REDUCED STAFF WHILE MOVING FROM 30 TO 70 TRUCKS
"We've gone from managing 30 trucks to over 70... Managing our business with Axon is so easy and so fast that it's allowed us to reduce staff instead of adding."
AEC Trucking of Texas is a company that grows rapidly while staying lean. In just three years, they’ve gone from managing about 30 trucks to over 70. We sat down for an interview with Cesar, the general manager of the company, to learn how they use Axon to minimize their workload while being busier than ever.
I'm Cesar Cabrera, General Manager with AEC Trucking in Elgin, Texas.
My name is Cesar Cabrera. We are AEC Trucking, based here out of Elgin, Texas. We primarily haul aggregate – rock and sand – using end dump trailers and super dumps, which is pretty common for this industry.
My story in the trucking business started back in 2000 as an owner operator. We started this company back in 2006. Obviously, 2008 came and that slowed us down tremendously. But then we came back in 2015 really strong, and we’ve been growing tremendously since then.
When did you get started with Axon Software?
We started using Axon back in March 2019 because we felt like we needed a better system. We needed a system that would help us in a specialized industry with a lot of variables. We’re dealing with ticketing, invoicing, payroll, paying owner operators …
Our prior system could not do anything whatsoever for all of that. Not even invoicing. Like I said, there are a lot of different variables. You’re talking about rates for billing, rates for drivers, different rates for owner operators, leased owner operators, and brokers. Those variables were not offered by the other system.
I looked around and started researching Axon. Actually, it took me a little while to get convinced, but I started researching it and everything seemed to be just perfect for what we do. Finally, I decided to go with Axon and we’ve been with it ever since.
How has your experience been with Axon?
My experience with Axon has been fantastic. It has allowed us to be very reliable. Almost zero mistakes while billing or paying. Our drivers, or anybody that’s getting paid, get what they expect. They don’t have to worry about it. With Axon, it’s very easy and very fast to go through who needs to get paid, when, and exactly how much.
We have one customer that’s very picky as to how they’re getting their information. Our regular invoicing is basically a long list of tickets: trip numbers, ticket date, description, rate, and sub-total. With Axon, we have gone beyond that. We have broken down our invoices to tickets per day, tons per day, and fuel surcharge separately. They have everything right then and there.
It’s a very robust system. So, our experience with Axon has been just fantastic. It’s very easy, very convenient, very fast, and very powerful. It’s a powerful tool, I’ll tell you that.
Can you talk about the training and support you receive from Axon?
It’s very, very good. It’s great, I’d say that. They explain to us in detail, step by step. Now, I do recommend that whoever is going to be trained should really try to understand everything the software does. Axon is so powerful and everything is connected together, so one thing affects the other thing. Once you understand that, it’s magnificent because everything is laid out. Support and training are fantastic.
Has Axon helped you stay organized during your rapid growth over the last few years?
When we started with Axon back in 2019, we had about six company trucks – about 25 to 30 with lease operators. Now, we’re up to 16 company trucks or more – over 70 with owner operators. That’s gone from about 25 to over 70! Managing a business with Axon is so easy and so fast that it’s allowed us to reduce staff instead of adding. You’d expect the opposite with more trucks, more tickets, more stacks of paper, and more things to handle.
It’s just so easy for one person to do it, and that’s including fuel. The ticket app in Axon is so powerful that it has allowed us to get rid of a position. That saves us at least $35,000 a year, and with everything going up now I’m sure it’s more.
Without Axon, I’d say we’d need at least two more people, if not more. There are so many variables, and it gets so out of hand that it’s unbelievable. How would we handle payroll? It has to be quick because we pay one week behind. We only have a matter of days to get all this data into the system and pay everybody out. If time is not with us, that means we’d have to have more help, which is not efficient.
Has Axon helped in dealing with customers and providing information to them?
When customers call in with questions in regard to tickets, it’s so easy to answer those questions. Very quick. For instance, if they’re asking whether a ticket is assigned to the right job, we can go in and look for the ticket really fast and it will display all the information they’re looking for.
We give them their information in a matter of minutes. The same goes for an employee or a subcontractor, or anybody that has a question in regard to anything. We have all the information right there. Quick, easy, fast.
Do your drivers and owner operators like their statements?
They do. They like them because it breaks down in detail everything they need. We’ve had zero major problems. If they have a question – as a matter of fact, I had an employee wanting six months of payroll information. I got that information within a minute. It’s fast.
From the perspective of driver retention, it’s wonderful. Obviously, in the trucking industry, we have different challenges, but when you’re talking specifically about Axon, I have zero complaints.
Does the Axon Link App work well for you?
Yes. We get paperwork back very quickly. That’s part of the reason that I said instead of adding staff, we eliminated a position. We used to have a person dedicated to entering tickets. It doesn’t matter how robust the software is, somebody still had to enter those tickets.
Now with this app, that responsibility is distributed among all users, drivers, owner operators, and brokers. It’s in their best interest to enter that data correctly, because that’s how they are getting paid. So, everybody wins. The data is already there so we just go in and activate it. It’s a great tool.
Do you save time downloading your fuel bills and using Axon’s fuel system?
Oh, my goodness. It’s easy. It’s very easy going through Axon. You go in and download all the transactions. It’s already built in. What else do you want? It’s already there.
How would you compare Axon Software to what you were using before?
I can compare my experience between Axon and QuickBooks. That’s the main accounting software that small businesses have. It’s just a world of difference. In trucking, QuickBooks has nothing compared to Axon.
Axon is amazingly great compared to any other software because it not only deals with ticketing and billing, but it’s also an accounting system. Anyone who understands how Axon works is going to agree with me. Everything is already there. I can manipulate all the data that we have.
If somebody in the industry asked about Axon, what would you tell them?
I would say it’s the right tool. The trucking industry, as I said at the beginning, has so many variables. Especially when we have company-owned trucks. Think about it – we’re dealing with billing, we’re dealing with payroll, we’re paying out subcontractors, leased owner operators. Now we’re dealing with trucks and truck maintenance. You bring in all this data, put it into Axon, and from there on it is very manageable. Quick and easy.
When AEC Trucking started with Axon, we only had six trucks of our own – running about 30 total. Now we’re up to 16 company-owned trucks and we’re operating over 70 trucks, including contractors and subcontractors. At the same time, we’ve managed to eliminate one position.
Axon is a tremendous tool. It has allowed us to be very efficient. Very quick with how we manage our company.