Saturday, May 03, 2008

Think Doc Prep NOW!!! and chuck your stapler while you're at it. . .

You may be considering a back file conversion of your archived and active documentation in the near future. You need to consider Doc Prep NOW! Doc Prep is short for Document Preporation. Before any paper can pass through a scanner, it needs to be prepped. Prepping a document for scanning involves the removal of staples, paperclips, post-it-notes, etc. Additionally, "dog eared" pages need to be folded flat. Post-it-notes and dog eared pages may cover page content that will be missed during the scanning process.

Document Imaging service bureaus have staff dedicated to preparing documents for scanning. Doc prep is a very labor intensive process and the more doc prep that is required, the higher your back file conversion cost will be.

Here are a few things to consider and implement where appropriate. . .

1) Use paper clips instead of staples where ever possible. A staple that is not detected and removed during doc prep will result in a double feed/jam in the scanner. Everytime a double feed/jam is encountered, the time required to fix the jam takes anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Removing staples also takes a lot of time during doc prep so avoid using the stapler when ever possible! Paper clips Good - Staples Bad

2) Use a consistent method for all employees to file active documents. You know your filing system and how to interpret your documents, we don't. Bob in accounting likes to file his records with the most current record at the front of the folder. Mary likes to file her records with the oldest record at the front of the folder. Depending on how we seperate out the documents, this could cause confusion during the doc prep phase with the potential for documents not being separated and indexed correctly.

3) Print all of your documents single sided. I know many people are thinking "Green" these days and they want to do their part by using less copier paper. Printing and copying documents as double sided does save paper and it makes you feel better inside, however. . . when scanning a mixed batch of single and double sided paper, we have to scan EVERY page as double sided. This is not a problem, but the blank pages do have to be removed. We have excellent software that will remove most of the blank pages, but some will pass through and we will have to remove those pages manually resulting in more time and possible increased cost. Most of our customers have us shred documents once we scan them and the shredded material is recycled so you can still feel good inside even if you print single sided.

Doc prep will have to be implemented for all scanning projects, but if you can minimize the use of staples, file your documents consistently and print your documents as all single sided, then the amount of doc prep required will be minimal resulting is less cost and quicker scanning project turn around times.

We'll talk about indexing strategies next time.

Sean Martin, Vice President, Twin Imaging Technology

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