Newsletter-1500x650-2024-03 (1)

“If we didn’t have Axon, we would need three times the staff.”

“IF WE DIDN’T HAVE AXON, WE WOULD NEED THREE TIMES THE STAFF WE CURRENTLY HAVE.”

XOCO Transport sells and hauls fresh produce and other goods across the US and Mexico. In this, the first of a two-part interview, XOCO Partner Ricardo Tello explains how important Axon has been to XOCO’s growth and success.

I'm Ricardo Tello, Owner of XOCO Transport in McAllen, TX.

My name is Ricardo Tello and I’m one of the owners of XOCO Transport LLC from Hidalgo, near McAllen, Texas. We mostly haul reefer loads of fresh produce.

We come from a produce background. We got into trucking because we needed to grow our produce company to keep up with the demands of the market.

There are very few companies that both sell produce and provide transportation. I have the ability to offer my customers the product, the logistics, and the delivery service. We are an all-inclusive service. I can quote them fresh produce delivered. I can quote them non-delivered. I can quote them just the freight. Because we can do that for our customers, it’s helped us grow.

Can you tell us why you chose Axon Software?

We started with Axon about three years ago because we were having a lot of limitations with our growth. We got to a point where we didn’t know how much we were actually spending or how much things cost. We had a lot of issues.

We don’t come from a logistics or trucking background. It was hard to understand that, in the trucking world, everything works by the mile. We were used to handling things by how much they cost in general. 

Axon was able to help us integrate our accounting with our logistics and our mechanics shop. It helped us integrate our diesel usage. We acquired a diesel tank and started to track our own inventory and maintenance repairs. Axon was able to integrate a lot of the different departments that we had. We have four offices – one in Mexico and three in the United States. We are able to remotely integrate our whole team with just one system.

Axon was able to take everything that we were doing through other software, or through Excel, or through email, or through messaging, and integrate it all into one whole system.

Now we have people working 24 hours in different locations, and they’re all able to access the system and see what the other person did. We can track everything in our operation better.

Has Axon changed the way you track and pay drivers?

One of the biggest things Axon changed for us has been the way we do driver pay. We used to pay salaries. But then we started having issues with the drivers wondering, “Why am I getting paid less if I did more?” “Why is he getting paid more if he did less?” Which is why we started exploring the pay-by-mile part of Axon.

We switched the way our drivers get paid. We are able to track their routes and pay them by how many miles they did, how many picks they did, and any additional drops or stops that require payment. The system automatically does that.

Whenever our accounting department cuts a check, it’s already in the system. They don’t have to ask questions because our dispatch and safety teams already integrated everything that happened on the trip. Once it’s clicked Ready to Pay, we already know that it’s absolutely ready to go. It’s made our payment for drivers much more standardized with the industry.

Do you find these changes help with driver retention?

Yes, it helps with driver retention. Obviously, the hardest part for us on the trucking and logistics side of the company has been dealing with drivers. Filling the drivers’ needs has been the most challenging part of the business. With the Axon system, now everybody knows what they’re going to get paid. The system reports where they ran. There aren’t any questions. It does make the drivers happier knowing what they’re going to get paid and knowing everything is a lot more standardized.

The hardest part with drivers is that they always think you’re out to get them. I’ve had drivers who tell me they need to get paid on the higher pay scale, not the lower one. Now with Axon, I tell them, “There’s one pay scale and it’s the same for every single driver. It’s standard. If two drivers ran the same exact route, they would get paid the exact same amount of money.” It has helped us have happier drivers in the end, with better pay and better standardized pay rates.

What does billing look like for your two companies?

We actually manage our customers in two separate ways. Every customer we service is a customer of the produce company. Now with the great growth that we’ve had on the logistics and transportation side, some of those customers have started to ask us for freight outside of what they buy from us. So, we do that service. We do a lot of LTL and a lot of full loads.

We actually invoice all of our customers directly through Axon Software. So even though we are our own largest customer, we are able to easily track all that information and bill our customers accordingly and keep them updated.

Can you talk about the growth you’ve gone through since getting Axon?

When we started with Axon three years ago, we were running seven trucks on the American side and one on the Mexican side. With our growth since Axon, we are now at 36 trucks, with four in Mexico.

