Document Scanning – Don’t Pull Your Hair Out!!
Making the decision to go start document scanning is abig one – and not a cheap one! When you start the process of calling around and asking for quotes, you may be surprised at some of the numbers you hear. A lot of people assume that running paper through a scanner isn’t a lot of work, and it isn’t. However, the process before and after the scanning is where the bulk of the work is, and the quality of how it’s done is what you’re paying for.
We do have clients that say no to our proposals, and when I ask them what their plan is, they often say they’re going to do production “in-house”. We strongly advise against this. In fact, I would rather you choose a different company over ours to save yourself that frustration. You will not save any money, and you might even spend more.
As I stated above, document imaging is more than running paper through a scanner. You need to be organized and methodical when it comes to how you’re going to start the project. What are you scanning? Medical records? Legal Documents? General office records? They all need to at some point be indexed so you can easily find them. You’ll need to assess how you are going to want to search for these records in the future. Is “Tax 2009” going to be specific enough, or do you need them broken down further into “write-offs”, “income”, etc – we would call this bookmarking. What are you going to save your documents as? PDF’s? Do you want them OCR’d? Lots of decisions. And the information needed to make your project the most optimal, efficient and cost-effective will come from a professional company that knows what they are doing.
The next step is buying the scanners, or maybe even renting them. However, as you know, renting them means paying a lot of money, only to return them! What is the tech support that comes with the scanner? Can someone set them up for you? Do you have the space for the scanners? Are you going to hire a temp to run them, or have an employee do it? Either way, there is going to be a learning curve, as there is with any new process, and you’re going to have to train them.
You will have to prep these documents to go through the scanner. This is the most important part as junk in means junk out. You’re going to need someone, a temp or a regular FTE, to sit there and remove all staples, paperclips and rubber bands, fix dog ears, etc. All post-its need to be removed and taped to the back of the document it was stuck to. Are you planning on using the bookmarks I mentioned earlier? If so, your bookmark barcode separator sheets are going to have to be made and inserted somewhere along the way so the scanner knows how to batch your images.
Hopefully, your documents are ready to be scanned in the timeframe you need them scanned in! Are your employees trained to scan them? Do they know what to do if there is a jam? Do they know what to do after the batch is done scanning? Is there a quality control process? Are you sending them through an OCR software? Do you know what format the images will be saved in?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated reading this, think of how you’ll feel when you’re actually doing this project in-house. It is a fact that companies who choose to do their work internally look for the lower end software and scanners, which means limited to NO tech support without additional payments. Trust me, you will hit speed bumps.
Companies that outsource their work to us, or any other scanning company, will say that it is absolutely worth the money. The turnaround times are met without any stress on their end. We also offer scan-on-demand, so you’re never really without your records. Good scanning companies keep their technology up to date and are protected behind the strongest firewalls and virus protection available.
My writing this is not mean to discourage you out of going digital – but to inform you of the risks of doing it yourself! The greatest error in scanning is human error – leave your sensitive information conversion to the professionals.