic media W-2 reporting and photo capability.

Customization and Modification Tools
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 credentials by menu or by screen for each user. Users with sufficient credentials may modify screens while they are operating them. Possible changes are substantial, including:

  • Change the caption on any prompt
  • Rewrite or add to the help message
  • Add or edit a drop box or auto-drop box
  • Add or change default values for the field
  • Change input characteristics
  • Set to skip or not skip
  • Set so cursor may not enter, or keyboard is locked
  • Set to require data or require a password before change
  • Set to obscure data if user lacks credentials
  • Move prompts on the page or to another tab, or hide them

These changes are not affected by version upgrades, and may be turned off at any time.

Developers
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.

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