CUT OUR INVOICING TIME IN HALF, OR MORE

"I would say Axon has probably cut our invoicing time in half, or more. There's one person whose job it is to send the invoices, and that is done almost immediately after the paperwork arrives."

Evan Erlandson
President
E2 Trucking Inc.
Altona, MB R0G 0B0, Canada
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I'm Evan Erlandson, President of E2 Trucking in Altona, MB.

I’m Evan Erlandson, the president of E2 Trucking Inc. and Red River Grain Co. from Altona, Manitoba. We run between 20 and 30 trucks. The vast majority of our business is north-south cross-border. Bulk, all hoppers.

We started in the winter of 2013-2014. We had a big crop in western Canada, and a very harsh winter, and grain needed to move. There was a real demand for cross-border bulk freight specifically at that time.

I was a local small farm kid that had worked in the grain business in a few different capacities. I saw an opportunity and, in my heart, I’m a truck driver. I love to drive, travel, and see the country. I pay attention to farms and what’s going on. I guess I put those two things together and started a trucking company with a single truck. I managed to run out of fuel on my first day on the job, but I survived that one and learned lots of lessons since then.

We’ve built really good relationships over 10 years. Axon helped us do that. It freed up the time to focus on the relationships rather than being tied to a homemade spreadsheet that doesn’t work quite right.

Tell us about how you decided to invest in Axon Software.

We started with Axon early in 2018. We were four years into business and struggling to keep up with all the moving pieces of border crossing, multiple loads per day per truck, foreign exchange, fuel, owner operator settlements, you name it.

We shopped for different software options. I remember it seeming like a hard decision for me to make at the time, and I don’t know exactly why. Because the money we spent on Axon in 2018 was some of the best dollars we’ve ever spent. No question. I would do that again in a heartbeat. The way it’s helped us grow the business has been invaluable.

How was the setup, training, and customer support?

If I had to come up with a word for it, I would say in-depth. They invested a lot of time in us. There were people in the offce that really leaned hard on the Axon support people. They still do to this day.

We don’t talk with them nearly as often anymore, but when there is a new person in the office we often say, “Call Axon. They’ll show you what you need to know and walk you through whatever the problem is. We’re still leaning on the support team and I think that’s been a huge help. We’re fairly lean. We don’t have time to train people as well as we should, so we say, “Call Axon.”

Has Axon affected how quickly you can do driver settlements?

We pay our owner operators weekly on a five-week delay. Lots of our expenses are in US dollars. All of our owner operators are paid in Canadian dollars, so Axon has helped us simplify, be very transparent about currency changes, keep track of all the information, and give us a very simple, easy-to-read and easy-to-understand statement.

When a new owner operator starts, there are a few questions in the first couple weeks, and after that the questions are almost non-existent because the statements are so simple to understand for them. It’s all right there.

In the past, there were so many moving parts with how we paid owner operators and the way their expenses flowed through the company. We take care of all their expenses. Now everything runs through Axon, and they get a statement with their income, expenses, and the various exchange rates associated with each transaction.

It’s simple. It takes a very complex business and generates a simple statement. It’s taken away all the headaches really.

Is your invoicing faster now?

I would say Axon has probably cut our invoicing time by half or more. There’s one person whose job it is to send the invoices and that is done almost immediately after the paperwork arrives. It’s a relatively seamless process. The customers love it.

It’s a cleaner, simpler process. We’re not beholden to one person because of the intricacies associated with it. We’ve had numerous people do the invoicing for us, and it’s a relatively quick thing to train somebody.

How are you finding the reports from Axon?

We use a lot of reports from Axon – the reports we could generate are endless. I use a few of them from a cash flow standpoint, overall business direction, profitability. I break things down by piece of equipment, whether it’s trucks or trailers.

There are others in the office who use four to eight reports on a very regular basis that are completely different. Those have not been hard to build and generate on a regular basis, to come up with concrete numbers that we don’t second guess at all.

How has the company grown since starting with Axon?

We were running less than 10 trucks at the time. Today we’re at 25 with hopes of adding another 10 or 15 in the near future.

With that jump to 25 trucks, we’ve added about one and a half full-time positions. One of them is a dispatching assistant and the other just a general admin person for invoicing and that sort of thing. That facilitated more than doubling the fleet.

Without Axon, we would have probably needed three or four full-time staffing positions. We have hopes of expansion and, if we doubled our fleet again, we might need another one and a half positions filled. One good person and another part-time admin person and we could run another 20 trucks.

That wouldn’t have been possible in the past. I wouldn’t have had time to dream about it because I would have been so busy pu􀀁ing out fires.

How quickly do you think the software returned your investment?

It’s hard to put a number on, but if the investment in the software was twice as much as it was it would have been a good investment on my part. I would have gladly paid twice as much as we have.

Has Axon helped improve your customer relations?

We noticed that right away. The customers didn’t know about Axon, but they recognized that their invoices looked different and there was positive feedback right away. It was more of a professional look and our accuracy in general improved very quickly. That makes everybody’s life easier. None of us have time to chase things that happened a month ago.

I would say there was a very quick, positive response from our customers.

Can you compare your experience with Axon with other companies you’ve dealt with?

I would say the service and our experience with Axon is second to none. I can’t speak as highly about anyone else’s services as I can for Axon.

I think Axon has a very good product, but it doesn’t ma􀀁er how good the product is. You’re still going to need help. Every trucking company has intricacies that are unique to their business. And that’s where Axon shines in my mind. We can call anytime and get a very quick call back from someone that’s very knowledgeable.

From my perspective as a business owner, to know that my employees have the ability to call and get good answers in a timely fashion – that’s worth a lot.

If somebody in the industry were to ask you about your experience with Axon, what would you tell them?

I refer people to Axon on a regular basis. I often talk to people all over North America that are in the same kind of business we are. I have, on a few different occasions, told them, “You should talk to the Axon people,” and I think they have. I will keep doing that. I would happily refer people to Axon.

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