Legendary Australian hat-maker streamlines operations with FileMaker

In Australia, Akubra slouch hats are as iconic as Indiana Jones's fedora, being worn by farmers, hunters and even prime ministers. The company is 130 years old and still going strong, but until recently it operated on a woefully outdated DOS system that was designed to mimic an earlier manual recordkeeping method, tracking everything from finances to production. Four years ago, Ron Palin was appointed operations manager and soon realized the need for an update.

Palin says that some of the reporting was so inefficient that it would have been faster to do it by hand. He also found that off-the-shelf software was not good enough for a textile factory which, like any manufacturing enterprise, combines very disparate operational departments under a single umbrella. Eventually, he settled on FileMaker, and Akubra is in the process of migrating all of its existing data to the new system.

"More than anything, it needed to be fast so people could ring up, place an order over the phone, and the system would respond to somebody over the phone," said Palin to ZDNet. "While people don't normally ring up for a 64-line order over the phone, they do ring up ordering two or three lines of hats."

For the first time, Akubra is shipping orders on the same day, and expects an unprecedentedly high rate of on-time deliveries for Christmas. Moreover, they are now able to easily track shipments. The company has also switched almost all its computer operations from Windows to OS X, using Parallels Desktop for Mac.

MC Services can help companies achieve similar results through FileMaker support and training, and can provide the necessary Mac integration services to make the switch to Apple.