Trucking News – September 2020

“WE’VE HAD AXON NOW FOR 3 YEARS AND THE NUMBER OF TRUCKS WE HAVE HAS ALMOST DOUBLED. “WE’VE GONE FROM 33 TO ABOUT 65 TRUCKS AND WE’VE ADDED ONLY 2 MORE ADMIN STAFF.” “WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ADDING AS MANY AS 20 TRUCKS THIS SUMMER. I AM PRETTY COMFORTABLE WITH THE FACT THAT WE CAN LOOK AFTER THAT MANY MORE WITH THE PEOPLE WE HAVE IN PLACE NOW. ”

Kansas Ridge Trucking is primarily a bulk liquids hauler out of Lacombe, Alberta. After evaluating some options about 3 years ago, they made a switch and now run their company using Axon Software. We spoke with Garry Evernden to see how that has been working for them and to learn more about how their business operates these days.

Can you tell us a bit about the company?
We’ve been trucking and working with Coretech and Ward Chemical since 2005. Our mainstay is all bulk liquids and for the most part we’re doing road stabilization and dust control through Ward and Coretech. We have progressively grown. In 2005, we had 6 trucks – 3 haul trucks and 3 spray trucks. Now we have 15 spray trucks and about 45 support trucks, B-trains, and all kinds of various combinations. Then we use a whack of lease trucks as well in the summertime.
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I am Garry Evernden, president of Kansas Ridge Trucking here in Lacombe.

Can you talk about making the switch to Axon Software?
Our road with Axon started about 3 years ago. It was a function of us not being able to track and trace with the growth as good as we wanted. I looked at a few different options, and we had some experience working with other trucking companies that were already using the Axon system. It was an easy solution for me to take it on. It wasn’t completely cold turkey. I had looked at some of their reports and got some feedback from the people that were already using it, in addition to the sales staff. I kind of hit the ground running with Axon when we started.
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How is your experience with Axon Software?
The technical support that we’ve got from Axon is amazing. They run you through all the training like you would expect. Some of the things that we do here, I think, are a little bit different. We’ve got a few challenges just like everything, but we’ve worked through it. There isn’t anything we can’t do between us and the technical guys. I think it’s great. We’re nowhere near using Axon to its capability, not even close. I’m just barely scratching the surface on the reports.
Can you talk about problems that Axon Software has solved for you?
What I like about it is that we have dispatchers in different locations. It had been a real struggle before Axon, trying to figure out how to manage in real-time 2 guys in 2 different places, looking after the same trucks. The Axon dispatch module has given us that ability. The dispatcher that’s not here can remote-access our system. It’s only as good as the data that you’re putting in right? But both of those guys are looking at the same screen all the time and they can see what’s available immediately. Tracking the history is very important to us. There aren’t too many projects that are straightforward. There are always things that go sideways. If you’re not tracking those details all day, every day, when it comes to invoicing, there is so much that can be missed if the guys aren’t writing it on their tickets. “As far as the tickets go, our next step is to go paperless. Both on the ticket side and on the log side. It will definitely speed up our invoicing. We don’t have to wait for the guys to come by the shop and drop tickets off and do the process 2 weeks after the fact. It can be done daily.
Do you think you could increase your fleet without adding more on the admin side?
I think so. I think that we would easily be able to add as many as 20 trucks this summer. I am pretty comfortable with the fact that we can look after that many more with the people we have in place now. Yeah, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I think that we’re running pretty efficiently right now so that we could easily handle another 20 trucks. That’s a 25% increase over what we’re doing right now. I think we’re going to manage just fine with what we have.
Are you seeing a good return on investment with Axon Software?
We would need a couple more people without it, so just in that alone you’re saving. But it increases the efficiency of everything, and I like that about it. It’s not just the admin stuff – it’s everything. We’re trying to get to a point where the guys don’t have to mess with paper. We’re trying to make it as easy as we can on the drivers. We’re trying to make it as easy as we can on the maintenance guys, to trace and track parts and inspections. All of that kind of stuff. Axon allows us to have a place to put all of that rather than file cabinets and file cabinets and file cabinets full of stuff.
Has Axon Software helped with your customer relations and invoicing?
I used to do things old school. I was dispatching myself and I had numerous coiled binders. When something happened in the field, I’d be making notes in the binders and I’d just keep them in a file cabinet. Now we have Axon and we’re able to put all kinds of notes right on the driver’s ticket through to the booking number. Rather than me having to look it up in my own notes, once it’s entered into the system, everybody can look at it. The girls can look at it for invoicing. It’s way more efficient.
Do the drivers like the information they get with their statements?
Yeah, it’s very straightforward. We must not have any problems with it because no one is complaining – that’s usually what I go by. I think everything is more trackable than what we had before. The integration into the software is the whole key.
If somebody in the industry asked about your experience with Axon Software, what would you say?
Overall, it’s really good. I think the price is fair. The support is good. I really don’t have any drawbacks at all. We’ve had Axon now for 3 years and the number of trucks we have has almost doubled. We’ve gone from 33 to about 65 trucks and we’ve added only 2 more admin staff.
NEW BUSINESS TRIGGERS
You can now notify users or send an email when Work Orders and/or Purchase Orders are created, updated, or deleted (contact Axon to use this feature).
ARE THEY AVAILABLE?

