Newsletter-1500x650-2024-02

“We’ve been able to increase to 50 trucks without increasing our staff”

““WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO INCREASE TO 50 TRUCKS WITHOUT INCREASING OUR STAFF... IF YOU TAKE ONE PERSON’S ANNUAL SALARY OF $40-60,000 – WITH AXON YOU’LL SAVE THAT, NO PROBLEM. I WOULD SAY IT PAID FOR ITSELF WITHIN A YEAR.””

Prairie Gold Transport of Manitoba has been growing steadily since 2009 while maintaining a lean and efficient back office. We spoke with logistics and operations manager, James Dubois, hoping to learn how the company has grown and changed since upgrading to Axon Software four years prior – including their use of the mobile app for drive communication, Axon Truck Link.

Prairie Gold Transport - James

I'm James Dubois, operations manager at Prairie Gold Transport, in Winkler, MB.

I’m James Dubois. I’ve been with Prairie Gold Transport here in Winkler, Manitoba, for about 14 years since the start of the company. I’m the logistics and operations manager here.

We got going back in 2009. Dale Klassen and W. J. Siemens started the company. W. J. Siemens is a pretty big farm in the area. Dale had four trucks for sale, and he approached Siemens to buy them. Siemens presented Dale with a business opportunity to start the company and put the trucks to work.

I started here as a driver back then as well, up until probably 2015 when I moved into the office as a dispatcher. We just grew from there, so now we’re operating pretty close to 50 trucks.

Tell us about your experience with Axon Software.

We started using Axon about four years ago. At the start, it was kind of overwhelming, but the team was there to walk us through with step-by-step training. That has been awesome.

I think about a year into it, we started sending orders to the trucks through the Axon Truck Link App. That was a tremendous step up and really improved efficiencies on the dispatching end of things.

Can you talk about the training and support?

It was one-on-one phone conversations with techs from Axon. They walked us through everything, spent an hour a day on every aspect and things that we could do with the program.

We learned about things that we were currently doing that could have been done better with the program – anything from dispatching or pulling in orders, to accounting, payables, receivables, invoicing – all of that stuff.

Training from Axon I feel is more than adequate. When we click the button in Axon to contact Support, 20-30 minutes later the phone rings and somebody is there willing to help out.

They go through it thoroughly. If they need a lot of time on it, they’ll schedule a time. If it’s a simple question, they’ll resolve it there. If they don’t have the answer to build something the way we’re looking for, they get together as a team and try to figure out a solution to the problem, and they get back to us fairly quickly.

Has the company grown at all since implementing Axon?

When we started with Axon, we had approximately 35 trucks. Now we are at 50 trucks. With Axon we’ve been able to increase to 50 trucks without increasing our staff.

When we tell people about the amount of staff we have here, looking after the amount of trucks we’ve got and everything, they’re surprised. We’ve got two dispatchers, myself and another guy, one lady in invoicing, and one in payables. That’s it.

If we didn’t have Axon, being where we’re at today with 50 trucks, we would probably need four dispatchers and another two or three people in the accounting department. If we added another 20 trucks, we might need one or two more people.

Axon has definitely improved the way that the flow works out here.

Are you getting invoices out to your customers more quickly?

Basically the week of and some of them day of [delivery]. We’ve worked on our own thing in Axon using color coding and stuff with drivers on a load being dispatched, to it being delivered, to then being completed.

With color coding, she knows right away to invoice the loads. It happens pretty quickly where sometimes we used to be three or four weeks behind. It’s a little embarrassing, but some of it was as bad as five or six months.

The attachments that drivers are able to send with the Axon Link App really help too because it’s all there in real time as soon as it’s done. It keeps it all neatly organized.

How do drivers like the Axon Truck Link App for communication?

At first, they were a little bit resistant to using it because it’s one more thing that they have to do in their daily list. As time moved on, they got used to it.

A lot of them really like it. We still work with them on the attachments, making sure pictures are nice and clear and everything is where it needs to be.

The fact that they can get their dispatch and all the information they need within 40 seconds – it has really improved the speed. None of the trucks spend time waiting at all because it can be done from a laptop at home or wherever.

It saves a lot of dispatchers’ time when that information gets sent right into Axon from the drivers through Truck Link. Sometimes drivers like to chitchat, and you always get those guys, but for the most part we never really hear from a lot of them. They’ve got all their information in the palm of their hand.

Do drivers like their settlements and equipment statements?

On the owner operator side of things, I think they really do like it. It breaks down all their fuel, their expenses, and the loads that they’ve done. I haven’t really heard a lot of complaints from the owner operators on how equipment statements get sent to them.

Has Axon helped in dealing with questions from your customers?

Axon has really helped send information to our customers quickly when they request documents for a certain load, or invoices, or copies of tickets. It takes a matter of probably two to five minutes to search up what we need and send it right from Axon as an email. They get it immediately.

Do you think your investment in Axon Software has paid for itself?

I would say in the first year. It has really saved us from adding people to the company. If you take one person’s annual salary of $40-60,000 – with Axon you’ll save that, no problem. I would say it paid for itself within a year.

If somebody in the industry asked me about Axon, I definitely wouldn’t have any complaints. It’s been a good experience all in all.

INVOICING YOUR CUSTOMERS

Axon Software provides you with a full range of options to make invoicing your customers as easy as possible. You set the reports up once choosing all the relevant options, and they’ll run automatically from
then on.

  • There are a number of ways to format the layout and content of your invoices. Depending on the type of invoice you are preparing, you may want to include additional shipper/consignee information, an other charges column, a lump sum for the fuel surcharge on tickets, or columns for parts, labor, and sublet on a work order.
  • You can generate single- or multiple-order invoices and email receivables invoices in a batch.
  • A master template for invoices that occur on a regular basis is a timesaver.
  • You can import invoices from another Axon company – if, for example, you run both a brokerage company and a trucking company.
  • If you sell parts using the Work Orders application, the system will automatically update your inventory.
  • Invoices can be settled through a factor company or EDI.
Axon Software