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  • 29Jan

    Not every document management company has the expertise and flexibility to meet your firm's needs. Follow these guidelines to choose a document scanning and document management service provider that will help your company operate more efficiently, improve your bottom line and strengthen your competitive position; now and as you plan for growth in the future.

    Focus and Experience: Choose the service provider with the most experience, and look for companies for which document scanning is their primary focus. You can purchase copiers elsewhere; you want a document imaging provider that has built its reputation on providing quality document scanning, document indexing, and document management services.

    Make sure your potential document scanning provider offers strong references from firms in your industry or from firms using their services for similar applications. For example, if your company will be incorporating document scanning and electronic document management in the accounts payable department, do they have a reference from another firm doing the same?

    Flexibility of Services: Does the service provider offer several solutions for your document imaging and management needs? Steer clear of companies that require your firm to change its processes to fit their solutions. A top-notch document scanning firm works with every client to provide the services that best fit their current and future requirements. This means having the ability to seamlessly incorporate additional projects and people.

    On-Site and Outsourcing Options: One of the ways a professional document management company meets every client's needs is by offering both on-site and outsourced scanning options. Whether your documents must remain on-site, can be processed at an off-site document scanning facility, or a combination of both, your document imaging supplier should be able to meet your requirements. Additionally, document management software for the storage, retrieval and distribution of your documents should be available as a web-based repository, or as an in-house solution running on your internal infrastructure.

    Reliability: Whether you choose an in-house or outsourced solution, does the service provider deliver what it promises? A professional document imaging company should provide quick turnaround on document scanning, meet the deadlines set by clients, provide 99.9% uptime or better on its web-based document management repository, and be responsive to both service issues and additional needs.

    Local Offices: Look for a company within a 50-100 mile radius of yours to avoid interruption in your key business processes. Easily accessible production facilities and customer service teams promote peace of mind when you're handing over control of mission-critical documents. You should also visit the document scanning facility before you award a project to observe the integrity of their operations, quality control procedures and production process.

    Client-Focused Services: Scanning and indexing a document are only the beginning of a solution; look for a company that understands how your business works and the role that the document management solution will play in improving your business processes and bottom line. Client-focused services such as on-site staff training are standard when working with a professional document management company. Beyond training, there should be a single point of contact ensuring your complete satisfaction with the quality, accuracy and timeliness of every project.

    Great Value: While cost should not be the only factor when selecting a document imaging provider, a company worth your business will offer cost-sensitive, expandable services that won't destroy your bottom line. Be wary of high-cost add-ons and vague promises of affordable services as you grow. A great document scanning company will spell out projected costs up-front, stand behind its commitments and show you a quick Return on Investment.

    Document scanning can increase staff productivity, lower overall costs and position your company for expansion without growing pains. By carefully weighing service providers against the guidelines above, you're assured of a document management solution that best fits your business plan and bottom line.

  • 11Jul

    Optical character recognition

    Optical character recognition, usually abbreviated to OCR, is the mechanical or electronic translation of images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text (usually captured by a scanner) into machine-editable text.

    OCR is a field of research in pattern recognitionartificial intelligence and machine vision. Though academic research in the field continues, the focus on OCR has shifted to implementation of proven techniques. Optical character recognition (using optical techniques such as mirrors and lenses) and digital character recognition (using scanners and computer algorithms) were originally considered separate fields. Because very few applications survive that use true optical techniques, the OCR term has now been broadened to include digital image processing as well.

    Early systems required training (the provision of known samples of each character) to read a specific font. “Intelligent” systems with a high degree of recognition accuracy for most fonts are now common. Some systems are even capable of reproducing formatted output that closely approximates the original scanned page including images, columns and other non-textual components.

    Today we use the best equipment so that your office documents are fully available via a wide range of software solutions, right there in your Tampa and Clearwater offices.

