Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

The Recent Brooklyn Document Storage Warehouse Fire, and Many Other Tragedies, Point Out Why Digitizing Paper Documents Should Be Considered.

Posted by Matthew Petito on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 @ 04:41 PM

The massive fire last week in Brooklyn’s CitiStorage Document Storage warehouse was not the first time a document storage facility has been destroyed. To name a few, 1997 South Brunswick, NJ, USA, 2006 London, England, 2006 Ottawa, Canada, 2011 Aprilia, Italy, and 2014 Buenos Aires, Argentina.

With 1.1 Million Cubic Feet of records potentially destroyed at CitiStorage, including that of legal firms, financial intuitions, medical practices and hospitals (Mount Sinai Health System, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, North Shore-LIJ Health System and NYU Langone Medical Center), accounting firms, and both small and large businesses, the main question is and has been, why have these documents not been converted to electronic images?

Aside from the why haven’t records been converted, businesses also have to contemplate what would the cost be to recreate destroyed documents? What would be involved? And what if those records cannot be recreated? What would happen if original blueprints, medical records, legal cases, or financial documents are destroyed with no way of reproducing them? “It’s 2015, why isn’t this information electronic?” many people have asked.

Once records are digitized, companies will no longer have to pay for records management services related to document storage. After the documents are scanned, no more costs will be incurred. The electronic images can be on a hard drive, an internal network, or cloud based storage all allowing constant and instant access.Brooklyn Storage fire

On Sunday, 2/1, many New Yorkers woke up to thousands of pages of private and protected information floating along the Williamsburg waterfront and spewing through the air. Not only are the records that hundreds of businesses and government agencies depend on destroyed, the private and protected information of their customers and employee’s was put on full display. Many of these have names, addresses, account numbers, social security numbers, which can be used to easily steal someone’s identity.

 “About the possibility that confidential patient information might have been disclosed on a large scale as the wind scattered unburned records, Brian Conway, of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said, “There’s no reason to believe that’s a possibility.” Yet in one indication of the city’s concern, the disaster recovery contractors, in their neon yellow jackets, sealed off the entrance to the rocky jetty with yellow caution tape early Sunday and began to scoop documents out of the water with nets and shovels.” – NY Times.

The electronic images of scanned documents are more often of a higher quality than the original and much more secure. The entire CitiStorage warehouse could be scanned and stored on a few hard drives, which are much easier to protect, keep organized, and secured than thousands of boxes.

Tags: Paperless Office, Document Management, Records Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging, Medical Record Scanning

Proof of Delivery Scanning Delivers Outstanding Value

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 @ 09:43 AM
Proof Of Delivery ScanningThere are so many specific business applications for Document Scanning and Document Management that it's a challenge to share all of them, but one application - Proof Of Delivery - continually stands out as an outstanding value for clients. Not all Scanning Applications make fiscal sense or improve Customer Service, but Proof of Delivery is different.

Proof of Delivery Scanning solutions enable companies to provide their clients with access to signed delivery receipts via a web browser, resulting in improved customer service and reduced daily sales outstanding (DSO). The technology hasn't changed much since the late 1990's, but a best practices implementation typically looks something like this:

  • Creation of Delivery Ticket/Bill of Lading - When coordinating a Delivery, a vendor will create a Delivery Ticket or Bill of Lading to accompany the shipment. In an ideal scenario, these tickets will be printed with a Barcoded Ticket Number to help eliminate any manual data entry later on in the process.
  • Delivery of Goods and/or Services - Vendor will deliver goods and/or provide services to a client and obtain a signature on a Bill of Lading or Proof of Delivery document as evidence that the transaction was completed.
  • Vendor Scans Proof of Delivery Documents - With modern document capture software and today's affordable Scanners, Vendors can easily scan tickets and read the Barcode information to provide a quick lookup to that specific ticket number when a request is made. Additional information, such as Customer Name, Transaction Date, Branch Code, or Plant Code, can be obtained via ODBC Lookup, eliminating the need for any additional keystrokes.

Once the process is complete, the Documents are then placed into a Document Management Software application, such as OnBase or PaperVision Enterprise. From there, clients can be provided with direct access to review their completed POD's and search for transaction history and Internal Customer Service Representatives can quickly and easily field any questions or requests relating to Transactions. This is particularly useful for Collections staff looking to accelerate the payment cycle, as they're now able to quickly and effortlessly provide a record of the transaction and request prompt remittance of any required payment.

