“IF WE’RE GOING TO GO FURTHER, WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING... WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITH THE PREVIOUS SYSTEM WE HAD ... WE’D HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND IN THE DUST.”
Tricor Transportation Inc. is a sizable logistics company with offices in multiple Canadian cities offering a variety of services to clients across North America. We checked in with Larry Lakey and Doug Stewart at their head office in Nanaimo, BC.
I’m Doug Stewart, General Manager with Tricor Transportation. We are located in Nanaimo, B.C. We’ve been in business since 2003 and we’ve been with Axon for the last two years.
Larry: We started out with some trucks, but we didn’t have enough trucks to really give us any purchasing power for any supplies or anything, so we thought we could do better as just a brokerage. We got out of the trucks and trailers and we are strictly brokerage now.
Tell us your experience with Axon Software.
Larry: The experience with Axon has been very positive. We went back and forth for about a year or more and it took us a little time to reconcile the cost. We came to a point where we said, “If we’re going to go further, we have to do something.” We felt we could reduce staff, or at least maintain the staff we had, and increase our business. So, we decided that’s what we would do with Axon. So far, we are happy.
Doug: The support is really good. I really enjoy talking to them and most of them are very helpful. If there’s something that one of them doesn’t know, they get right back to you with somebody else that is familiar with it. Some of the things that we’ve asked are accounting issues and they’ve been very, very helpful.
Larry: You have to get in and you have to use it and do it. I don’t do enough within the system myself. Doug is more hands-on, the girls in the office are more hands on. We’ve brought Toronto within the company and into the system. They can do their own bookings and this kind of thing. We have offices in Calgary, in Vancouver, and in Seattle. We’ve added all these into Axon. We couldn’t have done it with the previous system we had. It would have been so cumbersome, you know? We’d have been left behind in the dust.
Doug: It’s helped us immensely in terms of invoicing, and in cutting down the time it takes to get the invoices out. We’re not missing invoices. We are able to do the reports and figure out which ones have to be invoiced, and which carriers haven’t sent in their paperwork, and things like that. It’s been very positive.
Before Axon we were missing invoices. The system that we had before was more cumbersome. You’d have to go back and you would have to go through the whole paper trail. Now it’s all electronic and it’s all done properly and yes, it does make a difference.
Have you been able to streamline or increase your business?
Larry: In large measure, yes. We are getting a better perspective as to what we’re doing and where we want to go next, and we have increased our business.
Doug: Because of Axon, we could probably in all honesty double the business without increasing staff. Without anything. Maybe even triple it.
What type of a return on investment have you seen with Axon Software so far?
Doug: I would think that with our increased efficiencies, we could have paid for it within 6 months.
DO YOU HAVE SEVERAL OFFICES? MORE THAN ONE LOCATION?
Multiple Locations – One Set of Information
Kansas Ridge Trucking has dispatchers in two different locations. Garry Evernden, the company’s president, says it was a real struggle, before Axon, trying to figure out how to manage in real-time two guys in two different places, looking after the same trucks. The Axon dispatch module gave them that ability. “The dispatcher that’s not here can remote-access our system,” Garry Evernden explains. “Both of those guys are looking at the same screen all the time and they can see what’s available immediately.”
An Integrated Database
Oculus Transport Ltd. grew by 50% with two new branches and 40 additional trucks after it started using Axon software. They only had to hire one person to handle both branches. “One admin person handles all the billing, all the invoicing, all the payables, all of the payroll,” says Bob German, VP Finance. “The information is readily available in the system. She would not have been able to do that otherwise. There would be spreadsheet hell, duplicate and quadruple re-entering in different places. That’s the beauty of an integrated system like Axon. You enter it once and then you can get it.”
More Than One Company
Some of Axon’s customers operate both a brokerage company and a trucking company. They use Axon software to run both companies, transferring orders directly from one company to the other. The trucking company is entered as the carrier on an order. The brokerage company then sends the order directly to the trucking company. The trucking company assigns equipment to the order and calculates driver pay. The brokerage company bills the customer and pays the trucking company as a carrier for taking the order. There are no delays and no duplicate entries. All the information is in the system and ready to be processed.
It’s summer and many of your employees are taking holidays. Axon software can help you record your drivers’ and employees’ vacations.
Who Is Available?
Once a driver or owner operator tells you that they’re taking some time off, you can record it on their employee or equipment record. The system will track dates when they are unavailable and will notify you when you try to assign them to a trip and order. The dates when someone is unavailable will also appear on both the dispatching screen and the calendar.
If you’re using Axon’s payroll application, the vacation pay an employee has earned will be listed on the payroll register for both the current period and the year to date. You record the time they take off on the Vacation Taken screen. This ensures that the appropriate amount will be deducted from the vacation payable account.
If your employees accumulate vacation hours, the Earned Vacation Hours report is a convenient way to review the number of hours earned by each employee and the number paid out.
Sometimes you need to pay out an employee for any vacation pay/hours they’ve earned (e.g. upon termination). Axon’s comprehensive online Help provides you with a step-by-step explanation – from entering the transaction to printing the check.
Axon software is flexible. The ticket and project management system works just as well for gravel haulers as it does for companies providing services in the oilfield.
With Axon software, organizing large projects, tracking bids, equipment, materials, and profit and loss statements for every ticket and project is as easy as it could possibly be. The system will keep track of the work that has been completed and the tasks that are not yet finished and maintain a running total of the amount that has been invoiced, the amount that has not yet been invoiced, and the total bid remaining.
You can pre-book equipment and drivers. The dispatching screen will show that they are assigned to the project for the relevant time period.
Ticket templates are a time-saver if you frequently enter the same type of information. You can also copy an existing project if the new one is very similar.
Keep all your documents in one place by adding notes and attachments and maintaining a chronological history of any issues you may have had with a project (e.g. equipment problems, delays).
You have two invoicing options. You can invoice incrementally for each ticket or group of tickets. Or you can enter a bid amount and submit one invoice at the conclusion of the project.
Ready-made report options simplify preparing an estimate, providing drivers or contractors with a copy of the dispatch information, reviewing the invoices that have been generated, or printing a list of past and current projects.