Solarsoft supplies modern enterprise software and IT services to manufacturers, distributors and wholesale businesses across North America, Europe and Asia. Tropos has been developed for short-cycle demand-driven manufacturing and the needs of regulated industries. The majority of ERP products were designed around discrete manufacturing. By contrast, Tropos was designed for process manufacturing from the start. Recipe based Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) and MRPII are built in.
Tropos is ideal for food processors and packers, pharmaceuticals, mills and metals processing, specialty chemicals and general manufacturing in process oriented industries, particularly those supplying the major retailers or those distributing short shelf-life products.
- Improved materials traceability lets you and your customers see what went in to every output
- Accurate delivery scheduling improves the flow of information
- Reduced inventory allows businesses to run leaner with more flexibility
- A modern, scalable system that is easily learned and easily deployed thanks to its browser-based user interface
Tropos Application Designer is one of the set of standard Tropos configuration tools. At its simplest level, it allows the customization of standard Tropos screens. Simple screen customization can provide users with focused screens that simplify the use of Tropos, allowing users to concentrate on the job in hand. This can easily be achieved through: hiding unwanted fields, moving field positions, changing field labels, specifying default field values, protecting fields from user input and including additional look-aside lists.
Application Designer also provides facilities for the development of new enquiry screens and even Tropos-based applications. More complex customization can bring further efficiencies, through combining multiple transactions into a single screen, including non-Tropos logic and creating new display fields such as calculations
Customer Relationship Management
The Tropos Customer Relationship Management module can have a significant positive impact on customer service levels and sales revenue. Multiple contacts can be maintained against existing and prospective customers, with incoming and outgoing calls from/to the contacts being recorded (e.g. sales enquiries, sample requests, complaints or marketing activity). Multiple actions required to be carried out can be defined against a call and allocated to an individual or department, and the activities performed to achieve those actions being recorded, along with time and cost. The status and statistics of calls can then be analyzed by type, reason, customer, individual etc. In addition, Tropos CRM includes powerful campaign management functionality, enabling marketing campaigns to be executed in a controlled manner to targeted contacts.
For environments where deliveries are made on a regular basis (e.g. domestic or retail rounds-based deliveries), the management of the rounds can be performed in Tropos, including standing template orders, van loading, stock reconciliation on return of the vehicle and cash/cheque management.
The speedy and efficient exchange of information between supply chain partners is of paramount importance in the fast moving environments experienced by many enterprises. Thanks to the open nature of Tropos and its extensive integration capabilities, EDI messages can be received and processed automatically, with outgoing messages being generated in response to certain events. In this way, sales orders can be received, validated and recorded without human intervention, with any validation errors or discrepancies being highlighted for review. The sales orders raised are identical in form to those entered by hand, ensuring a consistent order processing procedure. On dispatch, EDI messages covering invoice and advance shipping note information can also be generated automatically.
The Tropos Forecasting module enables you to generate forecast from sales history, import it from another system or create it manually from scratch. Its flexible and powerful manipulation facilities simplify the forecast maintenance process, whilst multiple forecast versions enable what-ifs, simulations and rolling forecasts against budget. Forecast achievement is easily visualized thanks to graphical comparison of actuals vs. forecast vs. budget.
The Tropos Hazards Management module helps achieve compliance with respect to health and safety, transport and national inventory regulations throughout the entire business cycle, from receipt of raw materials to dispatch and transportation of finished goods.
Hazard and safety information can be defined at item level, detailing the handling instructions, labeling and packaging instructions and risk and safety phrases. All work instructions relating to the use or creation of hazardous materials contain the hazard and safety information to ensure safe production and packing activity.
A national inventory list can be maintained which defines that certain products are banned in some countries. The Tropos Sales Order Processing and Purchasing modules automatically check this list and prevent goods being purchased which are not allowed in the home country and prevent the sale of banned goods to other countries.
Whether based on re-order point levels or recipe-, BoM-, formula-determined MRP (material requirements planning), the Tropos Materials Planning module provides the Planner with all the required information at his/her fingertips to ensure that informed decisions can be made at all times. Using a consolidated demand/supply review screen, the Planner can act on purchasing suggestions, based on full visibility of current and anticipated inventory levels, and also individual sources of demand, whether sales forecast, firm sales order or production requirements.
The integral Tropos Plant Maintenance module avoids the need to have a stand-alone or interfaced third-party maintenance package. The functionality handles preventive, corrective and emergency maintenance. Maintenance procedures and required replacement parts can be defined by machine, with maintenance tasks being scheduled and raised as orders in Tropos. Time and materials can then be booked against the orders so that the true cost of maintenance can be compared against budgets. Inventory of maintenance spares can be maintained in Tropos, enabling inventory levels to be managed proactively, with a single spares ordering and receipt procedure.
