Acorn mobilises database’s roots

Monday, 19 September, 2011

Drivers at vehicle specialist Acorn Rentals can now access the company’s internal database from their iPads. This has helped improve administration efficiency and increased the mobility of the team.

Acorn is an accident replacement vehicle specialist, providing ‘not at fault’ drivers with rental cars while their own ones get repaired. Based in Sydney, Acorn provides this service to over 250 locations across the nation and has been in operation for 20 years.

The company has used a custom-built FileMaker Pro database to manage its entire rental booking system for the last 16 years. The company had a desire to increase the efficiency and mobility of its team, so it looked for ways to provide the information in that database to its drivers, while they’re on the road.

Acorn ultimately invested in FileMaker Go for iPad. The company was able to create a custom customer-service solution for iPad over the course of several days, after struggling for months to develop a proprietary mobile solution.

Aaron Martin, National Operations Manager at Acorn, says that as soon as the company heard about this solution, “we instantly switched over to it and abandoned our previous costly, complex mobile development effort”.

The solution is now used by all of the company’s six delivery drivers, allowing them to access the database and update the rental booking system while on the road. Using their iPads, drivers enter customer and vehicle details directly into the firm’s main database at headquarters. This eases the administrative burden that drivers previously were subjected to.

“Our drivers immediately had full access to our FileMaker Pro database from anywhere. We subsequently made a few layout modifications and created a script so that we could insert customer signatures electronically into all the documents. It was that simple,” says Michael Costin, National Account Manager at Acorn.

“We now deliver a customer experience that is unrivalled by any car hire firm in Australia and was achieved without a huge development budget and specialised hardware,” says Martin.

Customers now get their replacement cars faster and easier, and receive documentation through email.

Plus, by taking advantage of the iPads’ GPS, head office can monitor how far the drivers are away from a customer.

As a result, Acorn Rentals has been able to increase its productivity and grow the business without the need to hire additional staff.

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