There are two ways to start your paper scanning project:
- Don’t do your own preparation, and hand off the records to your scanning partner
- Prep your files before turning them over to your scanning partner
Either one works, it’s up to you.
As members of a scanning company, we enjoy when our clients do some of the prep themselves before we receive their materials.
But prepping the material in the literal sense (removing staples, cleaning up the documents, etc.) is just one part of the project preparation you should consider when you’re about to start your digitization job.
In our article we describe four elements that can help you create a better plan of action and more confidently assure the success of your project.
1/ Be Clear About The Purpose
Think about the project as a whole: what’s the result you’re trying to achieve?
When it’s done, what does “success” look like?
Keeping this high-level view is critical to staying on the right course and not getting distracted by the minutiae of scanning projects – things like paper clips, staples, file sizes, and so on.
Those aspects of the project are important, but if you only focus on them and don’t see the broad picture you’re liable to nitpick yourself into an end result you’re not even happy with.
Make sure to step back from your project every now and then to get a holistic view of it and ensure you’re going in the right direction.
We put together a video that describes identifying the problem you’re solving: go here to watch it.
2/ Decide If You Can Do Some Pre-Scanning Prep
Are you required to prepare your own material?
Prepping your records before giving them to us is helpful and can ease the overall process a bit, but it’s not required.
This is why you hire a company like ours. You don’t want to have to do this yourself and you’d rather pay someone to do it for you.
But if you can get your materials a bit organized and cleaned up prior to sending them over, it can potentially reduce the cost of your project.
So it’s up to you if you’d rather do a little bit of work upfront or just pay for it to be someone else’s responsibility.
3/ Have A Plan For Your Project. And Get Professional Feedback
Being clear about the purpose of your digital scanning project is the strategy – having an actual plan is the tactics.
When you’re creating your plan of how to get your job done, lay it out just how you think it needs to be executed. And once you’ve created that plan, get professional feedback.
Talk to a scanning company or two, describe what you want and how you see it rolling out, and get their feedback.
This is what companies like us do day in and day out. We can help you by making suggestions on how to improve the plan for a more effective project.
Collaboration typically gets the best results. If you talk to a person that just tells you how it’s going to be and doesn’t ask for your input, that should raise some concerns. You may not be the “expert,” but these are your records and you need to be involved and consulted.
4/ Be Ready To Take Action
Before you start contacting scanning companies about their services and getting your paper digitized, take some time to research a few things.
You’ll feel better about talking to sales reps when you know the lingo, have an idea of where the pricing comes from, and how the process works to get your project done.
>First, know the basics of pricing.
There are many factors that go into how much you’ll pay when you digitize your paper records, but you may not know what those are.
To help you out, we created an article (and infographic) that describes the seven common factors that’ll affect your price, which you can check out here.
>Second, have an idea of what the actual scanning process will be.
Every company is going to do it their way, but if you work with us we’ll follow this general workflow.
It’ll be tailored to the specifics of what you need done, but you at least have a baseline.
>Lastly, be ready to move forward.
Once you get an estimate from a company, if it’s in the price range that you were planning on, be ready to start.
You want to try and avoid analysis paralysis and overthinking it too much, or spending your (and others’) time on a project that you aren’t actually ready to begin.
If you’re just doing some initial research, make sure you tell the sales rep that’s the goal so you’re on the same level.
When you’re ready to start your paper scanning project, give us a call at 800.359.3456 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll hook you up with one of our sales reps. They’ll run through what you need done and work with you to come up with a winning solution.
Take a look at a few more paper scanning articles to round out your knowledge:
“Breaking Down The Box” is a primer on how to approach your paper scanning project. There may be more to your project than you realize, and this article will help you better understand what will be needed to digitize your records.
“Backfile vs. Go-Forward Paper Scanning” describes the differences between scanning records you already have versus the records you’re going to create in the future. Different solutions for different circumstances!
“Digital Box Scanning” provides an alternate method of the typical index-heavy conversion project. Instead of indexing to the file level, keep it simple and name your digital files per box to lower your project costs.