OUR GAIN, AT LEAST 2X WHAT WE PAID OUT
“It has been invaluable in so many areas in our business, dispatch, the heartbeat of the business. Things are color coded and organized in a way that works and it’s just phenomenal.”
JR Kays hauls mainly food products along the US East Coast, they average 35 to 40 trucks. Lisa discusses how Axon Software reports can be customized to show just the information people need to see.
Hi, I’m Lisa Fitzsimmons, Controller and Co-Owner for JR Kays Trucking.
Tell us about the company.
JR Kay’s Trucking has been in business for five years; we’re celebrating our fifth anniversary this year with Axon. We started with my dad, Bill Morris, he and his former partner at MBS Trucking, Jim Reichuck, they started the company, brought Sue Norrad, our dispatcher over with them.
They’ve been in business combined 30 years I think, my dad actually started out as a driver for Cross it, a local refinery here in town and then had his own truck, became an owner operator and then dispatcher for a local company, a large company and then went into ownership. So, now we have JR Kays and we’ve been in business, like I said, five years now and we’ve got a fleet ourselves of 20 trucks and about anywhere from about 15 to 20 owner operators so we average about 35 – 40 trucks on any given day and large customers like Welch’s and Georgia Pacific, Bay Valley Foods, taking on new customers every day.
Our office is pretty minimal; we try to run a very tight ship because obviously the profit margins in freight and trucking are very small. So, we have in the office six people and then we have the lead mechanic and a junior mechanic, and they have their hands full with 30 trucks and 40 some trailers but, we’re growing every day.
When did you start using Axon Software?
JR Kays implemented Axon only about three months after they opened. They used large software before, that’s probably about four times the cost of Axon and what they found, the difference between them is the customization you could do with Axon. You couldn’t do it with the other software. It was very large, had a lot of pieces and it started getting so large they were actually kind of putting these modules out that they could be stand alone or they could work together, and it just made the cost unbearable.
So with Axon you could add these modules in and they automatically tie in; you can open what you need to open at the time you need to open it; reports are so customized you can have any report either do it yourself or Axon will assist and do those reports. So, we’ve been absolutely thrilled with Axon, just as far as that goes because there’s nothing we can’t do. It really does everything we need.
How has your experience been with Axon Software?
It’s been great. I think procedures in how to do things and shortcuts so when you try to figure things out and you go to the help screen, which is very comprehensive, it’s very good, it’s very efficient.
I have 30 to 40 customized reports in Axon that I use. I’ve redone our financials so that we can have categories specific for our accounting and then I can have another set of financials that work for me, so I can see all the detail. I’m very particular and specific, so if I have 20 tractors, I want to see the detail on 20 tractors. My accountant just wants to see equipment so it’s kind of nice that I can have a couple sets of financials like that. Our bank wants to know the detail of certain things; I can have a set for them that shows them the detail they want to see. That’s something that you really don’t get with a lot of software’s.
What sort of problems has Axon Software been able to help your company with?
Dispatch is probably the biggest thing for that I mean just having the organization, being able to know physically where the trucks are if you click on maps in dispatch, you can actually see a map of our region, which we run the east coast. We can see exactly where our trucks are, where our trailers are, so if we have any dropped trailers at any particular location, it will show us how many dropped trailers, so we can always have our finger on the pulse, so to say, of where everything is at all times. That was a huge increase for us, just being able to know where everything is at all times. And then tying that all in to the drivers, so then you know exactly where the drivers are and who is in what area so if you have something cancelled or all of a sudden a customer calls and they have a particular need, you know right away where you have a truck or a driver that’s capable of handling that load.
How has Axon Software helped you communicate with your drivers?
Right now we communicate mostly just through phone, texting, email, faxing; each driver has their particular way they want to receive their information, but they’re in contact with dispatch at least, at a minimum two times a day. So, they call in first thing in the morning and check in and then they call again at the end of the day.
Has Axon Software helped with the way you do fuel tax?
Love Axon’s fuel tax and we’re actually going to be audited here in about four or five weeks.
How do you like the fuel downloads?
Like them a lot. They’re very smooth for us; they’re very accurate.
How do you like the fuel surcharge going back to the owner operators?
