Are you scanning documents professionally or just have a specific task you need to do?
Either way, our guide on document scanning will give you all the details to be successful in this task.
The process of scanning documents is when you convert physical documents, most of them on paper, to digital files. More often than not, this means generating a PDF file with your document which is now available for easy sharing between users.
WHY SCAN DOCUMENTS?
To give you a straight answer, we usually scan documents either to remove paper-based documents completely or when we want to have a digital copy of the paper documents.
When we elaborate on the subject, we find out that our needs are actually a combination of the two.
A lot of companies have either gone partially or even totally digital. They still receive and process paper documents, but they tend to scan them. This decision is highly connected with the workflow they try to implement.
The reality is that these days, managing paper is a big hassle. Combine this with the need to manage your resources efficiently and you’ll see that digitization is the only way to go.
Coming back to the initial two reasons, archival scanning is usually done to create a digital copy of your physical archive. The reason for this is that stakeholders consider that users will access the archive quite frequently, and it is more efficient to access a digital archive.
When you want to transform your workflow completely, that means digitizing all your documents and working almost 100% with digital files.
This means that your users need permanent access to your archive, and the environment is document intensive.
HOW TO SCAN DOCUMENTS?
Ok, now that you realized you need to scan documents, how can you do it?
Well, gone are the days when you only had one option. As technology progresses, manufacturers try to adapt and offer clever solutions.
While in the past, multifunctional machines where the main choice for scanning documents, these days you have way more alternatives.
For example, scanning documents with a phone can be quite fashionable and I must say very efficient.
I can remember the days when colleagues that visit customers on their site needed to scan a report or another document while on the move. We had to wait until the second day to see what was in the report.
Nowadays, they just use their smartphone for this. This works for 10-20 documents a day, but what can you do when you have thousands of documents each day?
Well, in those cases you need a dedicated professional scanner. This should be installed and ran on site, so you are not moving a lot of documents around.
The 3rd situation you might be in is when you have an average volume of documents but you also need to share the equipment with other users. In such cases, most companies just use multifunctional devices or network scanners.
WHAT IS THE BEST DOCUMENT SCANNER FOR MY PROJECT?
Now that we know how to scan them, let’s go a bit in depth with the equipment you should be using.
Using a smartphone for scanning or a portable scanner – We don’t really see a difference between the two. Actually, we might think the portable scanner market is dying as it much easier just to use a smartphone. Scan documents on the move and share them in seconds.
Using a multifunctional device or network scanner – In office environments where each user does not have a large number of documents, either a network scanner or a multifunctional device should do the trick. Please note that this is for static users.
As we have mentioned with the portable scanners, these are made for people on the move.
You should only purchase professional document scanners when you have really high volumes of documents. These are built in such a way that they require minimal maintenance when ran on a day to day basis. But remember, they cost quite a lot, so invest in them when you really have large volumes of documents to scan.
DOCUMENT SCANNING AND STORAGE
We know why we are doing it, how to do it and what equipment to use. What do we do next?
Usually, you scan documents for a purpose, you don’t do it for fun. You have to understand where that document should go.
Most likely you will send them to a specific address. Especially in larger companies, these email addresses have automatic features to upload the attachments directly into a document management software.
Sometimes they can be called electronic content management systems or records management systems. The role of these systems is to create a hierarchical classification of large quantities of documents.
In simple words, it lets you make sense of what appears to be a huge collection of documents, apparently unrelated or linked. These systems rely on huge databases and can be quite complex.
You can also make your own records management system nowadays, by using free content management systems online.
The easiest to use is GOOGLE DRIVE, formerly known as GOOGLE DOCS. You can use it as it is, or you can build workflows if you want to make it more advanced.
WHEN TO USE DOCUMENT SCANNING SERVICES INSTEAD OF BUYING A SCANNER
You should not always buy your own scanner. Sometimes you can use professional document scanning services.
Try and evaluate how much it will cost you to buy the scanner and how much time and effort you will use in the process.
If this proves to be too much, try and get a quote from a professional scanning provider.
There are numerous companies that do a decent job at relatively low prices. From your standard Kinkos to larger scanning providers such as www.overnight-scanning.eu.
Figure out how complex your requirements are and talk with them. For example, Kinkos might do a good job when you just need to scan a lower quantity of documents with minimal technical requirements.
In other cases, when the volume of documents is larger, and you also need special features such as image processing, document scanning, and indexing, Kinkos might not be enough.
These are the cases when providers such as www.overnight-scanning.eu have more experience in dealing with your requests and your more complex needs.