Commonwealth Express Trucking

“Without Axon I’d Probably Be Divorced And I’d Probably Be Out Of Business”

“Our growth over the past two years has been phenomenal – we’re blessed in that area – and without Axon we wouldn't have been able to handle it.”

Commonwealth Express describes itself as a “small company getting ready to become bigger but feeling the pinch.” Since implementing Axon four years ago, they have been able to substantially increase their business and add an entire brokerage division, while hiring a minimal amount of new staff. This is their Axon experience.

“We couldn't have done it without Axon,”  - Jon Flynn, Owner

Jon: “Hello, my name’s Jon Flynn and I’m the owner of Commonwealth Express. We’re located in Georgetown, Kentucky. We have approximately 127 power units and our focus is just-in-time freight. We do a lot of business with Toyota here in Georgetown and we also have offices in Louisville, Nashville, and Huntsville. We started using Axon in the latter part of 2009.”
Karen: “I’m Karen Flynn. I’m the controller of Commonwealth Express.”
Tim: “I’m Tim Justice, assistant to the owner. I help lead with the projects and different things that we get into as we move forward in technology and business.”

Tell us your experience in dealing with Axon.
Jon: “Axon has taken us to the next level. Until 2009 we were on Excel spreadsheets. We probably do about $30 million a year in revenue and at that time we were doing about $20 million. It got very cumbersome without Axon, and I don’t know where we would be now without it.”

“With Axon we’ve been able to triple our business over a four-year process,”  - Karen Flynn, Controller

How has Axon changed the way you manage the company?
Tim: “It has allowed me to do more for Jon and Karen, especially in reporting. I can quickly come up with data to help Jon make his business decisions and know that it’s accurate. That’s been a huge help productivity-wise for all of us. Before Axon, we had a lot of stuff spread out over Excel spreadsheets, documents, QuickBooks. Individual people had their own things. Now I can create customized reports for just about everything that we need.”
Jon: “I pretty much drive people crazy around here with the information I can get from Axon. We are able to make adjustments to our equipment, to our revenue, and drive the company in a profitable manner on a daily basis, versus a weekly or monthly basis. It has been very beneficial.”

Has Axon changed the way you do driver settlements and owner operator statements?
Jon: “I guess the best way to explain that is, in the past, we would pull up an Excel spreadsheet and we could tell an owner operator or driver where they were gonna be at the end of the week.
“Now, we can tell an owner operator or a driver what they can expect on their settlement on any given day – it’s live. We can tell a guy what he’s made on a particular route for the day. It’s helped us in our communication process with our drivers.”
Karen: “You know how hard it is to get and retain drivers. Driver retention is the name of the game. One thing we pride ourselves on is that our drivers are always paid timely and correctly, and Axon makes that happen. We can give them a pay settlement that explains exactly what they did, how many miles they ran, what they made per mile, all the fuel stops, everything that happened in the truck since they were in, and give them a pay check.
“To me, this helps us with driver retention because you hear the horror stories about people that go weeks and they say, ‘Well, we just can’t figure it out and we may get you a check in a couple of weeks,’ or whatever. We have always paid our guys timely. If there is an issue, we can correct it right then – you can research it easily in the program and fix it.”

Do you check Equipment Revenue reports?
Jon: “I look at them every week. It has given us the ability to drill down. We look at each piece of equipment as a profit center itself, and it helps us to determine how much revenue and how many miles we need to do to get maximum profitability out of that piece of equipment.”

With the growth you've had, how many more staff do you think you would need if you didn't have Axon?
Jon: “I’d probably be divorced and I’d probably be out of business. We couldn’t do without Axon. Our growth over the past two years has been phenomenal – we’re blessed in that area – and without Axon we wouldn't have been able to handle it.”

Would you say the software has paid for itself?
Jon: “Absolutely. I would say it probably paid for itself in 18 months. I don’t know how we could have made it without it, looking back.”
Karen: “I would think probably within 12 months. We’ve grown tremendously and quickly. When Jon comes in and says, ‘Hey, I’m talking to Mercedes,’ we don’t all say, ‘Oh my gosh, how are we possibly going to be able to add that business?’ Whatever they bring to the table, we can handle as long as we learn the processes that they need. Axon conforms to whatever we need it to do.
“With the growth that we have had, we would probably have had to double our staff just because of how many individual processes you have to do in other programs, but Axon is designed to handle transportation.”

How many people would you have needed to hire just to staff your brokerage division?
Karen: “I would think it would probably have to be double. The volume of business that we’re doing in brokerage now has grown tremendously, but we’re still able to do it with four people. I know it would be eight or ten to do it any other way than Axon.”
Jon: “We couldn’t have done it without Axon. But now I’m hoping we will do $5,000,000.00 this year in brokerage.”
Karen: “And one person does all the billing. One person couldn’t do that much billing without Axon. We are able to grow our brokerage division by leaps and bounds without adding any more staff because of Axon.”

If one of your industry peers asked you about the software, what would you say?
Tim: “I’d highly recommend it to them.”
Jon: “It’s a great package. It does everything that we need. It offers everything and I would recommend it to anybody. It’s paid a lot of dividends. This is a simple business, but we were making it tough on ourselves. We run thousands of routes a week and we miss some, but it’s so easy to go back and research now, when the alternative was to individually look through a thousand records.”
Karen: “We have been able to take Axon and a 30-hour-a-week in-house accountant and replace an accounting firm. It was costing us $5,000.00 a month before, and now he’s making $800.00 a week.
“Plus, before Axon we didn’t have brokerage at all. With Axon we’ve been able to triple our business over a four-year process. You can take it wherever you want it to go.”

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