WE OUTGREW OUT-OF-THE-BOX ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS
“It’s brought real-time vision, which we didn’t have before. We were a small, growing company using out-of-the-box accounting programs that weren’t industry-specific. They didn’t speak to people in the trucking industry.”
WE TRIPLED OUR REVENUES WITH AXON SOFTWARE
“Since starting with Axon, our revenues have at least tripled, yet we’ve only had to increase our staff by about 1.5 people.”
The following is a portion of an interview we recently conducted with Ray Stewart of National Shunt Service Ltd.
I’m Ray Stewart, President of National Shunt Service.
I’m Tracey Stewart, the Accounting Manager for National Shunt Service.
Tell us about your company.
We offer a turnkey service solution to distribution centers and large production facilities throughout Canada and the United States. We’re an integrated turnkey solution where we offer the drivers, equipment management, and outsourcing of management.
A key offering that National Shunt Service has that our competition doesn’t is that we’re virtually integrated with our own software application, so we are able to offer our clients a means to dispatch our drivers on a 24/7 cycle. Drivers have computers in their trucks where they receive a work queue. Dispatchers are able to monitor what’s done, what’s in progress. Everything is time stamped, which is very important because then we’re able to drive KPI’s off of this, drill down reports as the clients need them.
National Shunt Service is a family-owned and operated business. There’s myself and my two brothers, Allan and Chad. We were incorporated in 1999, but we grew into this business underneath our father and have been in it for about 20 plus years. We started using Axon a little over three years ago.
What made you start looking for software?
I had a client that was looking for information and I was having a hard time tracking it down. I think it was a bill of lading tied to the actual invoice. I found I had to jump to many different areas of our operation – find the invoice, go and find bills of lading – and nowhere did they all synchronize and kind of touch each other. I was speaking with the carrier that I used for one of the things I was looking to track down. I sent him my request and immediately that afternoon it came back – the invoice, bill of lading, copies, who signed for it – everything. I said, ‘Wow, this is wonderful.’
So, I called up this individual, Robert Jones of Jones Trucking in Edmonton, and I said, ‘If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get that so quickly?’ He explained that he used Axon. That led from one question to another.
He had a glowing response about how Axon has helped his company, and the vision and the real-time reporting, and that it allowed for growth and cut down internal office time chasing things. From there it became quite apparent that this was the software that we wanted to move forward with. I did look at other options that are sold in the marketplace. I never spoke with anybody that was a real user that gave me that kind of confidence, so really, I would have to say, as a whole, it was one of your clients who sold me on Axon.
How has Axon Software improved your office productivity?
It’s brought real-time vision, which we didn’t have before. We were a small, growing company using out-of-the-box accounting programs that weren’t industry specific. They didn’t speak to people in the trucking industry. They do a few things, but we found that they didn’t connect with the other half of the business.
With Axon we were able to kind of make the circle whole. The real-time reporting and how everything is linked in is where we’ve seen some real strong value very soon after we started using it and continuing to this day.
Also there have been some upload features that we’ve implemented. The fuel uploads, for example, is a great application that removes a lot of time and energy. We also created an upload of our American Express which cut time out of the reconciliation process and out of the management of those transactions. So those are some examples.
Has Axon Software helped you deal with growth without significantly increasing your staff?
Once the system was implemented, really, as the business grew, it was immaterial. The software is already there so we’re simply putting more numbers through it, more journal entries. It already existed, so really, we were able to take our focus off of whether our accounting piece was growing at the same rate as us. It really wasn’t an issue for us any longer. It was simply there, we knew it was there, and we grow the business, and we just know that Axon will take whatever we have to give to it that is new.
If you didn’t have Axon Software, how many more staff do you think you would have had to add?
We would definitely need more staff. I know we’ve had some roundtables here in the business when certain items come up and you say, ‘How would we have done that before Axon?’ And collectively, everyone says, ‘Yeah, how would we?’ Nobody seems to know. It’s just been there for us, and now that we’re three and a half years down the road I guess we take it for granted. We know it’s there, the support is there, and it’s able to handle what we’re doing today.
If we didn’t have Axon, I think it would be a fair statement we’d need at least one and a half more people here, so let’s say $80,000 [per year] that we’re not spending. That’s a general comment, but I think it’s pretty accurate.
Implementing a new software system is a big undertaking. How did you find the transition Ray: from Simply Accounting to Axon Software?
The transition was extremely smooth. We maybe had a couple of weeks for my people to get comfortable with it. Honestly, we have a lot of experience with different software, and we’ve developed our own software, so we would consider moving to Axon a very, very palatable curve.
Honestly, gentlemen, in general, a very, very good experience. It’s been a great help for our company. I’m not pumping up anybody’s tires here. If I didn’t think it was, I wouldn’t say so, but we have absolutely zero regrets.
We were a small company at the start and the investment – you’d question yourself, ‘Will this be good? Should we do it?’ that sort of thing. Not a minute do we ever consider that it might have been the wrong span, wrong place, wrong time. Not a minute.
Tell us about your experience with Axon Software.
Axon Software does a great job for us. We love it. Prior to Axon we were using Simply Accounting and there’s no way we could be functioning today without having switched to Axon. I was dragging my feet because I knew Simply so well, but at the same time we switched, the business grew dramatically so it was a very good thing we switched when we did, or I think we would be in a lot of trouble right now.
Axon allows us to track things much more clearly. It just does so much. If we were still using Simply, I think there would be complete chaos, because Axon tracks so many things that aren’t really accounting by encompassing everything [that we do].
Since starting with Axon, our revenues have at least tripled, yet we’ve only had to increase our staff by about one and a half people, thanks to Axon. In our industry the paperwork is pretty intense. Axon has more than paid for itself because without it we would have had to hire many more people. It was a terrific investment.
Our experience with Axon has been delightful. Axon is an extremely professional company. The software works great. I can’t say enough good things about Axon. It’s saved our life.
Most of my experience was in public accounting offices where you’re doing people’s year ends and tax returns and things like that, so I have a lot of accounting experience but it’s different working in a business that’s growing on this scale. I’ve worked here for about 10 years now, but at the start there wasn’t much there, and I set up everything in Simply.
We pulled everything into Axon and ever since we started using it, it’s been great. It’s really helped us manage the growth of our company. A lot of businesses really struggle with that, I know, I’ve seen that from the other end of it.
Our accountant still tells us our financials are very clean. When they get them, they don’t have to do a lot to them so, you know, I think it’s done really well by us.
I would and have recommended Axon to other companies because our experience has been so great. I really believe in them.
I think Axon does a great job with their software. They have a great product and their service is exceptional. Any time we have an issue, they’re there to help us solve it and they don’t stop ‘til there is a fix to the problem and everybody’s happy.