“This is crazy!” complained Sales Guy for the umpteenth time to his friend and associate, the head Software Geek. “Every company I deal with wants to computerize their operations, but, at the end of the day, none of the software we sell will even come close to solving their problems! It’s completely frustrating!”
“I know,” replied Software Geek. “Most of the software on the market today is garbage. But the problem is even worse than that. The software development tools available to create application software are complete crap. So, what are we going to do about it? Let‘s stop complaining, get to work—and change the world!”
That was in 1982. That conversation, and the challenge it inspired, created what has become the premier developer of software for the trucking industry in North America, as well as a network of over 10,000 software developers worldwide using software development products created by Axon.
Ken Sparrow and Andrew McKinlay, the Sales Guy and the Software Geek, built Axon with a commitment to excellence of both the software products they developed and the level of service provided to the users of those products.
Their earliest product, Lucid (a powerful but easy-to-use information management system), eventually inspired C4, an object-oriented software development system that enabled them to provide extensive, custom-tailored applications for a wide variety of clients, in almost every industry imaginable.
But they didn’t stop there. They continued their drive for excellence by constantly investing resources in ever better, more useful software systems, a commitment that continues today.
Many of Axon’s earliest clients were in the trucking industry. And the demand for their services to trucking companies became so great that, in the spring of 1995, the partners decided to focus all their future energy and resources on that industry.
“We’ve tried to develop a system for every part of our business to ensure that we remain focused on our customers. We’ve built the best support and training team in the industry, bar none,” says Ken.
“Everybody in our company, from the sales people to the admin. staff, is taught to focus on the customer. They all understand that if we look after the customers, everything else falls into place.”
“We think we have the best product on the market,” states Andrew, “but when you ask any of our clients what they like best about the system, they almost unanimously say ‘The Support!’ And that’s exactly what we aim for. Does this mean we’re perfect? Not by a long shot. But we work hard, every day, to be better than we were the day before.”
So what does Axon have planned next?
“My personal goal has always been to make a huge, positive difference in the lives of our customers and their staff, as well as our business partners, our staff and their families. And I think so far we’ve been able to accomplish this. I will be happy if I am allowed to continue doing that until they put me out to pasture,” laughs Ken.
“But we have lots of great challenges to tackle yet. There are still many niches within the transportation industry that are not being well served by the software industry. We want to continually expand our product features and capabilities to help more of those companies.”
“It’s a never-ending process,” agrees Andrew, “and every day presents new challenges and opportunities as technology advances. If you want to stay on top in business today, you need to be ready to turn on a dime. You have to be ready for ‘the next big thing’ to come along and be prepared to re-invent yourself in response to it.”
For the Sales Guy and the Software Geek, it’s just another day of trying to change the world.