Panda Tank and Vac Truck Services

How a Growing Oilfield Hauler Discovered the Secret to Managing their Growth with the Only Trucking Management Software “Full Meal Deal”

Panda Tank and Vac Truck Services of Grande Prairie, AB, provides a variety of tank truck, vacuum truck, and end-dump services to the oilfields. Since making the move to Axon in 2006, they have expanded their fleet to over 80 units. Office Manager Dixie Husereau spoke to us about their Axon Experience.

Dixie Husereau - Panda Tank and VacWhat were some of the issues you had before you started using Axon trucking management software?

“We were using QuickBooks® for our accounting software and managing some of our other data in Excel spreadsheets. One of the difficulties we had is that everything we do originates from a bill of lading [ticket]. We handle a variety of calls every day in regard to those tickets.

One of the biggest benefits with Axon is that the ticket number is always at our fingertips once it’s been entered into the system. With QuickBooks® , it was very challenging to go back and find those tickets because it generated invoice numbers and that number was the only way you had to find the right record.”

Does Axon save you time compared to QuickBooks® ?

“Absolutely! Plus we’re able to provide better service to our customers when they call in and have a question about a particular ticket. Generally we’re able to answer them immediately, without having to call them back after searching through piles of paper. It’s all at our fingertips. I just find it very easy to navigate through Axon. On both sides – accounts receivable and accounts payable.

The nice thing about Axon is that everything is in real time. We have about 14 users right now between three offices, so when someone in Grande Prairie, or Fort St. John, or Grande Cache needs information or is inputting information, it’s great to have everything updated instantly – in real time.”

For the trucking industry, it will handle all your applications, from maintenance to payroll, to fuel tax, to billing, to accounts payable, to financial statements. It’s the full-meal deal. - Dixie Husereau, Panda Tank and Vac Services

Tell us about your experience with Axon.

“Right from the very beginning everyone at Axon was extremely helpful. It is very stressful moving from one system to another. Axon was there; they walked us through the process. There was plenty of one-on-one telephone training. We never, ever felt rushed or that we were inconveniencing anyone. It was always very, very good. And the ongoing support has been excellent; the response time is wonderful.

We did it in the middle of our busiest season. We were growing so fast that, in order to grow, we needed a powerful trucking management program such as Axon. We started January 1st, 2006, and with the help of Axon, we were able to move everything over. It required some extra work, but we did it, and we have never looked back since.”

Has Axon changed the way you do your fuel tax?

“Immensely. Prior to Axon, everything was managed through Excel spreadsheets. With Axon, the fuel import has saved a huge amount of time because our fuel bills are imported directly into the system.

The reporting features have been very helpful; for example, if we need to know the total mileage for a certain period of time, everything is right there. I can’t say enough about the fuel management system. It is very, very helpful.

The entire fuel bill from our major fuel supplier can be downloaded and imported into Axon and that information is automatically entered for each company truck or owner operator. That information is imported within minutes into our program. What used to take hours, every month, now takes minutes.”

Has Axon helped you with your owner operator statements?

“Before Axon, there was a much greater chance of error. Axon has improved our owner operator satisfaction in the way their statements are prepared. And the direct deposit has been a really nice feature to have.

Another big advantage with Axon is how it handles third-party carrier transactions. For example, if an accounts payable invoice lands on our desk from a third party, and if that carrier’s bill of lading has been missed or not entered, there’s nothing to match it to. So now there’s no possibility of that payable being processed without first having a matching accounts receivable transaction. Managing third-party carriers is much easier now.”

How have you found the move to Axon’s invoicing process?

“Because of the way that it integrates, we can have many people entering data and, if there are issues, you can find out who might have entered that particular ticket, or if you need to find out who was working on that project, the history is right there for you. That’s been very helpful. We’re very happy with it.

The turnaround time for processing tickets and invoicing is faster, and, because Axon’s saving us so much time in other areas, we’re able to process the volume of paper a lot quicker compared to not using Axon.

The data management – for example being able to type an old bill of lading number in and have it pull up again – is wonderful. We can pull up an older ticket from a year or more ago if we need to. It is just very, very helpful that way.”

Do you use any of Axon’s advanced equipment management tools and reporting capabilities?

“Yes. Our business manager does analysis on the company equipment statements. And again, it just brings everything together because everything related to a unit, from any maintenance that’s been performed on that truck, to the work order program, to the fuel bills, to the payroll, to the accounts receivable, is all tied together. It helps us get a really accurate picture for each piece of equipment.”

Has it improved your staff morale or your working environment?

“Yes, I think it has just made our entire office that much more efficient. I was just speaking with our dispatchers to get some feedback on their experiences with Axon. At some of the other companies they had worked for previous to coming to Panda, everything was dispatched manually, and they are very happy with how Axon’s truck dispatching program interrelates. If there is a problem with an employee’s safety ticket being expired or something that’s coming due on a piece of equipment, that information can be viewed by anyone who needs it, right from the shop foreman to the dispatcher to the payroll person. It’s really neat how it’s all integrated.

We have three branches, and in our equipment setup we were able to assign particular equipment to each dispatch region. Now, when the dispatchers are viewing their jobs, each office can see what they’re responsible for. If they need to see a picture of the whole company, they can do that too. Being able to see what trucks are going where from any of our three offices has just made their working relationship that much better. The communication has really improved.”

Has Axon trucking management software helped with your customer relations?

“Oh, I think it has. For example, many of our jobs go on for some time. Some customers would like to see a monthly billing or billing when a particular project is completed. One nice feature with Axon is that we can still enter those tickets without having to invoice them until that particular job is completed so that they get one invoice for the whole project.”

If one of your industry peers asks you about Axon what would you say?

“I would tell them that, ‘For the trucking industry, it will handle all your applications, from maintenance to payroll, to fuel tax, to billing, to accounts payable, to financial statements. It’s the full-meal deal.’

We’ve actually had several clients who are thinking of purchasing Axon visit our office. And we do spend time and show them a little bit of what it has done for us. I would never hesitate to recommend Axon to another trucking company. It really saves a lot of time, and there are a lot of really neat features in it.”

And if you had to, would you do it over again?

“Absolutely. We’re very happy with the program. I would highly recommend it to another trucking company in the oil patch. It has really helped our company continue growing and expanding, and has met all of our needs. And Axon, besides the oil patch, truly will meet the needs for anyone hauling all across Canada or the U.S.”

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