PilotCS Cascade

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, seed companies, farming and agribusiness.

Our newest product family is called PilotCS Cascade.

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 nearly forty years, Pacifica Research has never done it any other way.

The success of your business depends on efficiently selling products and services for a profit. Here are some of the ways PilotCS Cascade helps you do that.

Accounts Receivable
On the sales side, Pilot handles everything related to customer service, receivables management, quoting, order processing, invoicing and document and report printing. The remarkable Customer Snapshot shows you instantly how your hard work is paying off, with a clear picture of important customer analytics including sales, profit, days to pay and late days. Since Pilot is integrated end-to-end, all of this information flows seamlessly into inventory control, reporting and back-office accounting.

  • Customer data is managed on a simple screen for adding new customers, making changes or a snapshot view
  • Inventory selling price is based on fixed price, markup from cost or markdown from list
  • Customer price is based on price code, quantity, product line, inventory item, category, sale date
  • Cost of sales is maintained on the sales invoice for each line item (perpetual inventory method)
  • Customer discount is based on terms, percent or percent by inventory item, product line, category
  • Flexible terms, payment types and credit limit
  • Customer may have multiple ship-to addresses
  • Sales orders may be standing orders, cycle billing or shipped on multiple invoices
  • Quotations may be converted to orders or invoices
  • Credit/debit card processing and over-the-counter CASH invoices are supported
  • Orders and invoices support barcode scanner input for inventory items
  • A point-of-sale invoice screen may be used with cash drawer and strip printer
  • Print all order, invoice, shipping and export documents to printer, email or fax
  • Design your order and invoice documents with font control, logos, lines and boxes on a drag-and-drop edit screen

Accounts Payable
Pilot gives a new level of control over vendor management too. With cash requirements forecasting, you know well in advance just what your cash outlay will be, including vendor discounts offered for timely payment. 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 products at just the right time affects your profits. Straightforward order processing is a Pilot hallmark.

Inventory Management
Having a handle on inventory is crucial, and for most businesses, your biggest headache. Pilot 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, work in process, finished goods going out, products in multiple warehouse locations, items manufactured from a bill-of-materials, lists of items invoiced and sold as a kit, Pilot manages all these and more. Complete integration means Pilot keeps track of purchases, sales, transfers and BOM composes effortlessly.

  • Track every product in multiple warehouses or on service trucks
  • Track intangible and non-depleting inventory items (labor, pallets, shrink wrap, freight)
  • Track serialized, lot-controlled and bill-of-materials inventory
  • Maintain correct cost by LIFO, FIFO, average or fixed cost methods
  • Set prices by markup from cost, markdown from list, price code, quantity break, sales between dates or negotiated price
  • Design and print labels with inventory data, barcodes, photos and graphics, font control

Payroll/HR Management
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 complex multi-task and multi-state payroll with ease. Time tickets may be used for rapid daily hours input, and Pilot supports an electronic timeclock interface.

Employees can have any number of customized computations and deductions for health insurance, 401-k, cafeteria plan, garnishments, paid leave and vacation accrual, other pretax and posttax withholdings and employer-only computations.

Paychecks can be rapidly batch processed or computed individually. Paychecks may be printed or submitted by direct deposit. Federal payroll tax forms, including W2 forms, are printed on plain paper and e-file format.

General Ledger and Financials
At Pilot’s core is a robust double entry General Ledger which receives postings from the journals of other Pilot modules in real time. The Pilot General Ledger conforms to GAAP standards for accounting in the United States. Pilot supports six standard journals: Cash Receipts, Cash Disbursements, Payroll, Sales, Purchases and General Journal. An entry to any of these journals is carried through and posted to the General Ledger when the entry is filed. Pilot supports two subsidiary ledgers: Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, which are also posted in real time. Pilot allows for a flexible account structure, requiring only a unique account number to identify the account. Account numbers may include alpha letters and hyphens.

Pilot prints standard financial reports in a number of formats: Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Trial Balance, Statement of Cash Flows. These can be printed as of any date, and over any date range, because Pilot posts in real time and keeps all data available. Single column, comparative and multi-column formats can be printed. You can design your own specialized financial reports with the Custom Financial Report Writer to include per-unit, cash-basis, consolidated multi-company and multi-schedule financials.

Pilot offers a powerful profit/cost center account structure, making it simple to design and maintain detailed cost tracking for every element of large enterprises. Anything can be declared a profit/cost center: buildings, divisions, regions or sales territories, warehouses, fields and crops, apartments, properties, product lines, expense categories, salesmen, machines, trucks, seasons, ad campaigns or projects of any kind. Any posting to a G/L account can also post to as many as four profit/cost centers. The reporting detail that can be obtained about cost and profitability is extraordinarily valuable.

Every product in the Pilot family has these features:

  • 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
  • Drill-downs everywhere – click to edit the underlying data from screens and reports
  • Directory lists – the magnifier displays a sortable, printable list related to the field
  • Filters – set filters on data entry screens and search for matching records
  • 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

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 Windows® network , 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 can search the log entries, no one can change them, and only an administrator can delete 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.

PilotCS Cascade uses an optional Client/Server architecture for high performance and reliability. When the server is installed, it performs intelligent database management, supplying just-in-time data to client workstations and reducing network traffic to almost zero. PilotCS Cascade won’t slow down, even with many simultaneous users doing database-intensive tasks. The Client/Server option makes remote connections simple and secure, even across the internet or wirelessly with a smartphone as your connection.

Beginning with our PilotCS Cascade product family, you can 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 various 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 unique 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.

Most Pilot reports can be edited as they’re printed. If a column is too narrow or wide, or should be relocated or hidden, you can make that change before sending the report to the printer. If your credentials allow, you can save these changes permanently.

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 high performance and 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, 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 style, then choose your style 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
  • Change the color of any text or graphic element on the form
  • 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. 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, e-file W-2 reporting and photo capability.

In addition, there are industry-specific modules and integrated systems available:

  • Seed Inventory Management
    A system designed to track the production or buying, selling packaging and labeling of seed by lot. This system changes the functionality of A/P, A/R and Inventory
  • Pesticide Use Management
    A system to supplement inventory management and invoicing, to track pesticide and agrichemical application and print legal documents required by state and federal agencies and the EPA
  • Point of Sale
    An invoicing module with interfaces to barcode readers, credit card swipes, cash drawers, pole displays and strip printers
  • Web Connect
    Web Connect allows Pilot to directly communicate with a hosted website to provide:

    • Adding a customer
    • Creating an order/sales invoice
    • A shopping cart
    • Credit/debit card processing
  • Third Party Applications
    Pilot uses or supports interfaces to these other products:

    • X-Charge® for credit card processing on invoices, cash receipts and point-of-sale
    • Trade Services® for service industry inventory price updates
    • Latham® timeclock interface and TimeTrax® to payroll time tickets

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, delivery route management, entomologist and applicator pesticide use management, hay brokerage and hay export.

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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