For many companies and organizations, document scanning and management can be a nightmare of a process. Where do you find the space to store thousands of documents and files? How do you allocate the staff resources needed to keep up with the endless quantity of incoming documents? How do you ensure that documents are secure, readily available and easy to find? Professional scanning services exist to solve these issues by storing files securely offsite, converting physical documents into digital documents, and streamlining the document management process. However, for corporations and organizations that have decided that a document scanning service might be their best option, choosing the best provider may be difficult. To help ease the transition, we have created this surefire guide to hiring the right professional scanning services provider for your specific business.
Do You Need a Professional Scanning Service?
Before choosing a scanning service, consider what objectives you expect that service to meet. For most organizations, the need for a commercial service is driven by one (or more than one) of these factors: Time, Space, and Costs.
Business owners rarely find joy in committing their valuable time towards managing documents. Often, onsite document scanning and storage is viewed as a necessary but tedious task that takes them away from the focus of their business. Doctors for instance, are most effective when their time is focused on medicine, not when their time is split digging through mountains of files to find a single patient record. When companies begin putting critical time and energy into processes outside of those that progress their mission, the business becomes less productive and efficient.
Professional scanning services remove the burden of managing documents for these businesses, and allows them to focus all of their time on providing their customers with great products and services. Document management services ensure that business owners and employees can minimize the time focused on organizing paperwork, and maximize efforts towards growing the business.
It is estimated that one gigabyte of information is equal to thirty file cabinets. Document storage can require a tremendous amount of space. For on-site storage, space must be flexible, and able to grow as the amount of documents increase. Most businesses don’t have the extra space to support a heavy inflow of documents, and many wish that they could recover the space that their documents currently occupy.
Bulk document scanning services and commercial management solutions on the other hand, have secure and flexible storage facilities that allow businesses to free up needed space. The strain associated with finding new storage space is eliminated, even if their amount of document intake grows exponentially.
Although onsite document scanning and storage seems like a cost-effective option in comparison with paid off-site solutions, there are many hidden associated costs that are absorbed by the company. As mentioned, document scanning requires a considerable amount of time from management and employees. This time translates into money spent in both labor costs and the opportunity cost of employees not accomplishing more important tasks during the time that they spend scanning documents.
Space also translates financially. Rental prices for office spaces are usually measured by dollars per square foot. At $20/sq foot, a 1.5’x2.5’ file cabinet would cost around $75 per month in additional rent. A gigabyte worth of file cabinets (30 file cabinets) would increase the office’s rent by $2250 per month.
Choosing the Right Provider
Unfortunately, not all professional scanning services are made equal. A specific provider may be perfect for one type of business, but not have the capability to properly serve another type of business. Consider the following when researching companies that scan documents for you:
- How much work is required on your end? The ideal answer is “not much at all.” If the goal of hiring a service is to save time and effort, it certainly doesn’t help to hire a company that requires even MORE time from your staff. Small requirements, such as the removal of staples, can cause additional work for your employees. Make sure that the provider that you choose is able to service your documents from end-to-end with very minimal effort required from you and your staff.
- Can they scan and store non-standard documents? Some businesses don’t strictly use 8.5×11 size documents. Before choosing a provider, it is important to know whether they can manage all types of documents, even those that may be a non-standard or custom size. It’s more hassle than it is worth to hire a professional service that can only handle standard-letter sized documents, as you may still be required to scan and store non-standard documents onsite.
- How do they manage document retrieval? Location can be a major issue for commercial document scanners who physically pick up their client’s documents. Knowing the provider’s process for retrieving documents is critical to choosing the right professional scanning service. For some businesses who intake a tremendous amount of documents, it may not serve their need to hire a provider that can only retrieve documents once a week. If a provider can not retrieve your documents as fast as you receive them, the surplus will take up space — ultimately defeating the purpose of hiring a commercial scanning service in the first place.
- How secure are their systems and procedures? Legal, medical and corporate documents can contain extremely sensitive data such as patient health records, sensitive business information and more. Every document management business claims to be secure, but it is important to verify this claim by specifically asking about which measures they take to secure your documents. Before choosing a provider, find out what guarantees they have to ensure privacy protection for your information.
- Do they have quality assurance checks? Documents must be scanned with meticulous thoroughness to ensure accuracy and readability. Great providers have several quality assurance checkpoints throughout their process to guarantee a high-quality scanning service. Before you consider a document scanning solution, make sure that they have a clear and transparent method for verifying that all information is captured accurately and that they can consistently meet your quality standard.
- Who has access to your documents? A service may provide security from outside threats, but internal threats can be just as damaging. Don’t hire a document management company until you understand their process fully and have a complete understanding of who will have access to your documents. Be sure that your documents actually remain on-site, as some providers ship documents overseas to third-party companies to be scanned. Ask about the company’s employee review process and whether they have performed thorough employee background checks on individuals who could potentially access your files.
Finding the right provider will make your life easier and will increase your business’ efficiency. Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to better evaluate whether your scanning service is right for your particular business.
Docudavit offers professional scanning and document management solutions for businesses throughout Canada. From corporate storage services to electronic medical records (EMR) conversion services, Docudavit is able to provide high-quality, accurate and affordable solutions. Contact us to learn how we can help you manage your documents more accurately and free you from the burden of onsite scanning and storage.