If you've been tasked with researching and running a scanning project, then you're probably thinking where do I start? We've put together this guide to cover all the essential steps you'll need to progress your project forward.
What Documents to Scan
Before you go researching for a supplier, it's probably better to take stock of what documents will make up your project and which departments are likely to be involved? In some cases, you may only have documents from one area of the business - a good example of this would be HR files/personnel record scanning. Alternatively, there may be the motivation in the business to become truly paper free or paper light. If this is the case, businesses often pick one department to prove the case and progressively roll it out to all other departments. Often when only a single department is involved the word can spread quite rapidly to other areas of the business and the project naturally expands.
Another consideration is any documents you may have in storage. This maybe a good time to take stock of what you are storing and understand if you really need to be storing these documents or whether they can be scanned or even just destroyed. Documents are often stored needlessly because it's easier to almost forget about them than deal with them.
It's a good idea to get a clear understanding of how many documents will be involved in your project. This will clearly impact on costs and on the time it's likely to take, so the more accurate you can make your document count the better. You can find some statistics to help you estimate your document count here. We put together some guidance on how to calculate document scanning volumes, if you use these as a guide you should end up with a good working figure for your project.
Selecting a Format
The most popular format for your scanned images is PDF (Portable Document Format from Adobe). Just because it's popular doesn't always make it right, but it's a safe bet if you aren't quite sure what you want. Other options include JPEG, TIFF and RAW - it's worth looking into these if your requirement is more specialist or if you plan to do something more unusual with the finished images such as add them to a web site for example.
Indexing - What is it and what are your requirements
In simple terms, indexing is the criteria you select to organise your documents by. A good example of this would be using an employee's National Insurance number as their unique identifier on their HR file. Common indexing criteria are surname, first name, employee number, supplier, document number or customer number. Documents can have a single indexing criteria or multiple criteria. It's worth remembering that documents are generally indexed manually so the greater your criteria, the longer it takes and the greater the cost.
Preparing your documents (before sending them away) is something that is very much optional for most people. It's often better just to scan all your documents - this means there is no risk of anything being removed or missed by accident. Documents will always need to be prepared by the scanning bureau before scanning so if you decide to do it in house, you may find your work has to be checked and re done anyway. Staples need to be removed, pages turned around and everything put straight before being fed into a scanner.
Working with your Scanned Documents
Once your documents have been scanned it's important to make the most out of them. In the simplest form, you can store your images in folders on your hard drive or on some network storage. This doesn't really give you anything more than a place to store them and its generally not that secure, not particularly quick and certainly doesn't offer any value add. An electronic document management system provides a much better option. eView and DocuWare are cost effective electronic document management systems used by companies globally.
Once you have finished your project and you are happy with your digital images it's well worth committing to destroying the paper documents. If you don't complete this step, it could be argued that the whole project has been a waste of time. Documents can be shredded and pulped to guarantee complete security of information.
To talk to us in more detail about scanning projects, you can reach us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org / 0333 060 6528