For clients that are processing higher volumes, there is also the option to leverage outsourced Proof of Delivery Scanning to even further reduce the costs associated with the process. In the outsourced scenario, completed delivery tickets can be sent to a third party vendor for scanning and posted to a hosted Document Management repository (ImageSilo or OnBase Online, for example) for web-based access by either external clients or internal staff.

In addition, advancements in integration technology from Providers such as Hyland Software and their Application Enabler utility have made it easy to integrate scanned tickets directly with ERP or Accounting Systems. This provides real-time access to Delivery Tickets directly from screens in systems like SAP, Oracle, or any other Line of Business application, even further increasing the ROI of Proof of Delivery Scanning.

If you're currently delivering goods and services and you're not scanning your Proof of Delivery Documents or Bill of Lading files, you need to take the time to at least explore these solutions. The investment required is far less than the cost of not getting paid for a delivery or service because of poor documentation, and the reduced operating costs provided by immediate action can save thousands of dollars in labor each month.

Tags: Document Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

3 Tips for Choosing a Network Document Scanner

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, May 24, 2010 @ 12:17 PM

Network Document Scanners are a popular choice for companies getting started with document scanning, and with good reason. They're reasonably priced, don't require a dedicated computer, and help companies quickly convert Paper to Digital Images. When looking for a scanner though, it's easy to be overwhelmed by all of the choices - are you sure you know what DPI is best for your application? When you go to make a purchase decision, consider these factors:


Network Scanner1) Daily Scanning Volume - This is the most important consideration when buying any scanner, networked or otherwise. Think about how many pages you'll need to capture on a daily basis, and make your buying decision accordingly. Try not to consider your entire backfile scanning project when making this determination, either - just think about how many pages you're likely to capture on a daily basis during the normal course of business. You can always outsource to a document scanning service provider to address your bulk scanning issues, saving you time and money in the process.


2) Bundled Software - Without Software, a scanner is just an expensive paperweight. You should make sure that some level of document scanning software is included with the equipment. It's particularly helpful if this is a flexible software toolkit like eCopy or NSi Autostore. These packages will let you do more than just drop images on network share devices and help you drive more value out of your investment.


3) Touchscreen or Keyboard Capabilities - Once you scan an image, you're going to want to be able to tag it with some sort of meaningful data to let you find it, or at least let the person on the other end of the receipt have an idea what it is. Be sure that the device you choose has a Touchscreen interface at the least, and ideally offers the option of attaching a keyboard. Some models, like the HP and Fujitsu Network Scanners, even come with built in keyboards, making them an attractive alternative for companies that need to add a bit more detail to what they're scanning.


There are a lot of options available when looking to buy a scanner, and it's important to not be distracted by the bright and shiny features. Most of the time, they're not going to be of much use to you. Instead, keep these practical elements in mind when making your buying decision and you'll end up much happier with the results.

Tags: Document Management, Scanning, Document Imaging, Scanners

Long Island Document Scanning Services

Posted by Michael Thomas on Sun, May 02, 2010 @ 01:38 PM

long islandDo you have lots of paper that you're looking to convert to Digital Images?

Are you frustrated by the lack of access to your documents? Have a general feeling that paper is slowing your business down?

Shoreline Records Management is Long Island's Leading provider of Document Scanning Services. We're located in Medford, New York, and have been providing Document Scanning Services since 1994. Our team can help you to convert paper to digital images for as little as $.04 per Page. 

For many businesses on Long Island, the cost of office space is a primary reason to consider scanning, but the real value comes from improved access to information, and improved collaboration. Our Team has over fifteen years of experience with:

  • Medical Records Scanning
  • Legal File Scanning
  • Blueprint Scanning
  • Microfilm Scanning
  • and much, much more.

In addition, we've worked with many leading Long Island Companies to help with scanning projects in Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Human Resources to help eliminate paper and improve operating efficiency.

If you're considering starting a scanning project, take the time to speak with one of our Solution Consultants about your project first. It may turn out that outsourced document scanning services can be a huge boost to your productivity and your bottom line.

