HOW DID BDS GROUP INC. GROW FROM 11 TRUCKS TO 80 IN LESS THAN 6 MONTHS WHILE ONLY ADDING 3 STAFF?
“WITH THE GROWTH WE'VE HAD, AXON HAS PAID FOR ITSELF TOTALLY WITHIN MONTHS.”
I’m Kyle Gallaugher, Operations Manager with BDS Group Inc.
Tell us about your company.
Our trucking involves heavy haul, picker work, hauling heavy equipment, compressor buildings, anything that’s skidded or can be craned on, and we do fluid hauling. We operate everything from heavy trucks, from 6-axle all the way up to 60-axle, and picker trucks, from 45-ton all the way to 250-ton.
We operate out of Camrose, Alberta, and Watford City, North Dakota, where we do heavy haul and also have a fluids division.
The company was started in 1978 by our current owner Bill Simons with one truck, hauling a little bit of everything. He ended up getting into the fluids division. Bill had built his company into around four to five trucks. He moved into Camrose around 2000,and in 2018 he moved to North Dakota to set up the heavy haul and fluids division there. He left the general managership to his sons Ryan and Michael, and they’ve grown the company to where it’s at today.
When did you start using Axon?
We went live with Axon on July 1 of this year. The experience has been great.
Before, we used to essentially do everything piece by piece. The tickets would come in one at a time. They would have to go through three sets of eyes before the actual invoice got processed.
Now, with Axon, it’s coming directly from the driver. They don’t even have to come into the office to drop off the paperwork. It’s uploaded through the Axon Link app, and we process the bill in a matter of minutes.
Tell us about your growth since you started with Axon.
When we started with Axon, we were running about eight trucks, from picker trucks to heavy trucks with winch and so forth. Now we are at about 30 trucks of our own, and we went from three owner operators to about 50 owner operators.
With all that growth, how has Axon helped you keep up in the office?
When we had about eight trucks, it took about four very busy people to maintain the production within the office. Now that we’ve grown to nearly 80 trucks, we are utilizing only seven people in the office to keep up and stay at a good pace with the paperwork.
I think if we didn’t have Axon and had the growth that we have had, we’d probably be looking at needing about 15 to 20 employees. With the growth that we’ve had, Axon has paid for itself totally within months.
Has the Axon driver app sped up your invoicing?
Before Axon, I could have drivers on the road for seven, eight days at a time and that field ticket couldn’t get processed and invoiced out until the driver got the ticket back to the office. With the Axon app, we’re able to upload the ticket in a matter of minutes once it’s completed. And it gets invoiced out 10-15 minutes down the road, which makes the customers incredibly happy.
We’re getting our invoices out about a hundred times faster than we were. From the time the ticket came into the office to the time it was seen by X amount of eyes, it was a good hour for that one invoice to turn around with all the different programs that we had. Now you’re looking at about five minutes.
One of our projects is about 900 kilometers [560 miles] from our home base here. We have 20 employees out there right now that are working on the project, handing in daily tickets.
Without Axon, there would’ve been no way to collect those tickets without a truck going through, picking up those tickets and bringing them all back manually, having employees out there, or an office out there. Invoicing would’ve been way behind, hurting our cash flow.
With Axon, it’s allowed us to get all of those invoices back without having to actually have the physical invoice. Our customers love it. We’re able to flip over the invoice in the same day which helps us get our invoices out to them quicker.
Most of our customers have a 30-day limit. If it’s not invoiced within 30 days, they don’t pay it. Axon has been critical in us keeping up with the billing aspect.
Has COVID affected the way you guys are doing business?
You would think COVID would slow us down, but actually our industry has picked up quite a bit. With COVID, there’s lots of safety regulations. So it has become quite handy not having the foot traffic through the office with the drivers.
All the paperwork can come through the Axon program in order to get it billed out quickly, reducing the personal interaction with customers and drivers.
How has the driver response been to the Axon Link app?
The Axon driver Link app is probably one of the most user-friendly apps that are out there. There is a wide range of drivers age-wise. Guys that have basically zero experience with apps and so forth. And they are able to use it quite easily. It is a very user-friendly app, and all the drivers are extremely happy with it.
Has Axon helped with the management of drivers and owner operators?
The drivers like their statements a lot more. Prior to Axon, BDS didn’t really give detailed statements. Now they are very detailed. They know mileage-wise, or flat rate-wise, or percentage-wise exactly how much they’re getting, and it’s all broken down. It’s excellent for them.
Axon has helped us manage our owner operators wholeheartedly. We used to only run two or three owner operators. Now we’re running about 50 owner operator trucks, and we’ve set them up just like employees. They all get the same Axon Link ID app, the pay benefits, and so on. It has allowed us to manage them 100 percent better than anything we had before.
You also have Axon’s Work Order/Shop system integrated with your trucking and accounting system.
Our shop does third-party mechanical work and our guy is able to invoice customers directly without building extra work orders or extra tickets. Everything is built in there rate-wise, which makes it way easier for the mechanics to fill out that work order and put prices to parts and labor.
It just makes our life a lot easier having everything through one program.
Before we were running about six different software programs for all aspects of the business. Axon has allowed us to go down to one software program that does everything and it’s made everybody’s life a lot easier.
For our owner operators, it’s a one-stop shop with us. They’re able to go through our shop, get equipment statements, get pay statements, get any other type of statement or transaction that they essentially require instead of going to seven different businesses to get each of those statements.
BDS has gone from 11 trucks, including company and owner operators, to 80 trucks in less than six months, and we have only added an additional three staff members to handle the paperwork, the payroll, everything.
If we didn’t have Axon software, we probably would’ve been looking at adding about 10 to 15 extra employees in order to keep up with the production that we’ve put out.
AXON GOES MOBILE FOR ENHANCED TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION
You’ll save time and avoid miscommunication if you use the Axon Truck Link mobile app. The app is integrated with the Axon software so information sent or received will be available throughout your trucking and accounting system.
Speed Up Your Operation
Send new orders to your drivers straight from the dispatching screen.
Drivers can send PODs back to the office as soon as they’re obtained. You’ll be invoicing the order before the driver is even back in the office.
Templates are a convenient way for your drivers to create new orders or tickets and send them back to the office.
Import fuel tax jurisdictional miles thanks to GPS tracking.
Stay In Touch
Need to contact one of your drivers? Send them a free-form message, complete with attachments, from either the Driver Call-Ins or the Driver Service Hours screens.
Keep customers informed on the current status of their shipment with up-to-date information from your drivers.
Drivers can view a map or get directions from their current location so long as you include latitude and longitude in your messages.
Capturing and transmitting images and signatures is fast and easy with the Axon Truck Link app.
The Axon Truck Link mobile app will run on both Android and Apple phones and tablets.