Trucking News – October 2019

“AXON HAS BEEN A GAME CHANGER FOR OUR COMPANY.”
“It Has Cut Our Data Entry In Half.”

After 25 years on the same software system, Jackie B Lovett Trucking Co., Inc. decided it was time for a change. So in January 2019 they made the switch and went live with Axon Software. We dropped in for an interview in March to see how everything was going. Kris Lovett shares details of their Axon experience so far.

Can you tell us a bit about the company?

We have been in business for about 55 years. We run about 52 company trucks doing dump hauling, mostly bulk aggregate products, mainly across the Central Savannah River Area in the lower southeast of the United States as well as all across the continental US.

We are a family-owned business started by my granddad in 1963. My dad started working in the company early on and built it to where it is now.

We started using Axon in January of 2019. Prior to Axon we were running a DOS-based system for about 25 years. It has been a major shift for our company.

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My name is Kris Lovett, with Jackie B. Lovett Trucking Co., Inc. from Winsford, Georgia.

Can you tell us about your experience with Axon Software?

Axon has been a game changer for our company because prior to Axon we had to enter the same data two or three times throughout the week, whether it be in dispatch, payroll, receivables. We had to make many duplicate entries. In Axon, you enter it once and it carries throughout the whole system. It has cut our data entry in half.

It has cut down on having to communicate with our drivers via telephone. We do a lot of our dispatching through the Axon app. The drivers will send tickets back to us, and we can check those tickets. We’ll prepare those tickets for payroll and invoicing. What would take us five days in the past is now taking us about three days.

All the information they need to go and pick up that load is there. For example, we had a driver who was going to pick up a load of rock for a customer who lived out in the middle of nowhere. We were able to pinpoint that location and drop that in the ticket so all he would have to do is pull it up on Google Maps.

That was huge for him because any other time we’d be trying to give him directions over the phone. This eliminated that phone call. So that’s just one example of how it’s saving our dispatchers’ time.

Has it streamlined your invoicing?

Yes. The customers like it. We are able to email invoices now, where before we had to print them out and mail them. That’s saving time and money on postage. The customers also like the way the invoice reads now – certain customers require us to have certain things on the invoice and now we’re able to customize that invoice for that customer. It makes it really easy to please the customer and get the information they need, and it makes everybody happy.

Do your drivers like the new settlements?

Oh, yeah. The drivers really like them because of all the detail it prints out for them. It gives a lot more detail than our old settlement sheets did. Now we’re able to email the settlement sheets. They love it because we used to have the cheques here for them, and our long haulers who never get by the office would have a stack of settlement sheets waiting. Now I can send it to them with a click of a button.

And we now also pay them through direct deposit. You can email their cheque stub and their settlement sheet, and they know the money will hit the bank the next day. I’ve had a lot of feedback from the drivers on the emailing system set up in Axon and they love it.

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How has it affected staff morale?

It has definitely boosted employee morale and confidence because since Axon mistakes have gone down tremendously. Prior to Axon, mistakes were common – wrong rates and tonnages, ticket numbers, and so on. Now we might have one or two mistakes that we catch every week, and the more we see that it’s working, that everybody is doing a really good job, the more confidence is built into the team.

Every week they’re learning how to do more and more stuff with Axon. They’ll find out something that they didn’t know and say, “Oh, this is going to make my job so much easier,” and that’s pretty cool too. Up to this point we’ve just been trying to get the job done. But now it’s cool because we’re getting the job done and we know it’s right, so how are we going to be better? What can we do to be even more efficient than what we’ve been doing? It has amazed us all that we’ve been able to do it so well and that it’s really working. It can only go up from here.

If you increased your fleet by 20 trucks, would you have to increase the staff?

No, I think we’d be able to manage it with the staff we have. Maybe even less staff once we learn Axon a little better. We can do much more work with the same staff, definitely.