Perfect, absolutely perfect, and we can pass on and change things so if we get an extra discount, we could actually go in and change those amounts to reflect the actual discount once the import came in so it’s nice that things don’t come in and they’re locked in. We can work with that a little bit and offer the additional discounts.
Do your drivers and owner operators like their settlements?
They really like the way they’re laid out; they like the fact that they can see their miles so – I mean one thing that owner operators sometimes ask for but I think they’ve kind of gotten accustomed to is that rate per mile, they’d like to see what their revenue is and how many miles they ran and what’s that bottom line.
How has Axon Software helped with invoicing?
It’s really good. I like the fact that you can toggle back and forth between order and invoice. That makes it really helpful. You don’t have to go out; it makes it so straightforward and easy. You’re able to have all the different accessorial charges and things for each customer.
How is factoring with Axon Software?
Great. We, again, master negotiator – we have the best rate in trucking probably with our factoring company and you can go in there and change that; we don’t have a reserve; we used to when you set up those initial contracts you have pretty high factoring rate, you have a reserve, Axon allows you to go in and set those and if that changes, every year I’d go in and renegotiate that contract so every year I could change it in Axon just like that and everything would reflect, very easy.
We’re able to go in and pull receivable reports specific for what we call in house and outside so we actually set up JR Kays as a factoring company as well so anybody that we direct bill it goes through the JR Kays factoring and then we have our other factoring company that’s set up separate. We can create customized reports so that we have exactly what goes out to each factoring company. So, we know in house what needs to be mailed out from here and what needs to be downloaded to the factoring company. Those reports are invaluable.
How have the custom reports helped you manage your business?
I think I have reports on every single thing and let me just say, this new thing, Executive Briefing, I just happened to stumble across that about two months ago. Fabulous.
If you didn’t have Axon Software, how many more staff members would you need?
I can’t imagine any less than three and probably that is because I’m a Type A personality, obsessive compulsive and everything, is visual to me that I would have this enormous Excel spread sheet. I wouldn’t trust it to other softwares, I need to see, which is what Axon allows – you can see the date, you can see the amounts – everything is right there.
From a return-on-investment point of view, how quickly would you say Axon Software would have paid for itself?
Wow! I mean it definitely did pay for itself along the way by all means. Now we’re in the just maintenance end of things and we definitely get our money’s worth, so I mean to say that it paid for itself, it paid for itself every month we had it that we paid the purchase price on it. So, there was no cost to us by any means. Our gain, at least two times what we paid out would be the gain on that.
How has Axon Software helped you improve your customer service?
Oh! Probably the reports is the main thing, like I was saying if we look into a certain area, then we know when we go and negotiate with that customer, what’s our leverage, can we keep our rates kind of consistent with where we’re at or do we see the area’s not very saturated and, we can tell by loading and delivery times.
Through Axon we can pull a report for that to see what it costs us in time. Are our drivers sitting there for four hours, to get unloaded? Now they’ve just lost a half of a day, maybe even a whole day, so we calculate that into our fixed costs, so it gives us leverage when we go up there to talk with the customers. Do we need to increase our rates, or can we leave them, or do we have room to lower them to help them out? And sometimes that does happen so I’m sure our customers really appreciate it.
How do you compare Axon Software support with other vendors that you’ve worked with?
I would say, definitely right up there. Axon support is phenomenal, I mean they’re very good about getting back. I can email, I can send a message through Axon directly; a lot of times I email support if it’s going to be something in general and I go through Axon itself and ask for a phone call back or email back, I usually hear back with an hour, but if I call directly, I usually get a call right through.
How would you describe the ease of use of the software?
It is easy to use, especially as you break down each module, so if you go into dispatch and you have the purpose of dispatching trucks and assigning drivers and lanes and pulling what you need to pull for order entry, it’s very easy to use.
If somebody in the industry were to ask you about your experience with Axon Software, what would you say?
Highly recommend it, absolutely. it has been invaluable in so many areas in our business, dispatch, the heartbeat of the business. Things are color coded and organized in a way that works and it’s just phenomenal.
I mean just absolutely invaluable and then when you come into the financial side and start pulling the pieces of accounts receivable and payable and fuel taxes and each individual, I couldn’t imagine. We’ve looked at different things, they have nothing on Axon. I just can’t even imagine breaking that out so, yeah, absolutely recommend it highly.