This year, we’re taking delivery of 15 more units in America and five more in Mexico. Next year, we just placed an order of 50 new trucks plus a few more for Mexico. The plan is to close the year with 100 units.

The great thing that Axon has been able to do is maintain our staff at a minimum. It allows one person to multitask through the system. Before, we used to have four people working dispatching, because one was tracking drivers, one was tracking units, one was actually doing orders, and a separate person was working invoicing and billing, plus deliveries and statuses.

Now we have two people working on the dispatch side. They are able to track drivers, equipment, and they can give updates to the customers through a simple update on the dispatch screen. They can automatically send out email notifications to our customers saying, “Your load has been picked up. Your order is on the way,” or “Your order has been delivered.” It has definitely cut down on the number of people that we need.

Same in regard to our invoicing and payables. Before, we used to have a couple of people working on all of that. Now we’re able to do everything with just one person.

So you get more work done with fewer people?

The ability to multitask on Axon has probably been the most beneficial thing for keeping our staff low. At the same time, keeping our staff very productive – without even noticing the amount of work they’re doing, they are able to push more work out in a more efficient way. That’s definitely had a big impact for us.

If we didn’t have Axon, we would need three times the staff we currently have to maintain our trucks and provide that level of service to our customers. But we would never have been able to have the growth that we’ve had. Simply knowing how much we’re making or losing; we wouldn’t have been able to do it without Axon, because we would have been completely lost.

We’re so happy that we decided to go with Axon, and so happy we weren’t scared about this big system for our tiny little company. We’ve come to realize Axon has been our biggest ally in growing our company to where we are now. As we continue to grow, Axon continues to grow with us. It’s a system that we will probably never see the full potential of because it’s just that big. But at the same time, it’s that small, you know? It’s a great thing, and I would tell that to anybody who was looking into it.

Does that help you grow without adding staff at the same rate?

Yes. The great thing is that with the growth of the company, because of Axon, we don’t need more people. We are able to easily grow the trucks without the same growth in staff. That keeps our costs lower. The same person that was able to monitor 10 trucks can monitor 50 trucks.

I always tell people, I’m not in the logistics industry. I’m in the produce industry. I’m in the service industry. What differentiates me from my competitors is the service that we can give them. The only way we are able to provide the level of service that we give our customers is because of Axon.

How do you find the reports in Axon?

The reporting in Axon is great. One of the great things about Axon is that it’s able to create a report specific to what you need. There is an area where you are able to customize reports the way that you need them.

We’ve had some reports that we were able to create ourselves. We have some reports that are a lot more technical, that I’ve gotten help with from my Axon training team. For example, last year, at the end of the year, we wanted to find out which customers were our best customers and which drivers were our best drivers. Then we were able to use these reports to plan incentives for those customers and drivers.

There’s no other system that could do this, and it would have taken weeks for a person to track down all these reports from different areas. Axon was able to do it in five minutes. I mean, it took me five minutes to create the report.

Now we utilize that report on a monthly basis and keep our drivers motivated. The best drivers get rewarded. When we grow our dispatch and sales team, we’ll be able to do the same thing. We can track all these different things.

That’s just one example of the reports that have been specific to us that we’ve been able to accomplish through Axon. Everything else reporting-wise is very straightforward. There is pre􀀁y much a report for anything you need in Axon.

Has Axon helped you with customer relationships?

The absolute best thing Axon has been able to do for us is to maintain our customers. We are able to provide real-time updates to our customers. We used to bump into issues where our customers didn’t know if their load had been picked up or if it was en route. They used to have to call me every single time they wanted an update, and half the time I was unable to answer them, and they would start getting nervous.

Now every time we change the status of an order from Available, to Loaded, to En Route, to Delivered – the customer gets an email update that gives information about the driver’s location. That has been one of the best things for our customer relations side.

If you started with Axon from the beginning, where would you be today?

I think if we started with Axon from our first truck, we would probably not have made all the mistakes we made in the beginning. A lot of mistakes were made out of lack of knowledge, experience, and training. We ended up fixing and resolving those things once we had Axon.

