Monday, April 16, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Document Scanning Equipment

To capture your paper documents, go ahead and pick your favorite machine – multi-function printer, scanner or fax. All have pros and cons. Here are a few thoughts to ponder before you make a decision.

The MFP (Multi-Function Printer)

The capabilities of an enterprise multi-function printer differ little from a product by Ronco: it copies, it prints, it faxes, it even scans. (Ok, so it doesn’t slice.) For document capture, however, that MFP has more brawn than brain for effective ECM.

Sharing: A department of people shares that single device to do copying, printing and faxing. It is unlikely they will tolerate waiting in line to use it for mission-critical document scanning applications like AP, claims, application processing or new business underwriting.

Dual Sided Documents & ADFs: Is that Auto Document Feeder designed to scan both the front and back sides of your documents in a single pass? Or, does the design of the device require that all front side pages are scanned first, followed then by each back side of the documents to be re-fed through in order to capture the back side of the paper documents, thus doubling the amount of time to scan. Also, hope no double or mis-feeds occur requiring you to rescan your entire batch.

Speed: Are the speeds and quality of the document scans from a MFP comparable to that of a workgroup or departmental scanner? This becomes especially true when you are taking into account double sided documents. Very few desktop MFPs can scan both sides of a page at the same time, or scan as quickly as a document scanner.

Settings for Perfection: Built-in image enhancement features for every scan, like de-speckle, de-skew, auto color detection, autorotation, cropping, punch-hole removal, etc. are inherent in most of today’s scanners and Capture software. Too many settings and automatic alterations slow the process down.

MFPs are adequate for ad-hoc document scanning. If the majority of your workload is document scanning related, buy the right tool for the job: a document scanner.

It took a decade or so for scanner hardware and software manufacturers to collaborate and earnestly put forth an engineering effort to adequately address these challenging technical problems. It is still not perfect, but they are light years ahead of MFP makers.

Document Scanners

Distributed scanning is where the majority of R&D expenditures are going from the major scanner manufacturers. Why? This is where you, the customer, desire your price point and functional requirements to be.

You can get great quality at an affordable price — feature packed — with distributed document scanners from leading manufacturers, such as Epson Fujitsu, Eastman Kodak and Canon. Some vendors offer a wide family of products that meet the needs of the desktop, workgroup, department and the mainframe. Others focus primarily on the desktop, workgroup or the department level.

Of the numerous choices you have in today’s market from a device standpoint, two distributed scanning options are available to choose from:

  • Desktop/workgroup document scanners - Attached to your PC, these scanners range in sizes, shapes, daily-duty cycles and, of course, the price. Primarily USB interfaced and TWAIN drivers equipped (usually shipped with the scanners, ISIS is another alternative, but it usually comes with an additional license cost and perhaps even royalty costs). TWAIN is generally free and is bundled with the scanner at the time of purchase. The newest generation of these class of scanners now have remote management capabilities to let you know where the devices are located on your network and can provide you with reporting tools to aide with the management of ongoing maintenance, repairs and consumable items.
  • Network scanning appliances - Network scanners bundle everything and are self-contained within the unit: a high quality, high speed, duplex document scanner (black and white, color, gray scale, PDF, auto feeder, etc.), a PC, the scanning application, a network cable, and remote management capability. Scan to e-mail, to folders, to print, to portable USB drives, to searchable PDF with outstanding image quality — all with one product that requires no PC workstation or extra software.

Above all, document scanners are simple. Distributed scanning software companies have the ability to interface directly with the device via a software development toolkit (SDK), thus embedding their scanning application right on to the device. When you pull it out of the box, you plug it into the wall, and you are ready to go with minimal setup time.

Facsimiles 

One word: relic. True, they are tried and tested and they work just fine if you eliminate the paper faxes. Paper forces you to deal with the process of prepping, scanning and indexing manually. That attaches a labor force to the fax process, thus increasing your overall cost of doing business. Do yourself a favor and simply turn it off and introduce your firm to the concept of an electronic fax server or even a subscription-based fax service.

With a Distributed, Web-Based Document Capture application, you can add in a pre-built module that will automatically “poll” (at predefined intervals) the incoming electronic fax queue, transforming it into an image that can be further processed inside your Capture Process flow.

There are good and bad scanning choices out there. Most of the time, a dedicated scanner will be your best option.

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12 comments:

  1. interesting post. Now you can use this business directories to promote office automation products import & export business.

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  2. Document Scanning is the thing which people or companies uses regularly . So we uses various equipments for this purpose .Further this article's info is very important.

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  3. This article raises good arguments for Multi-Function Printers and Document however Canon Scanners tend to edge it in productivity and reliability

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  4. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.





    Document Scanning Company

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  5. Scanners vary in many ways, depending on the manufacturer and its specialized function. In the office, it’s better to have a scanner that is convenient to use. It should be dedicated to the type of work that a network computer commands – scanning, printing, and even sending a fax message. It’s better to check and research more about a scanner before purchasing that for office work.

    [ Ruby Badcoe ]

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  6. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!






    Document Scanning

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  7. Nice post. This post is very interesting and gives a quite complete overview on all the pros and cons contained in this feature such as the scanner !

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  8. Do scanners have a counting device that shows how many pages you scan?

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    Replies
    1. Yes many of them have a means of capturing the page counts so you keep track of the consumables that are subject to wear and tear. The counting feature is usually exposed via the software applications as well so you can report on pages processed for bill back purposes in service bureau type scenarios or internal departmental charge backs.

      Thanks for your post and reading the blog site!

      Best,

      Paul

      Delete

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