You can display the availability of equipment and drivers directly on the dispatching screen:

Create calendar event types for times when drivers or equipment are unavailable due to holidays or shop work (Business > Calendar Types) and choose Display on Dispatch so that the information appears on the dispatch screen as well as the calendar. The reason they are unavailable will be displayed on the timeline for the specified date range.Dates when a piece of equipment is unavailable and the reason why it’s unavailable can be entered on the Equipment > General tab > Unavailable Dates/Reason. The information will be displayed directly on the dispatching screen. You can do the same thing for drivers (Employees > General tab > Unavailable Dates/Reason).

Equipment or drivers that have been pre-booked for a project (Projects > Equipment Drivers tab) will show as assigned on dispatch. There is no routing or pay assigned to pre-booked equipment or drivers, so they can be switched to another activity./p>

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TIME-SAVING TIPS – REPORTER REPORTS
Reporter reports are a convenient way to obtain the information you need. Here are some of the data source options that you may find useful:
  • Business Partners Driver Qualifications – the driver qualifications required by your Business Partners
  • Tickets Proximity Events – the proximity events that have been created for your Tickets
  • Orders/Tickets including Other Charges – Orders/Tickets regardless of whether or not there are Other Charges
  • Axon Link Ids – all your activated and deactivated Link App Ids and the Equipment or Drivers they are attached to
  • Satellite Ids – the number of active Satellite Ids
STAYING UP TO DATE
Axon helps you keep your drivers, owner operators, and staff in the know by notifying users or sending an email when a transaction is created, updated, or deleted. With Business Triggers, you can let owner operators know when work on their tractor has been completed or inform a driver when an order/ticket is updated or deleted.
LET’S COPY THAT!

There’s no point reinventing the wheel. If you frequently carry the same or similar loads for the same customers, why not create an order/ticket template.

Set up a template with the information that remains the same from one shipment to another and you’ll avoid duplication. Additional, non-standard information can be added on individual orders and tickets. You can set up as many different templates as you need and pick the relevant template when you create a new order or ticket. Templates can be synced with Axon’s Truck Link app. When a driver sends in a template message, the system will create a new order/ticket using the template the message is linked to and will fill in the information provided in the message.

You can also create employee templates with the standard earnings, wages, deductions, and benefits for employees who receive similar benefits. For example, you can set up a template for all your drivers with standard options such as driver pay and toll fees and a different template for administrative staff that includes monthly wages and pension. When you hire a new employee, all you’ll have to do is choose the appropriate template rather than re-entering all the information every single time.

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