Harland Veinotte Limited – Randy Veinotte

Attention to Detail – And The Right Software – Can Get You Customers Who Will Pay You More!

Here’s How One Company Makes Sure It Gets The Cream Of The Crop

Harland Veinotte Limited, operating out of Morrisburg, ON, since 1964, hauls LTL, FTL, and intermodal containers within the busy Ontario-Quebec corridor. Randy Veinotte, President, spoke to us about their Axon experience.

Tell us about your move to Axon.

“We were using Business Vision for our accounting, and it was working okay, and we had tried J.J. Keller in our maintenance and hated it – it just wasn’t good for us because it was just too generic.

Randy Veinotte - VP OperationsI think Axon is a very powerful organizational tool, and if you can’t organize your business by using this thing, then you’re in trouble. ...Honestly, I can’t imagine why anybody would want to run several stand-alone programs when they can run a totally integrated one. - Randy Veinotte

We ended up going to a custom-made maintenance program from our local IT guy. The problem was, if you wanted to do anything with it, you had to bring him in, and lo and behold, he moved on, and there we were with a very, very unique program and nobody that knew how to fix it.

And nothing was integrated. Our accounting software was what it was, and our maintenance software was what it was, and nothing talked to each other.

I was very interested in having something that was real time, totally integrated. And that’s what you do. I just didn’t see anything else that was as totally integrated as Axon is.”

Has Axon’s maintenance system lived up to your expectations?

“Yes. The support is awesome, and the training is good, and the navigation is very good. And one comment from my maintenance guy was ‘you know this thing’s great for a larger company. It can do a whole lot more than what we’re using it for.’

But I’m fine with that because you don’t sit on your ass. You gotta grow, and you gotta keep moving, or you get left behind. So I don’t have an issue with how powerful this is, because I know it does things I don’t even know it does yet. I’m very happy with it.”

Has Axon changed your fuel tax reporting at all?

“In terms of our fuel tax and our licensing, this has made things way easier for us. It saved time; make no mistake.

Our staff person gets the fuel bills imported into Axon, and with the sorting and the reporting functions, everything is wonderful. That has really made her life in that area much better. That’s one of those dirty jobs you gotta do, and if it makes it easier, then so much the better. Yes, she’s much happier because this thing is easier; it’s easier to do those reports now.”

Tell us about your dispatching process.

“We do a multitude of things here. We do less-than-truckload shipments; we do containers; we do truckloads. I have some trucks that run between the US and Canada, and I have some trucks that do local contracts.

So dispatch gets really hairy here. They enter the orders, but when the order is completed, they may not mark them complete at the time because they’re very busy. The last thing the dispatcher does before he shuts it down for the day is a recap, and he marks all of his orders complete.

What’s really useful is they confirm the order quantity. What the customer orders versus what they actually send changes a lot in one day, so it’s very easy to mess up on a quantity when you’re busy, and we get very busy here some days.

The dispatcher might scribble something down on their paper order and, when they do the recap at the end of the day, they match the paper orders with the computer, and they can confirm the order quantity at that time. That’s been very, very useful for us because what gets billed is what actually happened.

Our competitive advantage – the reason people use us – is our attention to detail. Axon has improved that. It supports it very much. We are very, very detail oriented, right from how we take the order, to how we move it, to making sure we get it there on time.

And that’s part of the reason that we’re able to attract the kind of client who’s willing to pay a couple bucks more than the average customer. And Axon very, very much supports that philosophy.”

Tell us about Axon’s centralized Business Partners system.

“The best part of this program from my perspective is the Business Partners component. I was using ACT before, and it was good. But this Business Partner feature is awesome! In terms of saving time and being organized, the Business Partners system itself has helped us immensely.

One of my bigger interests is new business development and dealing with customers. With the Business Partners system I can get really good contact information in a hurry.

With a new customer, once the credit application comes back, I’ll fill in the contact profile with as much information as I can – who the payable people are, who the president is, email addresses, everything I can.

Our guys are able to access our Business Partner records very quickly, so they don’t need to bother our customers for information. Now we’ve got really good history on our customers, including their picks and their drops so dispatch is able to get the orders put in very, very quickly.

And the other thing that I like about it is that, once we’ve got it in the system, nothing gets lost. It really has taken any error out of it for us because once the thing’s in the system, you gotta bill it because you can’t lose it.

We never miss billing something or lose something once it’s put in the system so that works very well for us. Now our invoice clerks pop up the order, and all the information is there for them. All they have to do is to tweak it a little bit and punch the button, and the invoices are processed.

We’ve increased our business, and we haul a lot of partial loads so we produce a lot of invoices in one day. It’s really sped up the billing process and made it much easier. That’s huge. I mean our other system was good, but this is much better.

Our receivables person is able to put in notes about any invoice or any client so anybody can go in and see that we made contact on such and such a date and what was said. So it’s helped us to collect our receivables.

She knows exactly who she wants to chase if we’ve got somebody who is not paying us quickly enough. She can pop the information right out of Axon and email them right from there. There’s less time spent on that process because it’s very easy to track the bad payers down and get on their case.

Another thing that’s been really, really good is I have a salesman who works out of a home office when he’s not the road. He has remote access to Axon, and this has been the best thing for him and me because we relate daily.

He can access the system and keep track of all his leads and existing orders for his customers. He doesn’t have to bother me. He loves it, and I really like it too because that’s freed up some of my time not having to go and look up information and rehash stuff with him.

So for me, if there's been anything that’s freed up my time, it’s been the Business Partners section.”

How did your staff handle the transition to Axon?

“I have a lot of respect for my staff, and I try and make their life as easy as possible here. I expect them to work, but I try and take the peripheral stuff out of it so they’re not stressed out about other crap and can concentrate on their business.

When we moved to Axon, there was a learning curve for us, but the training was very good. And now that we’re using it, everybody is navigating around just fine.

The training and support from Axon have been very good. I have absolutely no complaints about either the training we received, or the timeliness of the responses, or the knowledge of the people on the other end of the telephone.”

What would you say to another owner about investing in Axon software?

“I think Axon is a very powerful organizational tool, and if you can’t organize your business by using this thing, then you’re in trouble. I always speak very highly of this program. I’d recommend it to anybody.

Honestly, I can’t imagine why anybody would want to run several stand-alone programs when they can run a totally integrated one. To me it just makes sense.

And being in real time is important too. Real time’s great because, as the owner interested in the sales, I can check any time and see what our sales are and so on, and it’s as up to date as the last entry anybody’s put in.”

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