Any business has a paper trail. It is when the paper becomes a mountain of data when you can start getting into trouble. It can be challenging to keep track of thousands of pages in dusty files, or to remember exactly where in what box you put a specific receipt. You could consider employing a librarian to sort your documents or you could start to convert your archive to a digital format.
Why go digital?
There can be other good reasons to consider making the move to digitizing your data. It is always a good idea to have a secure backup of your documents. You can increase the security of your data by storing the digital copies at a different site.
Digital files are also easier to share, search and edit. You can save a huge amount of office space. If you free up space you could utilize it in more productive ways than housing boxes. It can even start to benefit your staff if you have more space available for offices, manufacturing or sales for example.
You can save time by finding files, documents or information faster and sharing it via email. So your customers, staff and colleagues can have information close at hand and share it easily, and edit it as needed.
Some companies offer solutions where the files are stored so you can search for data within the text files. That one sentence you know you read in a document? You will be able to search for it, attach it to an email and send it out, all before you would have been able to remember what box to look in.
You might have already considered all of this, but the sheer volume of your documents might have discouraged even the most avid of scanners. So what do you do?
Companies that offer bulk scanning
Luckily there are people who are happy to scan all day long. There are great companies that offer bulk scanning services. They have different options and solutions depending on your needs. There are even some services that will pick up your boxes of documents, scan them, and deliver the hard copy and new digital files back to your door.
There are often options of a preview scan. You might have hundreds of boxes, so a company can scan the first box and send you an example of the quality you can expect. Then you can decide if it is worth the time, effort and expense to go ahead and scan everything or to scan a different selection.
Depending on your needs, budget and timeline there will also be different options available. The best thing to do is to shop around and get a few scanning companies to quote an amount to solve your paper problem.
Preparing documents for bulk scanning
Once you have decided that you will go ahead and have your paperwork scanned you also need to do a little preparation on your side. You have chosen a company and have selected the boxes that need to go, what else could you do? Well, if you do a little extra preparation you can save on the labor cost of the scanning, make the job easier all around and have the digital files ordered in the same sequence and logic as your original boxes.
Steps to successful bulk scanning
Organization and planning helps everyone involved in any project. The same is true of scanning thousands of pages of information. If you order your boxes and documents in a logical pattern, or just order them in some way, you will be able to get a streamlined process going. Planning before the scanning starts is much easier than sorting things out while the scanning is going on. So start at the very least by labeling each box clearly.
Next, look at the documents themselves. Depending on the deal you make with the company that will handle the scanning, you might need to do more or less document preparation. But it will be a good idea to go through the documents and remove paperclips, staples, redundant pages, sticky notes or sensitive information.
Also check if all your documents are single pages, some might be double sided or different sizes. If you have double pages, or larger documents you can inform your scanning service and make their job easier (and your bank account happier).
You also need to determine if you need color or grayscale scanning. What resolution do you need and in what file format the digital documents should be delivered, are important elements to decide from the start. The type of documents you have can also make quality scanning challenging.
So if you know there are many handwritten pages that require a high resolution, separate these into a category of their own. This will save time and money in the long run. You should also try to have an idea of how quickly you need to information to be scanned. The timeline of the project will influence the cost, the time you can take preparing documents and the level of sanity of your administrative staff.
Some information may need to be handled differently due to confidentiality and it will also make the process easier if these documents are clearly separated. You can also discuss what type of document preparation your scanning service recommends or requires.
Converting paperwork to digital files does not need be a hassle. You can choose from several solutions when it comes to bulk scanning. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that you will need to prepare your documents well.
If you go to the trouble of sorting, checking and cleaning out the staples and little extras, the job will run smoothly and both you and the scanning service will be happy with the process. Good luck with your journey on reducing the bulk of paper in your workplace.