  • 11Jul

    Being Green at Work

    Interesting Facts and Tips (1)

    Paper – Despite advances in technology, the paperless office remains a futuristic fantasy, with the typical U.S. worker using a whopping 10,000 sheets of paper – as much paper as is produced by pulping a full-grown tree – each year.  Much of this paper comes from native pine forests and is chlorine-bleached, a process that produces toxic dioxins. TIP:  To cut down on paper, use both sides.  Set the printer of photocopier defaults so that you have to choose not to print double-sided.  Print out only what is necessary, and proofread documents carefully on your computer screen to avoid having to print multiple copies.  Save single-sided scrap paper for taking notes or for use in the photocopier or fax machine.  Keep a paper-recycling bin under your desk and in communal printing areas, and encourage your colleagues to recycle.

    Trees logged from forests account for
    more than 71% of office paper used today,
    with 8 million tons of copy paper used in the U.S. every year.

    Paper Pile
    That’s equal to 188 million trees.

    Recycled Paper – A business is not truly recycling unless it buys recycled products.  Recycled paper uses up to 90 percent less water and half the energy required to make paper from virgins lumber and produces 36% less greenhouse gas emissions, yet less than 9 percent of the 8 million tons of printing and writing paper used in the U.S. each year is recycled content.  While recycled paper was once avoided because they looked inferior, it is now often hard to tell the difference, with manufacturers providing recycled paper for virtually all office functions.

    Coffee Cups – Coffee has become an indispensable part of the working day.  In America we throw away 25,000,000,000 styrofoam coffee cups every year!   Instead of using cardboard or styrofoam cups, use a ceramic coffee mug.  Over its life span, a mug will be used 3,000 times, resulting in 30 times less solid waste and 60 times less air pollution than using the equivalent number of cardboard cups.  Ask take-out coffee shops to serve your favorite brew in your own favorite mug.

    Printer Ink Cartridges – Dire warnings against reusing printer ink and toner cartridges contribute to more than 300 million plastic printer cartridges ending up in landfills each year; that’s about 8 cartridges every second.   There is no reason why a cartridge can’t be reused up to four times.  You will cut waste and save up to 90 percent on the cost of a new cartridge.  TIP: Be sure to use a reputable company that will refill or remanufacture your printer cartridges and is prepared to offer a written guarantee against printer damage.

  • 11Jul

    Since the onset of the computer age, experts have predicted the arrival of the “paperless office.” In the office of the future, they said, paper would be obsolete: documents would be stored in electronic directories and transmitted from computer to computer.  There would be no file cabinets, reference books, or stacks of outgoing mail. There would also be little or no paper waste.  Even though this vision of a paperless office has been more difficult to realize than originally thought, some of our clients are making real progress. Partners are using electronic technology to reduce excess paper in a variety of ways, including: Computerized documents and filing systems.

    Several of our clients have placed phone directories, human resources documents, and corporate policy manuals on line to avoid constantly updating paper versions. Others are using electronic filing systems to reduce the amount of paper copies made in the office.

    Electronic data interchange (EDI)

    EDI is the electronic transfer of business information in a structured format from one computer to another. It is a high-speed method of electronically communicating large volumes of data without the use of paper. For example, rather than sending paper purchase orders and invoices through the mail, our clients are investing in EDI to carry out these transactions electronically.

    CD/ROM and other interactive tools

    CD/ROMs have enabled our clients to store vast quantities of information, much more than would fit on an ordinary floppy disk, in an easy-to-use, interactive format.

    In addition to reducing paper use, these emerging technologies also improve efficiency, saving time usually needed to process paper forms. These benefits ultimately mean increased savings for a company’s bottom line.  This issue highlights our clients’ experiences implementing electronic technologies that conserve paper.  We look at their successes and the ways in which they’ve overcome some typical concerns, such as the length of time needed to implement EDI and costs of purchasing software and training employees to use the technology. In addition, some our clients have found that suppliers or customers might also need help adjusting to new technologies.  In this issue, we examine an on-line purchasing catalog implemented by Silicon Graphics, which the company estimates conserves 500,000 pages of paper per year, and illustrate how Haworth has conserved paper by placing its product catalogs on a CD/ROM. We also showcase the cost and paper savings Phillips Petroleum and the Southern Company have achieved through their use of EDI. In other articles, we see how BellSouth Telecommunications and Lockheed Martin achieve the benefits of computerized document storage.

    More and more companies are on their way to use technology to conserve paper and increase efficiency.  We want to help you to achieve the benefits of paper-free technologies, fast and cost-efficient.

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