Are you wanting to free up office floor space? Are you tired of having to endlessly search for a single document? Regardless of the specific reason, digitization offers numerous benefits to organizations in any industry. Although taking on a document scanning project may seem intimidating at first, with a good scanning vendor, the process becomes a breeze. Outsourcing your digitization needs takes the stress off of your hands, while giving you the peace of mind you need. However, fully understanding the imaging process from start to finish can give you a better idea of your specific wants and needs. Generally, the digitization process can be broken down into seven major steps:
Depending upon your preferences, the documents to be scanned can be collected in two ways. The first option entails you boxing up all of the necessary documents, and either physically delivering them or shipping them to your scanning vendor. The most common option is to have the scanning vendor come out and collect the project documents. Regardless of what works best for you, security should always be a top priority. A good document scanning vendor will be able to walk you through preparing and sending your documents and have security checks in place as the documents are transferred to their facility.
Making sure that your documents are prepared for scanning is one of the most critical and time consuming steps of the digitization process. Here, the vendor ensures that all staples, paper clips and other similar items have been removed. They should also pay close attention to torn pages, sticky notes, as well as removing any items that don’t need to be scanned and identifying small pages that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. Lastly, a reputable company will flatten any curled or folded pages to assure that the documents will run through the scanner seamlessly. While this may seem miniscule, a missed paper clip or staple could interrupt the scanning process, cost valuable time, and even cause pages to tear or rip.
After each document is correctly prepped, it is ready for scanning. Paper documents are then loaded into our scanner to be imaged. During scanning, a good vendor will get a head start on quality control for your documents. A scanning technician oversees the pages as they scan to ensure that brightness and contrast settings are correct for a readable image. They’ll also ensure that no pages get double fed or missed during the scanning process.
Indexing is the step of the process that puts your data at your fingertips. After scanning, each document is indexed according to your preferences. Each document can be indexed multiple ways in multiple categories as needed to ensure that you can find what you need, when you need it. Typical index fields include things like: identification numbers, names, dates, locations, document types, service types, department names, partial social security numbers, etc. Though the options may seem varied and overwhelming, an experienced imaging vendor can help you determine the best option for your documents.
After scanning and indexing, your documents undergo a thorough quality control process to assure image readability, proper image orientation, and check for any other complications that may affect the quality of your project. This process also confirms that all pages have been scanned, blank pages have been deleted and all index fields have been populated. Quality control is a critical part of the digitization process as it assures that your images are easily readable, correctly indexed, and that the original documents are ready to be returned to you or shredded or stored.
When your imaging project is correct and complete, it is time to prepare for delivery. Depending on your preferences, the hard copy records are either returned to you, placed in secure storage, or securely shredded and recycled. As for the digital version of your project, it is exported and delivered via the media you select. Generally, project output options include Cloud repository, CD/DVD, flash drive, FTP (transferred directly to your system), or external hard drive. Regardless of your specific needs, quality vendors will have a variety of output solutions to offer.
A good scanning vendor should be available to you throughout the process from start to finish. Even after your scanning project is completed, a line of ongoing communication should still exist between you and your vendor. This type of open dialogue will ensure that you know who to contact should you have any questions regarding your completed project.
Want to Know More?
Whether you are ready to actively begin a document scanning project, or still have a few more questions, we’re here to help! Our document imaging experts are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your digitization plans. Contact Us for more information, or to connect with a member of our team.