INCREASED OUR FLEET BY 3 OR 4 TIMES
“We have an intermodal division that services North America with CN and CP and the CSX Railroad and we’re running 3 or 4 times the number of trucks that we were when we started with Axon — with the same number of office staff!”
Jones Transportation Inc. of Edmonton, AB are a full-load flatbed carrier serving Western Canada since 1999. Robert Jones, President, spoke to us about their Axon Software experience.
My names Robert Jones, President of Jones Transportation Inc. out of Edmonton, AB.
Tell us a little about Jones Transportation.
We are a primarily a full-load flatbed carrier serving the four western provinces, Manitoba to British Columbia. We have an intermodal division that services North America with CN and CP and the CSX Railroad. We have our own containers that we move around on the railroad at points from here to Florida to California to Texas to New Brunswick. And we also have a logistics division.
What were some of the things that convinced you to go with Axon Software?
I had looked at quite a few systems for quite a while and was actually almost ready to commit to one when you guys approached us. And that changed everything for us. Obviously, you won us over, and we went from there.
We liked the dispatching in Axon, the way the screen was laid out, how you could change the truck’s status, and things like that. And the fuel download was very important to us. Before Axon, we were doing a lot of things manually on spreadsheets and paper. We had a really good set up, but there was just a lot of work involved. Every piece of paper had to be gone over five different times. We were all having to go over each other’s work all the time to get the different information we needed from every single trip. I would sit here with a calculator analyzing every single order. I don’t have to do that anymore. I just press a key for a report, and it tells me everything I want to know.
One big thing that I like is that we can analyze just which owner operators are doing what for us. I can compare them on a month-to-month basis and get a really good idea of who’s toeing the line out there for me and who’s just filling up space.
We thought we knew where our money was going before, where every dollar went. But if you’re a micro manager like I am, this system will do tenfold what you could ever do without it. You just have to ask it for what you want to see on any given day, on any given piece of equipment, or customer, or driver, and it’s all there.
You might think you know it in your head and have a good idea of what’s going on, but until you go in and look at it and know exactly what’s happening, you really don’t. Now it gives me peace of mind; it really does.
Tell us about your experience in dealing with Axon Software.
When you look at software, you’re a little hesitant at first. Everyone who wants to sell you something promises you the world and, as you know, they don’t always deliver on that. But I think you guys have.
We had a lot of questions at first. It was sort of a painful process for about a week, but every time we picked up the phone, you guys always stepped up to the plate.
Even now, we still run into issues because it is just such a vast system that you’re constantly running into new things, and we have no complaints. Your staff are very knowledgeable. We haven’t come away from anything without having a solution, so it’s been good.
How has doing your fuel tax changed?
Before we used a spreadsheet, and I would physically break down every trip manually and then compile all that at the end of three months. We were taking fuel bills and taking mileages and breaking down borders and everything. Even the GST was something that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Now it’s just done. It’s there.
Has Axon Software relieved some of the stress in your business?
Definitely, from my end. I was very reluctant to give up what I thought was control over our business by micro managing everything, but, you know, the Axon system will really micro manage everything for you and probably more so than me or four people like me could do. Especially now that we’re running 3 or 4 times the number of trucks that we were when we started with Axon. We definitely have come a long, long way in a very short time.
Have you had to add any staff to grow like that?
Just on the dispatch side. I definitely know that we could not manage the way we did things before at our current level without me working 33 hours a day.
Has Axon Software affected your relationship with your owner operators and drivers?
Yeah, it’s just a super tool. They get an order number from us, and, when they get paid, they know what they’re getting paid for. Their fuel is spelled out for them very clearly. We’re able to take all maintenance bills and so on, scan them into our system, print it out for them, and there are really no questions anymore. I used to have to go over that stuff with them; they didn’t understand it. We were very thorough, and we kept very good records, but I guess just the way we presented it sometimes didn’t come across.
Now we can charge back the owner operator’s insurance and plates automatically and not have to worry about it. Once it’s in the system, we never have to do it again. We set up their monthly payment, and we just forget about it.
If a driver is set up correctly on the day he starts, you really do little more than pay him after that. And now when we get a maintenance bill, we just charge it to the unit. Boom, it’s done. It’s scanned into the system; it’s in their file; they get a copy of it when they get paid. If they ever need a copy of it again, we have it at the touch of a button.
Has Axon Software helped you with invoicing?
It’s probably saving us at least a week in turning around our paper and getting the invoices out, and that’s very important.
Has working with Axon Software helped you improve your relationships with your customers?
Oh, absolutely. If a customer wants a proof of delivery from six months ago for any given reason, it’s there at a touch of a button. If I have a question about some damage or arrival times or departure times, I can just pull that information off the screen in two seconds. Before we would have to dig through the filing cabinets and hope that the particular piece of paper that we were looking for wasn’t misfiled – which happens when you’re doing things manually—and now it’s just all there, at the touch of a button. Three seconds flat.
How have you found the support for the software?
Obviously, when you’re in the middle of an order or transaction or a dispatch dilemma, because of your lack of knowledge about how to deal with the problem, the last thing you want is to sit there scratching your head and feeling like you’re left on your own. But we’ve always put a call in, and, if we don’t get someone right away who can help us, within five minutes, they’re right there fixing it. You guys have been really good about that, and we certainly appreciate it.
What do you tell other people in your industry about Axon Software?
I’ve been in this business basically forever. My Dad’s a truck driver, and I’ve worked in this business since I was old enough to do anything with my Dad. It’s been my career, and I know a lot of people in this business. I know a lot of guys who own trucking businesses, and I’ve always said, when you’re ready to take a step into the big leagues, this is where you need to be – with Axon.
I was talking to one of our customer’s partners who runs a trucking company that works with us, and he tells me that he’s been looking at some systems. And I said “You know what, just trust me and take a look at Axon. Just have a look at our system and what we do here.” I said, “You just gotta try it; don’t try anything else till you try this!