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Document Scanning Services Solutions

4 min read

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"I want to scan my records, so where do I start?"

Document scanning services provide an innovative solution to today's record-keeping and remote working challenges. The numerous benefits of a digital records system are something that most businesses understand. Document scanning provides many benefits:

  • It secures your information
  • It allows you to access records quickly
  • It gives you the ability to back up data
  • It provides immense efficiency and cost savings compared to a paper-based records system

Consider these statistics: a study completed by the Gartner Group estimates that 50 percent of small and medium-sized businesses would go out of business within three years if lost data could not be recovered in 24 hours. Additionally, 15% of all documents are misplaced and 7.5% are lost altogether. After hearing statistics like this, why would a business not scan their paper records? Document scanning solutions are essential.

In many cases, businesses don't embrace document scanning because they simply do not know where to start. Having rooms full of boxes and cabinets full of paper can be very intimidating, and that sense of overwhelm often discourages businesses from doing anything at all.

How to get started with document scanning

As a company that provides digital scanning solutions to businesses, this challenge is one we take seriously, and help our clients overcome regularly. Today we will look at some steps that you can take to get started on the path to transition from paper to digital records.

1. Take an inventory of your records

Knowing exactly what you have for records is the best place to start. Boxes or file cabinets might not be clearly labeled or are rarely used, so often businesses do not even know what they even have.

A box of labels, a marker, and a laptop with Excel is all that you need to get started.

  • The labels and markers allow you to assign a location (cabinet, drawer, shelf, room, etc.) to each record. Knowing where things are is very important in the later steps shown below.
  • Using an Excel spreadsheet allows for multiple fields of information to be entered, which can then be easily sorted and organized.
  • At a minimum, the fields you capture should include Department (who), Record Title (what), Date (when), and Location (where).
  • The more detailed you are, the better. Being vague will just make it more likely that you will have to come back to the box or drawer later to get the information anyway.

Depending upon your paper volume, this may be a process that can take days or even a few weeks. After all information is entered on a spreadsheet, you can sort it by department or record type to make it easier to work with.

2. Establish a retention policy

Now that you know what records you have, it is time to determine what you do or do not need to keep. This is done by implementing a retention schedule or policy. Finding a policy that is specific to your business is an important step, and should be taken carefully. If you do not have a retention policy, the best advice is to confer with your legal counsel to ensure you have the right one selected so as remain in compliance. Be very careful of online retention guides as they may not apply to your business or location, and could put your business at legal risk.

3. Apply the retention policy to your records

Applying a retention policy to an inventory list is a process that is often delegated to department leaders, as they typically have the best understanding of exactly what the records are. The titles or descriptions of records in your inventory must now be matched to their corresponding titles or descriptions in the retention policy. This can sometimes be challenging, as records can be described in many different ways. In your spreadsheet, you can add a column for the retention period, such as the number of months or years, and then a destroy date (actual date). Enter information for each record listed.

4. Destroy records that are eligible

After completing the first three steps above, you now have greater control of your paper-based records. You know exactly what you have, and you know how long you need to keep things. Any records that are eligible for destruction, should be taken care of. This will not only open some valuable space, but it removes the risk associated with hanging on to something that you are not required to retain. In any type of litigation, the discovery process means anything is fair game. If you have it, you must produce it—even if you legally could have already destroyed it.

5. Determine what to do with your remaining records

At this point, you are left with the records that are not yet eligible to be destroyed, as well as permanent records that you must never destroy. The next part of the process is to make decisions on what to do with these records. In your inventory report, you can now add one more column: in this column, you will choose to do one of two things for each record.

  • Records with permanent or more long-term retention are good candidates for scanning. The paper will not be going away anytime soon. Records that are more active are also ideal for scanning because replacing paper with digital files provides efficiency and cost savings.
  • Records that can be shredded soon (1-2 years) can be stored until the records are eligible for destruction. Scanning them would provide little return value unless the records are used frequently.

6. Engage with a document scanning professional

After completing the first five steps you have eliminated records you did not need to keep and know what to do with the ones you do have to keep. At this point, you know exactly what you want to scan. Working with a professional resource and document scanning services partner like EO Johnson Document Scanning is your next move. Here we can work with you to understand your records and develop a strategy to digitize them. There are many options for how records can be scanned.

Customers can apply resources to certain job steps to save on costs, automation can be applied wherever possible to provide further savings, and there are multiple options for quality control. A scanning professional can help guide you through the process, ask and answer questions, and ultimately provide you with the information needed to make decisions for your records management program.

Document scanning services: The future of business

Understanding the benefits of going paperless and digitizing your documents is easy. But, knowing exactly how and where to start may seem challenging. A paperless initiative has to make sense for your business both organizationally and financially. EO Johnson can help by providing the information you need to make sound business decisions.

Our approach to document scanning is “hands-on.” We not only review the types of documents you have, but we learn about how those documents are created and used in your organization. With this, we can develop a document scanning services solution that not only addresses your specific needs but also makes the transition to a paperless office seamless for you and your staff.

Want to know about our document scanning services? Contact us.

 

 

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