THE FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
“How one Missouri group discovered the secret to running both a trucking and a logistics company with one software system, less people, and more free time!”
Doris Morris is President of Plant Peddlers Inc., a trucking operation based out of Willow Springs, MO, and their sister company, logistics broker Plant Peddlers Express LLC. In this interview, Doris speaks to us about their Axon Software experience.
My names Doris Morris, President of Plant Peddlers Inc., based out of Willow Springs, MO.
Tell us about your company.
Both of the companies were started in 1996. It started out with just my husband, and then my husband and I together, and we’ve just increased in volume and in employees over the years. With Axon, I think we’ll be able to continue to grow and handle the growth that we’ve already experienced.
Tell us about your experience with Axon Software.
It’s been excellent, right from the time that we first dealt with our Axon rep. We got into a lot of details before we even made the decision to invest in the software, and he was very helpful walking us through it. And then when we made the decision, our trainer was excellent. We have a few things that were probably just a little bit different than some other companies, and he was—and still continues to be— excellent. If we have any questions, the people at Axon are easy to access. It’s been a good experience.
Describe some of the issues that Axon Software has helped you solve.
We didn’t have any type of trucking software program prior to Axon so it was a very time-consuming process. The dispatcher would have to type up order confirmations. Then we’d have to manually create our invoices. So there was a lot of duplication of the work. We used a lot of Excel spreadsheets, and now it’s all there in one system. We’re able to answer questions and not have to manually go and track down the paperwork, which was double the work. We had a lot of problems. We pretty much did everything manually. Now it’s a lot easier all around.
Describe how Axon Software has changed the way you do your fuel tax.
Our Safety Director does all the fuel tax reporting and equipment statements. Before we had Axon, we used Excel spreadsheets to figure out the total miles and the fuel. That was time consuming and left room for error.
Now, our operators have fuel cards from Comdata which we’re able to directly import into Axon. We’re integrated with PC*MILER, so Axon figures the miles instantly. The fuel tax reports are updated with the current rates. It saves a lot of time and decreases the margin for error that we had before.
We’re saving a lot of time! Before, we would manually take the figures off the trip envelopes (and sometimes the drivers hadn’t even put them on there properly), and then we’d enter them into a spreadsheet. It was a lot of time and work.
Tell us about your owner operator statements.
Not only do we like the detailed equipment statements, but the owner operators have commented that they are a lot easier for them to understand. And being able to enter the equipment transactions through the payables invoice helps to make sure the deductions aren’t missed. It also eliminates the double entry we had before.
Importing the file from Comdata directly has helped a lot because the fuel and owner operator advances automatically go to their settlements without all of the manual work we had to do before to try and make sure we didn’t miss them. We do our owner operator statements weekly, and Axon has probably saved us a half a day each week.
How do you find Axon Software’s invoicing process?
One of the biggest things is not only the time that it’s saving, but the invoices look so much more professional than they did before. The time spent is a lot less, and the cost is less as we don’t have to get the invoices printed anymore. Once the dispatcher enters the order, and we receive the paperwork, it’s just a matter of looking over what they’ve entered and making sure everything is correct, and we can bill it. It is very nice not to have to do all the double entry. And it looks a lot better too.
Have you noticed a change in the productivity in your office as a result of using Axon Software?
We did decrease one staff member, but it wasn’t completely because of Axon. We had someone leave, and we did not need to replace that person. We are definitely able to move more orders, but I think that the biggest thing that we’ve seen with Axon is being able to use the staff that we have more effectively. Before, we didn’t have time to do follow-up calls, and some of those things that you need to do, as effectively as we should have. With Axon, we have been freed up to be able to do more of those types of things.
Basically, we’ve dropped one staff person, and we’ve been able to improve the effectiveness of the remaining staff.
Tell us about the support that you’ve received from Axon Software.
The support has been excellent. One of the things that we like is that our support person can sign on and see what we’re seeing, and they can walk through it with us. It’s been excellent. There’s just not enough good to say about the support and the trainers. They are all excellent.
Has Axon Software helped you in dealing with your customers?
Not only with our customers, but with the carriers on our logistics side. It’s an everyday occurrence that either the customers or the carriers need to know the status of their invoices. Axon’s decreased a lot of the time spent researching because you can usually just go in and find it right away. If they don’t know the order number, there are several ways that you can access the information and help them so much faster. You don’t even need to get up and leave your desk to look up the information. It’s right there. And all the dispatch activity that’s taken place on that order is updated so that everything is right there. You can look up an order and know all the problems and everything that’s happened on it. Axon has greatly improved the time and the effort to assist the carriers and the customers.
Has that helped you grow your business?
Oh, I’m sure it has. I would definitely say that in the short time that we’ve used Axon, it’s paid back for itself with increased productivity and customer service and the decrease in errors. It is something that you get your payback from pretty quickly.
Tell us about the ease of use of the software.
I think it’s very easy to use. Once you get familiar with the screens you can go from one module to another without having to close the screen you’re in. The longer that we’ve had it, the more familiar we get with it. It’s pretty self explanatory once you start working with it, so it is very easy to use.
How would you describe your experience with Axon Software to your industry peers?
The way I already have to a lot of people – it’s great! One of the things that I like to tell everybody is that it covers everything you need from start to finish. It’s not just dispatch or just accounting. It’s the whole package, even interfacing with PC*MILER. It saves us money not having to pay someone to do our T99s and our W2s. And it cuts down the time on tax preparation.
We all tell people how much we like Axon. I would recommend it to anyone. Obviously, it’s primarily used by trucking companies with drivers and owner operators, but it’s also good for logistics companies.
Would you want your direct competitors using Axon software?
Sure. It makes everybody’s life so much easier that I wouldn’t have a problem with someone else taking advantage of it.