AXON SOFTWARE ALMOST CUT MY WORKLOAD IN HALF
“The trailer tracking was probably by far the biggest selling point. The built-in real-time accounting system has proven to be well integrated, and we are extremely happy with it. We’re saving time with the accountants and with the bookkeepers. They’re not having to go through fuel receipts one at a time so we’re saving them time.”
D & D Trucking and Services, Inc. of Delphos, Ohio, hauls bulk animal-feed ingredients with hopper, pneumatic and van trailers throughout a six-state area covering Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee with terminal access to railways and cross docking facilities. Jackie Mason spoke to us about their Axon Software experience.
I’m Jackie Mason, Accounting Manager for D & D Trucking & Services Inc. of Delphos, OH.
What first led you to look for software for your business?
When I started with D & D Trucking and Services, almost everything was manual and on spreadsheets. My mission when I started here was to drag them into the 21st century. And we accomplished it. I had worked at several other companies previously that were already fully functional with dispatch and accounting software, and I knew what we could potentially do with our company. My background is actually in computer science and accounting, so it helped.
What were some of the problems that you wanted to correct with a software system?
One of the biggest issues was auditing our accounts receivable. We had no way of making sure that we could account for all the loads that we had done. That was a big part of it. In the past we estimated that we missed billing between $20,000 and $70,000 a year.
Being in the agricultural industry, another big issue for us was that we are safe-feed certified. We must be able to track the product that has been in every trailer, at any time. One of the big reasons we went with Axon is because we have that capability. Before we would pull paperwork out of the files and track driver pay sheets that go back months and months. If we missed one driver who had pulled that trailer, it was not an accurate report.
Now I’ve got reports to give us the history for a particular trailer, for all trailers, for a trailer attached to a particular driver, on any given date—the criteria’s endless. We can go as far back as our system has tracked it on any trailer. We use this for our customers almost daily.
The time saving’s immense as far as tracking trailers. For example, before Axon, one of our customers needed us to go back 2½ years for the information. We had to dig stuff out of paper file boxes from storage. It was quite a project – almost two weeks’ worth of work. Now we can just run one report, and it’s there.
Another issue was making sure that we have a correct ‘load-out schedule’ for the ingredient side of the company. We have several different areas—warehousing, rail yards, and so on. We have consolidated the information into one report that the yard folks print out first thing in the morning. They know what loads are going out for the next day so they can immediately start loading trailers. Dispatch doesn’t even have to be involved at that point. We never have to worry that we’re missing loads any more. It’s saved us quite a bit of aggravation.
What made you decide to choose Axon Software over any other software you looked at or used in the past?
The trailer tracking was probably by far the biggest selling point. The built-in real-time accounting system has proven to be well integrated, and we are extremely happy with it. We’re saving time with the accountants and with the bookkeepers. They’re not having to go through fuel receipts one at a time so we’re saving them time. They look at the reports and make a couple of adjustments, and then we close the month. It’s reduced our accounting fees, and the time savings is great.
How was your experience with Axon Software training and support?
We were absolutely thrilled with the training. Our trainer was extremely easy to understand, very patient, very thorough.
Calling Axon’s tech support has been wonderful. We usually get answers right then, and if they don’t have the answer immediately, they are extremely efficient in getting us an answer, usually within a matter of an hour or two.
When you were looking at the software, do you remember the ‘aha’ moment when you said, ‘Axon’s the one I want’?
Pretty much from the first time I ran through the demo with it. But again, I had had experience with other dispatching software and accounting packages, so I knew what I was looking for. It was more a matter of persuading the group of seven other people to say, ‘Hey, this is the one.’
What would you say to somebody in your position if they were reluctant to make the move to Axon Software?
I’d say, ‘You’d be foolish to pass it up.’ A lot of people will look at other systems and say, ‘We can get this for X amount of dollars less or half the price’ or whatever. Obviously, in some cases you get what you pay for. It’s worth every penny we’ve spent.
It has helped us become more accurate overall by making sure our scheduled loads are correct, making sure that we are able to track the information that we need, making sure that our accounting system is up to date. It’s so simple to do an audit on ourselves for our payables or our receivables that I can’t even find the words for it. It’s so easy.
What has the reaction been from your drivers about Axon Software’s settlement statements?
It’s almost completely eliminated any payroll issues. Except for things we have to put in manually, like a sick day or something, it pretty much runs itself. Our payroll process has been shortened immensely.
And now I can print the equipment statements and find out if they’re making money or if they’re not making money — ‘Why is this truck all of a sudden costing us every month for this?’ or having issues with tires and so on. Now we can do something about it.
Has Axon Software helped with office morale?
I know mine’s better because I’ve gone from about 70 hours a week down to less than 50. I take care of all of the bookkeeping and the reporting functions and then I have one girl who comes in and helps out part time with logs and some things that are not affiliated with the actual Axon Software. It’s cut my job down almost in half.
It’s great for me, and it’s obviously great for our bottom line not having to add a person. We could probably add another five or ten drivers and not even blink an eye.
It has helped us with our customer relationships. When people call for information on billing issues, it’s very easy for us to find. When our customers call in and ask about loads, with the trailer and product tracking the dispatcher has the answer that they want. Within seconds you have the answer you need, and the customer’s extremely happy.
We are here to service our customers. If they’re not happy, we don’t have jobs.
The people who work for our sister company have said that, since we’ve started pulling reports from Axon in the morning, absolutely everything is running smoother. The reporting is easy to read. All the information that they need is there in a logical format for them. It has actually improved relations within our companies between the folks who work in production and loading and the office people because they’re not fighting over who missed the load, who didn’t write it down, who didn’t do this, who didn’t do that, and so on.
They’re extremely happy. We have a whole processing plant where we bag or grind products. We created a report for the production manager so that he could find out what products are in-bound for them, and he says it’s so much easier to track. He has an idea of what’s coming in. He can schedule his production around it.
It’s made an immense difference. It’s been fabulous for trucking, but really it’s affected our sister company as much, maybe even a bit more, by us making the move to Axon.
Do you feel it’s made your business easier to run?
Absolutely. Our accounting person used to spend half a day balancing the check books; now she’s got it done in half an hour. It makes a huge difference with the auditing of our receivables and payables.
It’s cut down the time that we spend on extraneous reporting to try to find information, and it actually helps us to get answers more quickly. It’s truly made us more productive and cut down the amount of hours that we have to spend in the office. That affects bottom line.
We can track the equipment and find patterns of things more quickly so that we can get a problem tractor or trailer working or get it out of the way. The software is saving us from making really expensive mistakes by making sure that our load-out schedule is correct.
We are absolutely ecstatic with this system from so many different standpoints. It’s so much easier to track information.
We’ve reduced our paper usage. We’ve reduced our time because information only needs to be entered once. Before, it was spreadsheets for this and spreadsheets for that and lists for this in multiple different areas, copying and pasting. One wrong move and you’d lose your information.