Cal-Les II Transport of Green Bay, Wisconsin has been in the transportation business for over 20 years. They haul reefer trailers throughout the US, and also operate local dump trucks. In this interview, Pat Ashton spoke to us about their Axon Software experience.

Tell us about your experience dealing with Axon Software.

My experience dealing with Axon has been nothing but wonderful. I’ve worked with several different software packages over the years. I’ve been in the transportation business for 20 years and since I’ve been working with Axon, I have learned more than enough about the system and you’re always updating it, so that makes it more wonderful. Every time I come up with a suggestion, it goes into the system and they implement it, which I think is great because when you use a lot of different software packages, you see things that help you in your everyday work that could help somebody else too, so I like that.

And I like the fact that I can create any report I want in any field I want, whether it be payroll, payables, receivables, financials, fuel taxes, anything. That’s wonderful because I get a full picture of what’s going on. I can automatically pull up a fuel report and see a mistake. When I print my weekly or daily reports, if something’s been double entered, or there’s been a mistake, I can see that right away.

I like the fact that it integrates into payroll so nicely. I mean, you’re pretty much eliminating one position there. When you can dump from the dispatch into payroll, you’re eliminating that middle person between the guy that takes apart the paperwork and stuff. You’re eliminating that person because everything is there. And that’s wonderful.

What areas in your company have benefited the most from using Axon Software?

I would say our financial, because it gives us a more complete picture of what is actually being spent on the trucks, and what it’s actually costing us to haul somebody else’s freight. I can see that we’re not making the money that we should be making pulling for this customer, and we can either go to that customer and tell them we need an increase in rate or not use them anymore.

And that’s a wonderful thing. When the dispatchers are working on brokerage loads, it really helps because I can actually explain to them why we have to have the rate that we have to have when taking a broker load.

How has Axon Software improved your customer relations?

We can find anything in a minute. We’re paperless, so when the drivers come in and they hand in their paperwork, we scan everything into the system. When I get a title or anything from our equipment, or big invoices that we’ve paid, I scan it into that piece of equipment so then if there’s ever a question of when did we have that done and where did we have it done, all I have to do is go into the computer, pull up that truck and see what attachments are there. It’s wonderful for that.

We scan all their paperwork. People call up and ask for a POD, we don’t fax it, we email it to them. I can’t read faxes half of the time when they come through, especially for POD’s, so it’s wonderful that way. I think it’s so efficient. You don’t have to try to find something in a file or in a drawer or something. It’s just a matter of less than two minutes on an email and it’s done.

What would be the number one benefit that your company has received from Axon Software?

I think the fact that everything goes in it. It’s all one system. I think that’s the best part, because even work orders from the garage go in there. I can bill all my stuff–my garage work as well as my dump truck work as well as my dispatch work–all in the same system.

If one of your peers in the industry asked you about Axon Software, how would you describe your experience?

I would say that I’ve never talked with people who have been so courteous, polite and informative. I’ve never heard someone say, “we can’t do that,” or “we won’t do that,” or “our systems not built that way, too bad!” They always write down what I’m asking for, and they get back to me. And always very nice. And it’s nice that I get flyers from the company every month telling me what’s going on with the customers, and new reports and that. Every quarter at least, we get a new update with things that people have added to the system and suggested to do for the system.

With all the ongoing improvements and updates, how have you found the training from Axon Software?

I get complete training. Any time I want training in a special area, I get it. I pay the monthly fee, and I would never give that fee up. It is so worth it because one day, two hours with my IT guy trying to figure out what I screwed up would pay for my monthly maintenance, and, every time I hire somebody new, they get training. Every time there is something new added on that we don’t understand right away, (although it’s pretty self explanatory what the updates are and what they do), all we’ve got to do is call and ask and it’s taken care of right there. And they [Axon] don’t care how many times we call back.

All of the Axon Software applications are totally integrated, in real time, meaning that when you enter something once, it instantly updates all of your programs. How do you find this has benefited your company?

Well, my favorite integration is our fuel. We use TCH fuel and that integrates right into the system. We can download that information any time, and it comes right into the system. And it doesn’t just go into the fuel, it goes into the fuel tax form so that I don’t ever have to enter fuel into my fuel tax again. I mean, if you’re a company with over 50 trucks, that’s eliminating a position right there.

The computer will do your miles, and it will bring in your fuel, and it will put it in accounts payable right away and into accounts receivable and it breaks it down to reefer fuel, expense for your transaction fees, and any category that you have on your TCH chart. That’s wonderful. There’s nothing I have to go to another program for. Everything’s all in one.

Just the integration alone, like I said, is enough to eliminate one position. If you have over, say, 50 trucks, you’re eliminating a position in payroll, in fuel tax. There are a lot of positions being eliminated. You hate to say that, but it’s very true.

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