Rafter 9 Oilfield Services

“In Terms of Admin/Clerical Costs, Axon Has Saved Us At Least $100,000 a Year – Probably a Lot Closer to $200,000 a Year”

“We would not be able to keep up without Axon – would not be able to do all that we are doing now with one person. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about that.”

Rafter 9 Oilfield Services Inc. is an extremely lean company operating in the Alberta oil fields. One man, Mac Anderson, runs the entire administrative side of this great business. We dropped in for a chat with Mac to find out how he gets it all done and how much of a role Axon software has in their success.

“I am Mac Anderson, co-owner of Rafter 9 Oilfield Services Inc. I handle the administrative end of the business and my partners are in the field.

“We started here in Brooks in August 2002 with one customer and one tank truck. Since then, there was a change in ownership. My original partner is gone and two other people are involved with me now.

“We have 11 trucks. We do operate in the Brooks field area, but our primary area of work is in Jennerfield. There is quite a large area out there and it is primarily heavy oil. That is where most of our work is today.

“When we started we were doing a lot on Simply Accounting and Excel®, which from reading the reports from other owners, is typical. We started with Axon in 2008.

“I looked around at different products and I can’t remember exactly how we came upon Axon, but I am glad we did. It has been a godsend to us.

“We would not be able to keep up without Axon – would not be able to do all that we are doing now with one person. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about that.”

Tell us about your experience with Axon.
“It has been great. The learning curve to start with was fairly minimal. Our trainer was great and very helpful. Even now when I have a question, the support staff have really been excellent and help solve the problem. It’s easy to pick up the phone or send an email to get help, and it’s there.”

Tell us about some of the problems that Axon has helped you solve.
“The biggest problem was before when we were tracking payroll on Excel because of the volume of tickets. We were using Excel to build up to our invoices, so it was a huge amount of work. When we had three trucks, it was doable and you could keep up with it, but after that it started to get more and more difficult all the time.

“Axon has integration where we enter the ticket once and it goes to revenue, to pending accounts receivable, and also populates payroll. We pay all our drivers a commission based on what the units earn, and we have variable commission rates, and so on.

“There is still stuff we have to input and monitor, but it has probably reduced the time required for that by at least 60-75%. It has been quite dramatic.

“The drivers like the settlements. They think they are great, because they can make sure that we haven’t missed anything.”

Has Axon helped with your speed of invoicing?
“It has made a tremendous difference. With all the machinations we had to go through before with Excel (and after the invoices were issued on Excel we had to enter them into Simply to get them into our accounts receivable and revenue) – the integration has probably saved 60% [of the time].”

Has EDI changed the way you do your billing?
“Without it, we would be entering all that detailed information onto ADP or Cortex. I would need to have four or five people in the office here to do that, to keep up with everything if we didn’t have Axon. It has been tremendous, and we can take the next step with Cortex to automate that more than we are right now.”

How have you found the reporting in Axon?
“It is great. We had lots of help from Axon so we have our own balance sheet, our own income statement, and the individual unit income statements are really valuable as well. It helps when working with my partners so we can see when this truck or that group of trucks isn’t earning enough right now.”

Has Axon improved activity at Rafter 9 Oilfield Services?
“You are looking at the office right now. It’s me. As an owner, I wear a tremendous number of different hats and if it wasn’t for Axon, it would not be in this office. We would probably have an office somewhere else with four or five other clerical people running around. It has made a tremendous difference.

“We have automated even on the payables end of it. Now we pay 90% of our suppliers by EFT as well. We have the ability to generate payables and record them and everything – it has been a tremendous saving.

“You could say, in terms of admin/clerical costs, Axon has probably saved us at least $100,000 a year – probably a lot closer to $200,000 a year.

“To double our fleet, we would maybe have to add one clerical person. I could see it. I don’t think we would need to do any more than that.”

How was your experience with Axon support compared to other software vendors you have used in the past?
“That is easy. Night and day.

“The support has been tremendous. It is really important for us to get our payroll out and get people paid on a timely basis.

“Stephen Covey used to always have a saying, ‘Don’t mess with people’s rice bowls.’ That was one thing I remember and really took to heart. It is a high-stress period and sometimes, when you are in a hurry and you want to get something done, you forget some part of the process or something.

“Axon support people have been great. They might get a frantic phone call from me while I am not the most pleasant person in the world right then because I want to get it done. They still handle it really, really well.”

Do you find Axon easy to use and run?
“Yeah, I do actually. I was pleasantly surprised when we started using it. Even today I think we are still not even close to using 75% of the capabilities that are really there, but each month I try something new and it works.

“Copying tickets, for example, was something we started a year and a half ago, because we were still inputting them. That is a big timesaver. We can get 20 tickets from one driver at one well, so it’s easy to copy them all. It saves a tremendous amount of time.

“All kinds of little things like that, we are seeing efficiency growing all the time.”

If someone in the industry asked you about your experience with Axon, what would you tell them?
“I would tell them it is a terrific program. If you’re serious about getting a system that will help you manage your business and increase your efficiency, you should seriously look at it.”

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