Gary Graham Transport Ltd.
“Could slash over 90% of your time spent doing Fuel Tax and Driver Pay?”
Gary Graham Transport Ltd., from Glencoe, Ontario, started out hauling water and aggregates in bulk trailers in 1961, diversifying the company over the years. We recently spoke with Brad Graham, Vice President of Operations, and Shelley Ingold, Safety and Compliance Manager, about their Axon experience.
Tell us about your company.
Brad: “We actually do a little bit of everything. We have flatbeds, step decks, double drops, bulk commodities, vans, over dimensional. And that’s why Axon’s such a good fit with us, because it allows us to keep track of all of our different operations in one software program.”
I think that Axon paid for itself in the first three months of using it. Just in the amount of time it’s saved us. I do think it’s saved us a salary, and it’s saving all kinds of my time that I now have available to devote to other things. – Shelley Ingold
What is your experience using Axon?
Brad: “When we got Axon, basically, we just wanted to make life a little easier for everybody in the office. We wanted to be able to provide more information to our customers, and we wanted to be able to make our drivers’ lives a little better with more accurate and more detailed payroll.
“We’ve only had Axon for a little while, and we’ve already seen some big improvements with getting stuff done in the office. Basically, we either had to hire another person or get Axon. We decided to go with Axon.”
Describe what you did before starting with Axon.
Shelley: “Before we started with Axon we did everything on spreadsheets. We were inputting information into our computer system three and four times – the same information went into drivers’ payroll; it went into invoicing; it went into fuel tax; it went into our accounting program. It was an awful lot of work.
“As we started to expand, payroll was taking longer and longer. Fuel tax took me three days to do. It was crazy.”
How has your life changed since Axon’s been implemented?
Shelley: “Well, as an example, fuel tax now takes me 15 minutes to do instead of 3 days.
“Before, I was going back and forth from this spreadsheet to that spreadsheet and making sure all my calculations were correct and checking our fuel invoices and making sure I had every gallon of fuel accounted for. Now Axon does that for us. So three days down to 15 minutes to do an IFTA return – it’s great!
“It freed up three days for other things that I need to concentrate on.
“The same with Payroll. We do direct deposit and our bank has us under very strict deadlines. Payroll now is a matter of printing out the driver settlements and boom. It’s done.
“Invoicing is much easier with Axon. Before, we were taking the drivers’ trip sheets and the proof of delivery, and we would input that into payroll, but we would also input it into our accounting system.
“It’s more accurate with Axon. At the time we take the order, it’s put into Axon, and then all we have to do is fill in the correct weights, bill of lading numbers, and so on.
“Everything is already there. There is no hunting around for rates because everything’s right in the system.
“Axon’s streamlined our driver settlements. All the information’s just right there, so there’s no taking information from one spreadsheet and putting it into another.
“Everything’s right on the order. We simply go into the pay section of the order, put in what we want to pay, and it’s sent to payroll; it goes onto the driver settlements – everything’s there.
“There’s no double entering of anything. It’s usually done by Monday afternoon. Our bank’s happy because we’re not calling for extensions or anything. So it’s great.”
How is your experience dealing with Axon?
Shelley: “Excellent. Our experience dealing with Axon has been great. Everyone’s very helpful. We email support and have a reply back within minutes and someone always calls us back, normally within about 15 or 20 minutes.”
How has Axon affected your productivity in terms of staffing?
Shelley: “Axon has given us more flexibility in our time. We’re better able to keep on top of everything. I don’t have stacks of papers on my desk anymore that I’d look at every day and say ‘Oh yeah, I’ll get to those later.’ Now I’m actually able to get done what I need to get done and deal with everything so that’s good.
“We were way under-staffed before we moved to Axon. And now I think it’s at a comfortable level. We were looking at possibly hiring someone, and now we’re not going to have to do that.
“If we hadn’t installed Axon, we would have had to hire at least one person.”
Brad: “The thing I like about Axon is that when people go away on vacation, there’s a smoother transition.
“When I have to take over somebody else’s role in the company, whether they’re sick or on vacation, it’s an easier transition. I can figure out what’s been going on the last couple weeks and jump into their position and cover for them.
“And then, likewise, when they get back from their holidays or back from sick time, they can jump in and go right from where they left off.
“There’s just so much detail in the dispatch program – you always have the information right at your fingertips.”
If you were to expand your fleet by, for example, another 20 trucks, do you feel you’d have to add more staff?
When I have to take over somebody else’s role in the company, whether they’re sick or on vacation, it’s an easier transition. I can figure out what’s been going on the last couple weeks and jump into their position and cover for them. – Brad Graham
Brad: “Actually, we’re hoping we don’t have to add any more staff. That’s one of the main reasons we decided to go with Axon. We will be adding more trucks, but we won’t be hiring any office staff.”
Shelley: “Right. If we increased the number of trucks that we run right now, I don’t think we’d have to increase our office staff.”
Do you think that the software has already paid for itself?
Shelley: “I think that Axon paid for itself in the first three months of using it. Just in the amount of time it’s saved us. I do think it’s saved us a salary, and it’s saving all kinds of my time that I now have available to devote to other things.”
How has Axon helped with your customer relationships?
Shelley: “I think Axon really helps with customer relationships. When a customer calls and wants to know the status of a pick-up, say for a flatbed or a vanload that was dispatched out of our Goderich office, I can look in the system and tell them exactly where the driver has been at his last call in.
“I can tell them, ‘Yes, the load’s been picked up. It was picked up at 10:25 a.m. and the driver’s on his way back to Canada.’ I think that’s a very helpful tool in dealing with customers. They like to know where their shipments are at all times.”
How would you describe the ease of use of the software? How easy is it to use?
Shelley: “Axon is extremely easy to use. It’s very user friendly. There’s not a lot of mistakes that you can make that can’t be undone with a simple call to tech support, and we have utilized that more than once, you know, to get us out of a little bit of a jam. It’s great.”
If someone else in the industry asked you about your experience with Axon, what would you say?
Shelley: “Now if they were a competitor, I might say, don’t use it. (laughs) No, if anybody asked me about Axon and what I thought of it, I would highly recommend it. You know, I haven’t found a downside to using Axon.”
More Axon Over The Road Trucking Software Clients:
- Connell Transport Company Ltd. – Liquid Bulk Carrier – Hamilton, ON
- All Points Freight Inc. – Longhaul, Flatbed – Bradford, ON
- Harland Veinotte Limited – LTL, FTL and Intermodal – Morrisburg, ON
- Maverick Express Inc. – Auto Parts Hauler, General Commodities – Battle Creek, MI