Monday, July 2, 2012

How to Eliminate Eight Document Capture Process Steps

Are steps in a process necessary when the process itself is unnecessary?

Businesses work feverishly to continually root out waste and inefficiency in their operations. Reducing any number of steps can save time, money and resources that could be applied elsewhere. Just eliminating several of these redundancies could make a noticeable difference.

So, think about what would happen if you could almost purge entire operations. Well, of course you can. This is technology. It happens all the time.

If you read my missives here at Capture Capitalist, you’ll know that I’ve written extensively about distributed capture versus centralized capture. I recently went back and took a look the book I wrote three years ago and distilled it down to four words:

Distributed capture is disruptive.

I know that this makes software makers shift in their seats and causes their eyes to dart as they tug at their collars, but the regressively manual aspects of centralized capture are just not necessary anymore.

Consider the steps necessary in a typical centralized capture process:
  • Print a large stockpile of available document separators for each location needed to perform the scanning operation. This can require thousands of dollars annually and is a recurring expense (printers, paper, labor, toner) as separators can only be used so many times before they wear out.
  • Prepare those documents by manually inserting separator pages between every distinct document.
  • Organize documents and pages into a suitable batch size to optimize scanner operators, scanning hardware and software’s overall performance.
  • Place batches in the scanner’s automatic feeder system and press scan.
  • Documents are scanned and sent to the server for further processing.
  • Wait for the server software to examine each page in an attempt to identify the document separator that you used. Using blank pages as a separator creates the added challenge of documents that purposely contain blank pages in them (such as the backside of a two-sided document) and then mistakenly being identified as separators.
  • Insert a post-QA process into the overall capture process to catch the blank pages.
  • Correct any errors.
  • De-prep documents to remove document separators. Plan to reuse the separators rather than stick them on a shelf or in a box with the rest of your business documents. Otherwise, every scan job will require new document separators, and you will be consuming physical storage space to store meaningless content.

In a distributed, web-based capture environment — with features/functions, such as “virtual separation” — users eliminate eight of the nine steps (and the expenses associated with them) that centralized capture requires.

Businesses that adopt distributed capture don’t have these same document sorting of challenges inherent in centralized capture. They likely won’t have full-time employees dedicated to scanning; therefore, it is reasonable for the document custodian to actually drop the documents into the scanner — without separators — and let them scan and be virtually classified or associated via the application. All of this is done through an elegantly designed KISS user interface.

Eliminating unnecessary costs and allowing the document custodian to maintain a degree of control over the organization of the documents makes more sense, rather than leaving the responsibility to a scan operator 1,000 miles away, who is paid on volume, not necessarily on quality or accuracy.

Approaching the capture problem from a distributed angle makes the process of scanning, associating, and so on much more simple.

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