Tropos supports standard, average-weighted and actual costing, with the method being specified on an item-by-item basis. This provides great flexibility, to ensure that the most appropriate costing method can be chosen for specific types of product.
Multiple cost sets are available for standard costing, enabling the parallel existence of historical, current, future and what-if product costs, with cost breakdowns being available at the users preferred level of granularity. Standard costs include material costs, built-up from the products defined bill of materials, along with overhead costs derived from machine and labor processing times defined on the manufacturing routing. The existence of standard costs then enables the monitoring of standard vs. planned and planned vs. actual costs. This supports efficiency improvements through the identification of manufacturing inefficiencies.
The Tropos Product Definition module enables accurate modeling of products from both the materials point of view (recipe, formula or bill of materials) and from the manufacturing process routing. Indeed, the reality of the manufacturing process can be fully reflected in a multi-stage routing, with input and output materials being defined at the individual stage level. This flexible, multi-stage approach can be used to reduce the number of manufacturing orders required, whilst maintaining full control and visibility.
Using the Production Monitoring module, progress against manufacturing orders can be recorded in real-time using simple screens deployed on touch-screen PCs. As well as material issues and product receipts, down-time, machine times and labor times can also be recorded. With all relevant information being captured as it happens on the factory-floor, production performance and variance analysis becomes available much sooner than with traditional, paper-based data collection and subsequent data entry.
The Tropos Production Planning module provides the Planner with a highly efficient means of actioning manufacturing suggestions generated by MRP (material requirements planning), making visible all the required information to ensure that informed decisions can be made at all times. Using a consolidated demand/supply review screen, the Planner can act on manufacturing suggestions, based on full visibility of current and anticipated inventory levels, and also individual sources of demand, whether sales forecast, firm sales order or downstream production requirements.
The Tropos Production Scheduling module provides the Planner with a graphical planning board that allows the drag-and-drop of an individual order stage, both through time and across machines. With automatic sequencing based on order or product attributes, changeover order insertion, order splitting and a fully customizable user interface that highlights overloads, the planner can schedule production quickly and efficiently.
Project Planning and Control
The Tropos Project Planning and Control module provides functionality that enables a project to be defined and multiple plans, including baseline plans, to be set up. With each plan having a work breakdown structure made up of nested summary work packages and work packages. Against each work package, activities (e.g. resource, expenditure) can be defined. Plans can be updated by hand or automatically progressed, based on expected progress for the elapsed timescales. If required, a formal review, progression and authorization cycle can be used (e.g. monthly review). At any point, costs incurred to date can be rolled-up into the plan and network time analysis carried out, providing a view of project progress against plan and also financial figures of cost-to-date, forecast-to-completion and forecast-at-completion.
The Tropos Purchasing module provides full control of the purchasing process, from the identification of a requirement through to clearing a supplier invoice for payment. Purchase requisitions can be managed through an authorization process based on individual spend limits, with conversion to purchase order achieved at the click of a mouse button. Pricing, including discounts and agreements, can be managed at the supplier level, with multi-line, multi-drop purchase orders. Goods receipt can be recorded at the line or order level, with any quality related test results being noted during the process. Incoming invoices are registered with automatic matching against orders and receipts, with clearance for payment being made with or without authorization, as required. Throughout the whole process, data is collected effortlessly to enable supplier performance to be monitored as an aid to vendor management.
The sophisticated Tropos Quality module can be used for the maintenance of complex quality specifications, the recording of test results (with optional automatic approval of the tested lot) and the printing of certificates of analysis. Using these facilities, the need for a dedicated LIMS system with its potential integration difficulties is removed.
Tropos offers the capability to provide vital traceability information in seconds, through online enquiries at the press of a button. As all traceability data is held online, very significant amounts of time can be saved should the nightmare scenario of a product recall arise.
Sales & Distribution
The Tropos Sales & Distribution module provides the ability to model complex, multi-level customer structures, with pricing based on price lists at a variety of levels, complete with discount structures. A variety of order entry methods provide a highly efficient means of order take-on, freeing up staff time for pro-active selling rather than reactive data entry. Template orders provide the basis for delivery rounds, with drivers managing stock and recording deliveries on handheld PCs. Picking can be recorded on handheld PCs to satisfy route deliveries planned in drop sequence, with invoices being raised per delivery or on a consolidated basis, based on either dispatch quantities or Proof of Delivery returns.
Shop-Floor Data Capture
Solarsoft offers two purpose-designed, fully integral applications for shop-floor data capture: Tropos Mobile for recording stock movements in the warehouse and Tropos Touch-Screen Shop-Floor Control for recording production order progress. Both applications are designed to be very user-friendly, making full use of color, graphical touch-screens to maximize efficiency but also to minimize any staff resistance to solution uptake. Ease-of-use also results in simplified training requirements and therefore faster implementation and return on investment.
