Southern Illinois Motor Xpress Inc.
“By using Axon, we have been able to increase our fleet by as much as 50% while through attrition probably eliminating three positions”
Southern Illinois Motor Xpress hauls primarily pneumatic bulk across the United States and Canada. Over the last six years with Axon, they’ve been able to increase their fleet significantly without adding any staff, and without even needing to replace several employees who left the company. We spoke with Terry Oetjen to learn about their Axon experience.
“I am Terry Oetjen, Operations Manager of Southern Illinois Motor Xpress (SIMX). I’ve been here for roughly 15 years. I do everything from sales to the everyday running of the company.
“We have approximately 150 semi trucks specializing in the dry bulk, pneumatic industry. We do some hopper bottom work as well, but the majority of what we do is in the pneumatic world.
“We are located outside of Cutler, Illinois, about 65 miles southeast of St. Louis. We operate in pretty much a 40-state area and about four provinces of Canada.
“We began using Axon about 2006/2007, somewhere in that area.”
Has your business changed since then?
“At that time, I would say at a maximum we were at about 90 trucks. We are at 150 now, so we’ve more than 50% increased our business with Axon, and through Axon, since that time.”
What are some of the problems Axon helped you to solve?
“Axon helped us to solve some utilization of employees and streamline our payroll and our billing process.
“We have a more comprehensive software system and means of gathering real-time information to make managerial decisions on whatever it is we’re needing to try and figure out.”
Has Axon streamlined your driver and owner operator settlements?
“It has taken it from being a piece of paper and a report to ease of matching the bills of lading up with the drivers’ weekly sheets that Dispatch prepares for the billing. It’s brought it more together, I guess you could say.”
…I would say at a maximum we were at about 90 trucks. We are at 150 now, so we’ve more than 50% increased our business with Axon… Terry Oetjen
Has Axon helped with the speed of getting invoices out and collecting Receivables?
“Yes, it has helped us get things out in a much more timely fashion.
“The quicker and more concise the billing we get out to our customers, the quicker we get paid.”
Does management use revenue reporting on the equipment statements?
“We do watch that as far as how much utilization a trailer will get, or a truck will get, or a driver, however we need to break it down.
“For our 150 trucks, we have over 300 trailers. We have a lot more trailers than we have trucks, so sometimes trying to figure out where to use this trailer, where the needs are at that time – Axon has helped us out with that.”
Has Axon helped you with staffing while you increased your fleet?
“We’ve been able to increase our fleet by more than 50% and not had to really add more personnel. The abilities and capabilities of Axon have helped us to grow internally through the software instead of through people.
“I can tell you that with Axon we have probably been able to get rid of three positions. I don’t mean that in a negative light, but the efficiency that it has created has enabled us, through attrition, to not have to replace those positions.
“I would say that by using Axon, we have been able to increase our fleet by as much as 50% while through attrition probably eliminate three positions.”
If you could use your numbers, what do you think the return on investment would be with Axon?
“I would say we probably returned our money after the first two years, and it may have even been a little bit prior to that. It probably takes us two and a half to three months to recoup what we would spend in a year.”
Has Axon helped you with customer relations or to provide information that your customers need?
“I have had customers that call in and need some information. Without the ability to go and get the information from Axon, it would have been a lot more tedious effort. So, the answer to that question would be a yes.”
If someone you knew from the industry asked you about your experience with Axon, what would you tell them?
“This is funny because I was speaking with one of my customers, probably our largest customer, and he was asking me for some information. I don’t even remember what it was about anymore, but I had to get on Axon to figure it out and he said, ‘You guys use Axon?’ I said, ‘Yeah, have you heard of it?’ and he says, ‘I used to use it when I was with another company and it’s just awesome.’ It was funny because that was just on Monday.
“Anyway, yeah, I would recommend Axon and I don’t feel like I would have any reservations in saying this can work for you.”
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Twin Lake Trucking Ltd. – Flat Bed Vans, Reefers and Intermodal – East Saint Louis, IL
“If we hadn’t converted to Axon and kept with the system that we previously had, I’m sure we would have needed three to four more people to take care of all the bookwork, the papers, and the filing, and everything. This has worked out very well. And we would have run out of room too because we don’t have that much room to put new people either!” – Pat Luehder, Accounting
Maverick Express Inc. – Auto Parts Hauler, General Commodities – Battle Creek, MI
“We really had very archaic measuring systems before Axon. We would try to pull together information from numerous different sources, and it would take a long time to come up with any type of meaningful reports. Now we’re able to accurately measure, for example, our cost per mile, our revenue per mile, our revenue per equipment, our fuel economy, our maintenance expense – we’ve been able to really get our arms around those things.” – Jim Wood, President
O & I Transport Inc. – Steel Hauling, Flatbed Trucking – Dearborn, MI
“Axon allowed us to grow and lease as many trucks as we liked and didn’t hinder us with adding more costs. It didn’t limit us, like other systems we looked at would have, by saying, ‘If you have 50 trucks you pay this, and if you have 100 trucks you pay this.’ Axon allowed us to grow at our own pace and not penalize us financially for our growth.” – Mike Schofield, Vice President