Today’s post was written by Mary Jo Gremling, Manager of Crossroads Document Services.
Despite the popularity of desktop computers since the 1980s, most businesses still produce and handle mountains of paper. Even with good paper records storage, efficiently locating a specific document becomes more and more difficult as the volume of paper increases. That, coupled with the ever-rising cost of office space, often prompts a business or organization to seek the services of a document scanning company.
But how do you go about choosing a document scanning service? As a mother, I liken this process to selecting a good childcare provider. You wouldn’t hand your children over to just anyone who claimed to run a daycare. Neither should you choose a scanning service bureau without knowing it meets important criteria that insure your documents remain safe, secure, and protected.
1. Integrity—A good document scanning service should have an excellent reputation and be able to provide credible references. Contact these references and ask pertinent questions: What was it like to work with this company? What about the images they produced? Are they clear and legible? Do the file names make sense and help you find the information you need? Would you use this company again? Why or why not?
“Thank you for coming out to take a look at the work we have for scanning and shredding. We had such a good experience with your team last time, that there was no question as to who to contact for this project. Thank you again for your team’s excellent work!”
– City of Westfield, Crossroads Document Services customer reflection
2. Experience and Expertise—Can the scanning service handle your type of documents? Some imaging companies specialize in certain sectors, while others serve a broad range of organizations. Not all imaging services can scan fragile historical documents, large format prints and drawings, or bound books.
Crossroads Document Services scans for a variety of businesses and organizations. In the past two years, we have imaged historical property records, both large and small format, for the Indianapolis Airport Authority and the City of Westfield; an entire archive of engineering drawings and maintenance manuals for Rexnord Corporation; several special collections of photos, posters, programs, and scrapbooks for the Indianapolis Public Library; and a wide range of real estate, healthcare, personnel, education, financial, and automotive records. (And that’s not a complete list!)
3. Security—Security and confidentiality are of the utmost importance. Is the facility locked, with access limited only to employees during their scheduled shifts? Have criminal background checks been run on all employees? Is the facility alarmed and monitored by an outside service? Are 24-hour surveillance cameras in place? Are all employees who handle your documents formally trained to follow HIPAA and other privacy regulations and procedures?
All Crossroads Document Services employees are taught to respect the documents we handle as “sacred.” We have often recognized and returned originals that the client has not previously recognized as valuable (live checks, original student records of “celebrities,” etc.) so the originals could be retained by the customer instead of shredded upon completion of the project.
4. Scanning Technology—Professional imaging hardware and software should be kept up to date. Does your service provider have the capacity to handle your job in a timely manner? Can they provide the file type you need (TIFF, PDF, JPEG, other)? How accurate is their OCR (optical character recognition) software? Can they provide cloud- or server-based solutions to help your company improve information access? How will they deliver your final electronic archive?
5. Quality—The object of every scanning project is to capture every image as legibly as possible to ensure the information on the page is readable and printable. Is your provider a “load and walk away” shop, or is the scanner operator visually verifying the capture of each image on the screen? In some industries, 99.9% accuracy is terrific, but in the document scanning world, that means one page of every 1,000 could be missing or unreadable! In image capture and data entry, your service provider should strive for zero defects.
As part of an ISO 9001:2015 certified business, Crossroads Document Services consistently upholds strict standards through our established process controls and quality systems.
6. Service—A good scanning company aims to make your job as easy as possible by offering a variety of services.
- Consultation—Whether you have a complete vision for your project or are just beginning to discuss it, you should be able to count on your imaging service to help you plan a logical process and file-naming structure to make your project as pain-free as possible. Seek a scanning partner, not just a vendor.
- Document Preparation—Don’t settle for a provider that makes you take out all staples, paperclips, etc. That’s their job!
- Scanning—What do you need? Large format, small format, black and white, color, grayscale, high-resolution, fine art, bound books, ledgers, microfilm, aperture cards… Ask about capabilities.
- Access—Worried about needing your records while they’re not in your office? A good service bureau can track your documents throughout the entire process and should be able to scan and upload requested documents quickly, usually the same day they receive your request.
- Document destruction or return—Your documents should be handled securely all the way through the process. Make sure you have ample time to approve the final output before your provider has a certified shredding service dispose of the paper documents. Paper documents on hold for approval should be maintained in a securely locked area until they are shredded. Make arrangements with your provider if you want your paper records to be returned or put into long-term record storage.
7. Site Visit—Although they will have some restrictions in place because of confidentiality policies, a good scanning company will welcome a request for a tour of their production facility. Inspecting the facility where your critical business information is to be handled is an excellent way to check out all the points we’ve covered here.
Crossroads Document Services offers experienced, quality scanning for your personal and professional needs. To receive a quote, call Mary Jo Gremling at 317-897-7320, ext. 4230.
Mary Jo owned and operated eLucida Imaging from 2003 to 2013, when her Indianapolis-based company was purchased by Crossroads Industrial Services. She now manages Crossroads Document Services, located at 8302 E. 33rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46226.