PX Transportation, aka Star Bulk

 

“We Doubled the Size of Our fleet in Less Than a Year With This Software…

and We Don’t Anticipate Putting Any More People in the Office Even If We Doubled Our Size Again!”

PX Transportation do business out of their head office in New Braunfels, Texas as “Star Bulk”.  At the time of this interview they were operating about 65 tanker trucks, with plans to rapidly expand their fleet.  President Frank Pender spoke to us about their “Axon Experience.”

Tell us about your history with Star Bulk.

“Star Bulk has been in business since 2003.  But I’ve been in the trucking business since 1972 in managerial positions, here in Texas and back east in New York and Pennsylvania.  So this is my life. This is what I do.

We’re in the dry bulk business with tanker trucks.  Right now we own around 55 trucks and we have another 10 or so leased operators working for us.  We have locations in Texas and Oklahoma.”

Before you started using Axon, how did you manage your business?

“I used QuickBooks.  It was a simple way for us to do business – when we were just a small operation it worked fine for us.  But we knew when we decided to grow the business that QuickBooks wasn’t going to work for us, so we shopped software programs and we made a decision to go with Axon.”

What led your team to look for software?

“Being in the trucking business all my life, I knew that it was either hire a bunch of people to take care of our business or find a software program that would fit our needs.  We found a good solution to our problem and we doubled the size of our fleet in less than a year and only added 2 people in the office to take care of that additional business.  It was the software that really allowed us to increase in business and we don’t anticipate putting any more people in the office even if we doubled our size again.  We anticipate having over a hundred trucks before the end of this year and we’re going to do that without adding any more people and so in my opinion, it was a wise solution to our problem.”

What leads you to believe that you can grow your fleet to over 100 trucks without adding staff?

“Everything that we do runs through the Axon system.  Every gallon of fuel we buy, whether it’s here at the terminal location or on the road is downloaded daily into the Axon system, it doesn’t take any accounting people to handle that.  I do a lot of the accounting work myself.  I’m in the system every day, so I know what’s going on and we have 2 other people using the system with me and we take care of all our business.”

If you didn’t have Axon how many more staff members would you need to operate as you do now? 

“If we didn’t have Axon I think we would have had to have at least 5 more people in here at 30 to 40 thousand dollars an employee, plus benefits.  It’s huge.  It’s saving us a lot of money. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Tell us your experience dealing with Axon.

“Oh it’s been extremely good.  We started back in May of last year with the Axon system and we just got off the ground running.  It’s been a smooth transition.  I was President of a major trucking company for many years and this is the only software system I ever worked with where we could get this kind of customer support.”

Has Axon saved you time with order entry, driver settlements, payroll and so on?

“Once the order is placed in the system everything is done for us.  My daughter does the payroll and all the payables and I do the receivables and make sure that the money we’re spending is spent wisely and it’s just a turnkey deal.  The software does everything for us once the order’s in there, everything’s there that we need to bill our customers and receive our payments.”

Has Axon helped you with staff morale and work environment?

“Oh yeah I mean the dispatchers have a real easy job of putting what they need to put into the system.  Everything’s very easy for them. It’s been really surprisingly smooth getting the information that we need into the system and getting the results from it.”

Do you run revenue and expense reports on each piece of equipment?

“Yes, I do it on a monthly basis and I’m getting more and more involved as I learn more about the system.  I’m getting more detail from it about what types of business we’re doing that pays well and what pieces of our business we need to either do more efficiently or raise our rates to compensate for what we’re doing.  And it’s live information so we know right away whether we’re going to be making money on any kind of specific move that our customers want us to handle.”

The total integration of Axon’s system, in real time is unique to Axon’s software.  How has that saved you time?

“Well that’s what’s saving time – and money, as far as people are concerned.  For example, we use Fleet One cards for fuel and each morning when I come into work all I have to do is download every gallon that was used during the evening and it takes about maybe a minute to get all the results of yesterday’s fuelling.  It’s just a fantastic way of doing business.  Producing the quarterly fuel mileage reports for the government takes maybe an hour to get everything done for the whole company.  That’s every gallon of fuel, by state. I mean it’s really an effective way to do business.  And we didn’t have to hire anyone to do the fuel mileage reports.  I know in the past I’ve always had to have a staff of people to take care of just that one aspect of our business. Now the system does it for us and it takes me maybe an hour to get the quarterly fuel report done.”

How do you find the financial reporting and accounting applications?

“It’s simple for me. Now I’m not an accountant but I’ve been looking at financial statements as long as I’ve been in the business.  And it’s a simple accurate way of getting the information that we need and the reports that are produced are what the banks need to help us run our business.  So I’ve had no problem – the banks really like the information they get and because of the system they get it in on time.  We use our accountant to certify the numbers, but she drills down on those numbers and in no time we get the banks what they need.”

If one of your friends in the industry were to ask you about Axon, what would you tell them?

“I’d tell them we’ve had very good success with Axon and I’d recommend Axon to any of the friends that I know in the business.  Some of them are using different software programs, but as far as a turnkey deal I’m extremely satisfied with the path we took.  Since joining Axon we’ve doubled the size of our fleet and we’ve had to add just 2 people in the office.  It’s been an amazing process and it’s worked well for us.”

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