Once we went through the training and had people in Axon Support tell us, “Other companies do it this way. Why do you do it differently?” that sparks the mind, you know? That opens your mind up to things, and we decided to make changes like paying by the mile. It just started making sense, and we had no idea.

I think a lot of knowledge from Axon staff helped us with our growth and with everything that we were doing.

When we set up our inventory for our diesel tank here at the shop, we had a support person who explained, “This is how we manage inventory. This is how you invoice inventory. This is how you make a work order out of the inventory. This is how you create part numbers. If it’s on the mechanical side, use this number.”

Staff at Axon have given us training and insight on switching our mileage. How to bill and invoice per mile. That’s the great thing about Axon – there’s always a staff member knowledgeable in the specific area that will help you. “In our experience, people have done this.” We don’t go with every single idea that Axon has given us. We’ve taken the ideas, put them together with ours, and had it grow from there.

One of the biggest challenges when I started with my company was understanding how I was going to bill Customer A in Chicago versus Customer B in Wisconsin. Do they both get the same rate? Once we had Axon, we understood our mileages and cost-per-mile.

To this day, we don’t know how much we lost before we got Axon. We don’t know how much we made. We don’t know what could have been billed or how much we could have grown. It would have made such a big difference for us.

Whether you come from a trucking and logistics background or a produce background like we did, Axon has the ability to integrate everything and make it as personal and as big or small as you need. If we had started with Axon from day one, we’d probably be at our hundred-truck mark already.

If someone in the industry asked about your experience with Axon, what would you say?

My experience with Axon has been great. I would recommend Axon to anybody who is looking for a complete system that integrates everything.

One of the biggest challenges for us, and I think a lot of people might say this, is that it was a large investment. We thought the system was going to be too big for what we were doing. We thought we were a tiny company with just two or three people, and Axon was going to be way more than we needed.

I was really surprised to see that Axon accommodates companies from very small to very big. In reality, the system wasn’t too much. It was the biggest tool and biggest ally to help us get to where we are now. Once we reach 100 trucks, 200 trucks, 300 trucks, I’m confident that Axon is going to be just as reliable as when we started with just two of us.

I would tell anybody to really look at it and really buy into the system. Don’t think that you’re too big or small for the system. It’s an investment that has been worth every penny. It’s an investment that will really help grow your business in different ways.

Before we bought the system, we looked at all the testimonials, we watched all the videos, and we read all the reviews. A lot of times you think everything is made up and it’s just a video they made. I can confidently tell you now that it’s 100% real. Everybody’s experience is absolutely real.

We’re so happy that we decided to go with Axon and so happy we weren’t scared about this big system for our tiny little company. We’ve come to realize Axon has been our biggest ally in growing our company to where we are now. As we continue to grow, Axon continues to grow with us. It’s a system that we will probably never see the full potential of, because it’s just that big. But at the same time, it’s that small, you know?

It’s a great thing, and I would tell that to anybody who was looking into it.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AXON PAYROLL

“We switched the way our drivers get paid. We are able to track their routes and pay them by how many miles they did, how many picks they did, and any additional drops or stops that require payment. The system automatically does that. Now everybody knows what they’re going to get paid. There aren’t any questions.”
– Ricardo Tello, XOCO Transport

Axon’s payroll software seamlessly combines your trucking and accounting records. Gone are the days when you had to manually review the driver records and re-enter the information into your payroll program – Axon does it for you.

Once a driver is assigned to an order, the system tracks their hours, sending the information directly to payroll. Driver pay is listed on the payroll register and flows through automatically to the driver settlement.

The system handles US and Canadian payroll. It can also help you calculate overtime hours as well as mileage-based incentives.

Entering a new employee is quick and easy thanks to the employee templates that list standard transaction types for each of your employee groups. For example, you may have a standard entry for toll fees for drivers and a pension plan for office staff.

There’s no need to update each individual pay record when you make changes to the overtime rate or health benefits. Information entered on the Update Employee Payroll screen will automatically update all the relevant employee payroll records.

The Axon system compiles the relevant information for government payroll forms and reports at the click of a button. Whether you’re submitting 1099s, W2s, or T4As, Axon simplifies the task.

Axon Software