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Improving Business Flow

Document Capture Practices

 

By Cassandra Carnes

 

Digitizing documents for electronic viewing and archiving is critical in a content heavy, mobile world. Organizations often struggle with the influx of paper-based communications they are saddled with daily. Many look to embrace a paperless workflow for a more streamlined approach to business processes.

 

Capture is the entryway into automated, electronic document management. Equipping an office or workgroup with a high-volume document scanning solution enables a virtual repository of data—easily accessible to networked and remote users. These digitized documents are shared, archived, and managed with a content or document management system. A centralized capture department also streamlines a company’s paper digitization efforts, enabling a structured method for document handling. Portable and wide format scanning solutions are available to serve niche requirements.

 

Behind-the-scenes technological advancements, such as optical and intelligent character recognition, are integrated into advanced scanning solutions to provide efficiency. Business management platforms enable the potential for a paperless environment.

 

Driving Document Capture

Several factors propel the adoption of capture processes. The ability to achieve cost savings is a primary driver. Businesses reduce time spent searching for missing or misplaced documents if digital counterparts are well organized and accessible. Additionally, a reduction in print costs is often recognized as document capture and digital file sharing help to eliminate the amount of unnecessary copies and reprints.

 

The adoption of a managed print service (MPS) selling model for office equipment also places a spotlight on the benefits of document capture. Rather than selling boxes, high-profile office product manufacturers and dealers take a holistic approach at serving the document management needs of an organization, which often include the use of input devices to promote a seamless business workflow. This contract-based service incorporates an assessment of document needs, outlining real cost savings in association with the implementation of the right mix of hardware and software for an organization.

 

The availability of scanning functions in multifunction products (MFPs) also aids in the adoption of document digitization. A recent study by AIIM, Capture and Business Process: Drivers and Experiences of Content-Driven Processes, found that 58 percent of organizations make formal use of MFPs as capture devices for a business process or archive procedure.

 

Getting Started

Organizations that have yet to convert archived files into versatile electronic versions have a daunting task ahead. To help alleviate the initial burden, imaging service providers are available. For example, The Crowley Company, in addition to supplying scanning equipment, serves the digitization and microfilming needs of archivists, librarians, governments, and corporations by preserving important documents, maps, books, and microfilm.

 

Crowley’s imaging services provide letter, legal, and large format paper scanning, demonstrating the ability to handle even the largest backfile conversions and helping companies increase ease of access to the information they own and archive. Its client base includes the medical and healthcare communities; local, state, and federal government entities; as well as the private sector. The company utilizes a variety of high-speed scanners from manufacturers including Canon U.S.A., Inc., Contex A/S, Eastman Kodak Company, Fujitsu, and InoTec.

 

Paradigm Imaging Group provides both on- and off-site scanning services. The company offers on-site services when a large amount of documents are involved to reduce the risk of loss or damage associated with relocating documents to an off-site scanning facility. In addition to being a service bureau, Paradigm distributes and develops large format imaging products.

 

Capture and Productivity

The adoption of document capture practices is certain to affect an organization’s current business workflow. Access to electronic documents is important to the efficiency of mobile workers. Additionally, companies that implement an electronic business workflow through the use of document capture and management can get back time and resources once spent searching for lost or misplaced hardcopy files. Reduced output costs are often achieved when businesses transition to a paperless workflow.

 

The ability to perform business functions in a collaborative, electronic setting is essential to an organization’s relevancy and productivity. While a complete document management system incorporates many elements, including software and IT, a scanning peripheral is the component that links physical documents with virtual business processes. A number of companies provide the scanning hardware necessary to capture hardcopy documents across an organization.

 

Canon offers the imageFORMULA DR-X10C, a mid-volume production scanner that boasts high speed and high quality with reliable document handling capabilities. The device fits the demanding requirements of centralized scanning by delivering capture at speeds of up to 130 pages per minute (ppm) and 260 images per minute (ipm) in color, grayscale, or B&W. The energy efficient and durable DR-X10C offers an operator-friendly design.

 

Users of the DR-X10C have the option to invest in a barcode Module III, an add-on software program for enabling barcode reading functionality to the ISIS/TWAIN driver. This software automates workflow processes such as indexing, batch separation, and forms recognition.