Here is an example of how it’s lessened work in the back end of our office – meaning payables, payroll, and account receivable. Our accounts receivable lady used to come in Monday morning, and we wouldn’t see or hear from her until Friday afternoon. She’d work through lunch, go home late, just trying to get all the tickets entered and make sure all the rates were correct. Last week, she finished her job on Wednesday. She literally cut out two days of her normal schedule.

Axon did that. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without Axon.

Has Axon Software helped with your customer relationships?

Absolutely. If they call and request a copy of a ticket, we can pull it right up in Axon, email it to them – done! Whereas with our old system, we would have to search files and files and files to find that one ticket, scan it on the copier, and send it out. It would take three times more time, but in Axon it’s just a click of a button and it’s there. You just pull up the ticket number and it goes out.

Did you have experience with other systems before Axon Software?

We were with the company we used prior to Axon for over 25 years. They were great, but it was really outdated. There were so many software companies that we shopped – I’ve been hunting for a software package for our company for five years. I started in October of 2013 and in October of 2018 we made the decision to go with Axon.

During those five years I talked to so many software companies and there really aren’t that many software systems on the market that would support what we do because of the unique business that we have.

We haul several types of products, our trucks can run several different jobs throughout the day – different commodities, different locations, it’s always changing. Other software companies don’t support that, but Axon could support it. We can customize it to our needs.

If one of your peers in the industry asked about Axon Software, what would you say?

I would definitely promote Axon. It has helped us tremendously. Our old system was going out and we had to make the change. Like I said, there really weren’t that many products on the market that would work for our company.

When I checked Axon out, not only is the software itself great, it was very customizable. I just love the way it presents the information and how you don’t need to enter information more than once.

The support has also been tremendous. If you get hung up, support is only a phone call away and you don’t have to worry that you’re on your own, trying to work through it. They don’t leave you. It’s just a great company.

One of the things Axon promotes is, “We’ll hold your hand until you tell us to let go.” And that’s the truth. We haven’t let go yet, but I feel like we are getting close. We’re new to Axon, but so far our experience has been really good.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Estimated Driving Hours

When you’re assigning equipment and drivers to an order, it helps to have an estimated driving time. For example, you can assign a short trip to a driver who only has a few hours remaining before their break.

Axon times an order’s route by checking the Lat/Long or address for each pick/drop.

Once your truck is on the road, the system will use your picks/drops and your truck’s Satellite/Axon Truck Link GPS readings to estimate how much driving time is left on the order.

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TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS FOR PC*MILER

Axon Software provides you with a full range of options to make invoicing your customers as easy as possible.

  • Consider choosing the Use Lat/Long for Mileage checkbox on the Business Partners > General tab > Physical/Mailing Address to obtain more accurate mileage when using the Fill Mileages button
  • Check to make sure your zip/postal codes for locations are accurate as your fuel tax mileage will be incorrect if any of the zip/postal codes are incorrect
  • You can use the PC*Miler Web Transaction Usage History datasource on Reporter to help you keep track of the number of PC*Miler transactions you have used. Once you’ve chosen the report columns, right click on one of the column headings and choose Properties > Count to get a count of the transactions on the report
  • We recommend using the Highway Only option to handle satellite locations that are slightly off the road. PC*Miler Web Services includes this option by default, but if you have a local installation of PC*Miler you will need PC*Miler Streets in order to use the Highway Only option
  • When you import Satellite Jurisdiction Miles, the system processes the sequence of locations in batches and submits them as a batch to PC*Miler. If any one location is invalid, it makes the whole batch invalid, so there will be no mileages reported for the batch
    • To determine which locations were included in a batch, run a Reporter report using the Satellite Location History datasource for the date range listed in the error message and specify which Tractor had the error message on the Select tab
    • If you are able to determine which Location(s) was invalid, go to the Satellite Location History and place a checkmark in the Invalid column beside the appropriate Location(s). The system will then ignore the Location(s) when calculating satellite jurisdiction miles
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