By implementing a Tropos SFDC solution, the following benefits can be achieved: reduced paperwork, increased data accuracy, data that is always up-to-date, opportunities to record more information, more informed decision making, improved staff motivation.
Tropos Business Process Management
Tropos Business Process Management can be used not only to automate business processes, but also to put in place a structure for processes to ensure that a consistent path is followed through a pre-defined workflow. This brings about the dual benefits of cost-savings, through reduced human effort, and also predictability and the assurance that thought-out procedures are being correctly adhered to.
Processes can be triggered through the occurrence of an event, such as a request for literature on your website or a customer exceeding their credit limit, or the passage of time (e.g. once a day or every hour). As a result of the trigger, certain actions can be taken, such as the execution of one or more Tropos transactions, the running of a script or a report, the initiation of a workflow or the creation of an outgoing message. Outputs from the process can include e mails, SMS messages, data files for interfacing, XML or EDI messages.
The Tropos DataMart is a separate, reporting database that sits alongside Tropos. Thanks to its simplified structure and built-in, user-friendly reporting tools, the authoring of reports is greatly simplified to the extent that most report development can be performed by trained end-users rather than IT Developers.
Data required for reporting is extracted at your preferred frequency from the transactional database, transformed where appropriate into summarized data and then loaded into simplified structures within the DataMart. With dates are classified as years, quarters, periods, weeks and days, time-based reporting and analysis is greatly simplified.
Developed reports can be viewed on-screen, printed, e-mailed, exported to Excel or published to an Intranet. Reports can also be scheduled to run, so that users have fresh reports to view in their e-mail Inbox or on the Intranet when they arrive at their desk.
The DataMart is not limited to holding Tropos data, but can hold information from any other system, whether it is historical data from a legacy ERP system or regularly updated data from operational, third-party systems. In this way, the DataMart can act as the central reporting data repository for the whole organization. The DataMart also acts as the basis for business intelligence and management dashboards.
Tropos Incoming Generic Interface
The Tropos Incoming Generic Interface enables the construction of robust interfaces, allowing other applications to feed data into Tropos. It is a server-based utility that enables Tropos transactions to be executed using input data from fixed position or comma-separated text files. By using standard Tropos transactions, it is assured that only data that passes the stringent, standard Tropos validation can update the database.
Multiple transactions can be executed from a single data record and conditional logic determines the transaction paths to be followed according to data content. This provides a guarantee of process consistency that cannot be assured using manual data entry. Rule-based error handling ensures that data integrity is maintained with error reporting by e mail, ensuring that operational issues due to the supply of invalid data are addressed promptly.
The interface routines can be scheduled to run at any given time interval, whether once per month or every 5 minutes. Through frequent scheduling, near real time interfacing between systems can be achieved
Tropos Management Dashboards
The Tropos Management Dashboards provide a variety of means for monitoring business performance, whether it is through a single cockpit showing key business measures or through data exploration, slicing and dicing business information. Dashboards are available for the following functional areas: sales, purchasing, inventory and production.
Deployment couldnt be simpler, with users accessing their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) directly from their browser application. Using the multiple filtering capabilities, finding the required information is easy. The user can select as filters specific items of data or ranges of data, with the filters being automatically reflected across the other pages of the dashboard.
Tropos White-Paper Printing
Tropos White-Paper Printing enables configuration of standard Tropos documents to your own content and format, to reflect your corporate identity on both external and internal documents. With outputs including graphics such as company logos, lines, boxes, shading and multiple copies, high quality documents can be produced on plain paper, eliminating the need for pre-printed stationery.
Starting from any of the 70 standard form templates, document fields can easily be moved, reformatted or deleted, using a text editor as the user interface. Emphasis can be placed on particular information by the use of different fonts, font sizes and even colors, while data can be easily barcoded, providing a route to more efficient data collection. Multiple versions of each document can be configured. For example, a Tropos purchase order could be produced in different formats, dependent on the recipient, so that the supplier, Purchasing Department and Accounts Department all have different formats of the same purchase order document.
The Tropos-Financials module is powered by world-class ledgers from CODA. With fully-integrated technology and user interface, financial postings can be managed seamlessly from their source in Tropos operational modules through to payment and cash collection. Tropos-Financials is multi-company, multi-currency and multi-language, enabling international deployment. Tropos has also been integrated with numerous third-party financial management systems, such as SAP, MS Dynamics GP, Sage, Sun Accounts etc, utilizing the Tropos Finance Link open interface.
Warehousing & Inventory
Using the Tropos Warehousing & inventory module, products and materials can be managed across multiple warehouses, stores and locations. Lot control and batch management, combined with shelf-life controls, positive or conditional release and quarantine management, ensure that materials and products cannot be used accidentally. The in-built cycle counting or perpetual inventory ensures that accurate stocks are maintained. Tropos Mobile provides warehouse staff with easy-to-use enquiry and update screens on handheld PCs, which update inventory levels in real-time.
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