AXON SOFTWARE IS ALWAYS IMPROVING THEIR PROGRAM
“Axon keeps creating shortcuts and not in a bad way but in a good way that helps the guys do things more efficiently and faster.”
Renaissance Transport Ltd. is a fairly young company that has been growing steadily since 2007. After reaching a certain size, they realized that the old ways were not scalable and looked for software that would work with their growing ambitions. In 2010, they chose Axon Software. We recently spoke with Gerald Brown to see if he believed they made the right move.
Hello, my name is Gerald Brown. I am President of Renaissance Transport Ltd.
Tell us about your company.
We own and operate 18 of our own company trucks, and we double in size in the summer to about 36. We specialize in asphalt oil and liquid fertilizer feed.
We have another branch in Fargo, North Dakota, and with Axon we have been able to bring all of the administration into our main office here in Brandon, Manitoba.
We started off small in 2007 and built the company by two trucks per year. My brother-in-law owns and operates New Hope Transport Ltd. out of Winnipeg, and I talked with him about software. When we got up to 7-10 trucks, we thought that maybe we should start looking at other software and means of tracking things: customer requests, how many loads we have done, tracking where they are, order numbers, and that type of thing. We started using Axon in about 2010.
We needed a system that would give us the ability to go back in time and find things, and Axon has helped us immensely in that. We have been able to grow on a regular basis without adding more people on the administration side or in our dispatch.
Are you able to get the reports you need in Axon Software?
The reports that we are looking at are loads that have been done in the past. History, our equipment, our driver reports, mileage reports, fuel tax, the list goes on and on. Basically, every aspect of our trucking business, and we have been able to do it.
One of the biggest things that I find is payroll. I can do payroll for our company in Fargo as well, together with owner operators, and manage it all in one day from my office here.
Prior to Axon Software would it have taken longer to do things?
Absolutely, because before it was spreadsheets. We were doing everything manually, whereas now it is a click of a button and the information is there. Once you put the mileage into the mileage table, once you put the rates into the rate table, those are things that help us immensely as far as consistency of billing, consistency of mileage for the drivers.
Has Axon Software given you more freedom?
Axon has helped us a lot by giving us the ability to travel and be on the road with a laptop. We can go into the system and see what is going on any time – looking at financials, looking at payables, receivables, and dispatch. I think that is the biggest thing.
We still spend a lot of time in the office, but we can leave. We do all the payroll for the companies between my wife and myself. We can leave in between payrolls, come back, and have the payroll done in a day.
It has given us a lot more freedom to look at the whole picture. If you have dispatchers in the system entering information, that information is all compiled into one, versus if everybody is sitting there with a notepad writing down where trucks are and where they are going to be. Nobody could really get access to that until you all sat in the same room and put your books together.
With Axon, receivables, payables, dispatch, maintenance, expense reports, everything is all compiled into one.
Has Axon Software changed the way you do your fuel tax?
It has given us a history, month by month. We just need to go in and audit what is being done from the dispatch end on through to the mileage side, and it can be done in a day.
How do the drivers and owner operators like their statements?
They love it because it’s simple. It shows empty miles. It shows loaded miles. It shows waiting time. It shows everything. Everything is done in layman’s terms and they can understand what they are getting paid.
When we hire somebody, we can sit down with them and show them in theory what they are going to be paid, and how we are going to pay it. When they get their settlement, they can see exactly what they are supposed to be getting.
Has Axon Software changed the way you do your invoicing?
Yes, everything comes in on the weekends – all our bills. We invoice every customer for every load that happened the week before. By the following Tuesday, every seven days, our invoices are up to date.
Another thing is being able to track our cash and our receivables to see where we’re at.
Has your fleet increase affected your staff size?
There are only really two full time admin. people here. I would say that without Axon, we would be looking at probably at least another two people in admin. helping us with invoicing, payables, receivables, just to manage what we are doing.
Axon has saved us somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year in wage expenses. Our fleet can go from 18 to 36 to 50 and it wouldn’t matter right now with the way we are set up with Axon.
I have been able to do a lot of cross training. We are a family-run business, so between Cathy and myself we manage our payables, receivables, our payroll, and we have an assistant who is cross training between the two of us right now.
How has Axon Software increased your productivity?
Productivity is number one. I can spend more time looking at what everybody else is doing without being buried in the books constantly. After this last payroll, I have a list of things in dispatch that need to be changed.
I can see everything that they are doing, the mistakes and the good things that are happening as well. It is really helping me fine-tune. I can keep improving things and I have the time to do it.
Has Axon Software helped you manage your Fargo location?
I can see on a daily basis everything that is coming in. We control all our payables and all our receivables online with Axon. I can pay all my bills through the bank, and I can invoice all of my customers on a PDF file right through Axon. It goes directly to the customer and then we have everything set up as direct deposit, so mail isn’t an issue.
We scan everything in that needs to be paid, and then it gets input into the system here and dealt with. I’m in control.
If one of your peers in the industry asked you about your experience with Axon Software, what would you tell them?
I have been questioned about that quite often and I tell them Axon is what we are using. I think Axon is so in-depth that even after five years I don’t know if you can learn everything that there is to learn.
Axon is always improving their program, and I’m sure that my guys in dispatch know more about the dispatch system than I do because they work in it all the time. They’re always trying to find shortcuts, which is human nature.
Axon keeps creating shortcuts and not in a bad way but in a good way that helps the guys do things more efficiently and faster.