 

For portability, Canon offers the imageFORMULA P-150 personal document scanner. Its compact size, simple use, and advanced feature set allows for document capture outside of the office. The P-150 scanner—also known as Scan-tini—is designed for professionals to improve personal efficiency and individual productivity in the office and transit.

 

Kodak offers a variety of document imaging solutions, including network, check, workgroup, departmental, and production scanners. The company’s production devices offer true speeds of up to 200 ppm with enabled image processing. Auto orientation, batch scanning, Perfect Page imaging, and adjustable height are additional features.

 

Most recently, the company introduced the KODAK i5000 series scanners, which are designed to help enterprises and service bureau organizations increase production-level capture performance through optimized accuracy and automated functionality. The i5200 and i5600 feature rated speeds of 140 and 170 ppm, respectively, at 300 dpi in color and dual stream modes with all imaging features enabled. To meet the high-volume demands of these operations, the C-shape, duplex scanners come equipped with an automatic 750-sheet elevator design with four feed settings. The devices use embedded logic algorithms to automatically find the fastest processing path for scanning. The i5200 scanner is priced at $30,000 USD and the i5600 scanner $45,000 USD.

 

Beyond scanning, Kodak provides its s1740 capture system, developed to eliminate document pre- and post-sorting. It includes a fully integrated high-speed document scanner with inline document separation capability. Typical applications include centralized batch scanning for customer service, magazine subscriptions, payment and invoice processing, and mailroom operations. The system automatically post-sorts documents into two, six, eight, or 12 pockets based on content or document attributes.

 

Epson WorkForce Pro scanners are optimized for small- to medium-size businesses, or a single department within a larger organization. The devices provide education, finance, healthcare, and state and local government organizations with a new generation of high-speed scanning technology to further enhance productivity. Both the WorkForce Pro GT-S50 and GT-S80 feature Epson’s exclusive ReadyScan LED technology, designed to eliminate scanner warm-up time. They also feature a unique LCD on the front panel that shows users exactly which scan job/configuration is selected.

 

The WorkForce Pro GT-S50 document image scanner touts a daily duty cycle of up to 1,200 sheets, plus a 75-page feeder. The device is equipped to tackle any task in a busy office environment. The WorkForce Pro GT-S80 offers businesses a powerful scanning solution, featuring speeds up to 80 ipm and a daily duty cycle of up to 1,800 sheets. This high-volume, sheet-fed scanner makes it easy to capture critical documents.

 

Fujitsu provides a range of high-speed scanners that are well suited for high-volume needs. The company’s suite of production scanners includes 90 ppm—or 180 imp, to over 130 ppm—more than 260 ipm, full-rated speed at up to 300 dpi in color, grayscale, or B&W modes. Fujitsu production scanners include the fi-6800, fi-5950, fi-5900C, and fi-6670 sheet-fed scanners, as well as the fi-6770 flatbed scanner.

 

The Hewlett-Packard (HP) Scanjet Enterprise 7000n Document Capture Workstation series enables organizations to improve workflows, boost productivity, and share documents. The workstation features advanced networking and security, allowing users to easily initiate scans and access and share files on a network. The HP Scanjet Enterprise 7000n series seamlessly integrates into existing infrastructures. It captures two-sided documents at up to 40 ppm and 80 ipm in B&W and grayscale and up to 35 ppm and 70 ipm in color.

 

OPEX Corporation offers a document capture platform that integrates mail extraction as a centralized scanning solution. The OPEX AS7200i is an out-of-the-envelope scanning solution that incorporates mail opening and extraction with image capture and classification. AS7200i operators touch paper once to open, extract, and capture. This inline processing also allows for printing an audit trail and sorting mail contents without a separate preparation process.

 

Panasonic Corporation of North America high-volume scanners are designed for the high-quantity capture of documents such as insurance claims, loan applications, and invoices. The company offers the HV-S4085CL, KV-S4085CW, KV-S3085, KV-S3105C, and KV-S5055C high-speed document scanner models.

 

Starting with the Basics

The right mix of hardware and software solutions is necessary to implement a document capture and distribution strategy. However, instituting suitable hardware to handle daily volumes is a primary step towards record digitization. It is important to consider an organization’s document management requirements, as well as a defined strategy on backfiles and capture processes when moving forward with a selection.

 

May2011, Business TechEdge

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