Tags: Document Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

Scanning Documents Saves Space, but at What Cost?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 @ 04:25 PM
One of the most common reasons that people start scanning documents is because they think it can help save space. While it is true that document scanning will help reduce the physical footprint required to store files, most of the time reclaiming space should not be a primary driver for starting a document imaging project. If you need to reclaim space in your offices, or if you're moving your facility and require a new place to store your documents, you should probably consider outsourcing the storage of your files before you look at document scanning.

Shoreline Records Management WarehouseI've seen some people in the document imaging industry make a business case based on the square-foot charges related office space and the overall overhead and operating costs of the facility, which may seem compelling, but the truth is that the ROI is just not there. If you consider that the average banker's box holds approximately 2,650 pages, and that the average price printed for scanning is around seven cents per page, you're looking at $185.50 to scan that box of files. In comparison you could store the same banker's box in a record storage facility like ours for about $.30 per month. That equates to off-site, secure document storage for 618 months for about the same price. 618 months that's 51 years! Well beyond the typical retention requirements for business documents.

The real reason to start a document scanning project is to facilitate ACCESS to documents. While the storage of documents and the conservation of space is not usually a good metric to base your return investment, the concept of improving access and retrieve ability to your important business files should be the force behind your document imaging project. Immediate access to corporate information often leads to better decisions and better customer service, both of which have positive effects on the bottom line of the organization.

Keep in mind as you start to explore the concept of document imaging that it's not the solution for all of your business records, and that you can use a hybrid approach and scan only those files that will be retrieved on a regular basis. If no one is ever going to look for and retrieve the file it's probably better off being put a box and archived to be retrieved at a later date. On the other hand, if documents are going to be retrieved on a regular basis, and they're retrieval has an important impact on business operations, you should consider investing in scanning those files. Another reason to consider scanning files, is if you can use the images to drive the business process or transaction related to the documents. By using images to drive process, in a workflow for example, you can reduce the likelihood the file will be lost and also reduce the latency involved in the processing of those documents.

Whichever option you choose, always be sure to keep in mind the real return on investment and make sure that your making the best financial decision for the storage and access of your corporate records.

Tags: Document Management, File Storage, Records Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

Document management Software - Why we sell PaperVision AND OnBase

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 @ 02:48 PM
If you're looking for Document Management Software to help your business perform more efficiently and reduce operating costs, we offer two unique document management software programs to help  meet your needs. Why two products you might ask? Because in our 15 years of experience we've learned that no two companies have the same document management needs, and that no one product can solve everybody's problems.

If you are looking for a low-cost document management solution to allow you to search and retrieve files directly from the desktop or web browser PaperVision Enterprise is a fantastic solution. Featuring an easy-to-use, easy to customize interface, PaperVision Enterprise can meet the needs of most companies. PaperVision also has the tools to allow you to annotate documents, print your files, and e-mail documents directly from the user interface. PaperVision also has the ability to incorporate simple workflow and drive business process using automated rules, routing, and roles. PaperVision is also the software behind ImageSilo, the world's leading hosted document management solution, so scalability is never really a concern.

For companies with more advanced document management requirements, including workflow and deep integrations with line of business applications, we also offer OnBase. Developed by Hyland Software, OnBase is True Enterprise Content Management. Onbase Software provides a seamless solution to deliver documents to line of business applications in support for transactions that take place during normal operations. Two hallmarks of the OnBase solution are their sophisticated workflow capabilities, allowing dynamic routing of documents based on individual document characteristics, and their award-winning Application Enabler, which provides direct integration with virtually any other application without the need for custom programming.

Selecting the right document management software for your business is not an easy task, and that's why our team of professionals can help make recommendations as to the right solution to meet your business requirements. If you're in the market for a solution to help you reduce costs and improve efficiency and ensure regulatory compliance, contact one of our solutions consultants to talk about your specific requirements and help make the decision as to whether PaperVision Enterprise or OnBase is the right solution for you.

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, Document Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

Four Document Scanning Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 @ 08:16 AM
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For those who are just starting their journey toward the Paperless office, there are a lot of things to consider. The most important one is - "If I scan this file, will I be able to find it later on?" With over 10 Years of experience in helping clients implement and configure Document Scanning projects, suffice it to say that I've seen some projects go less than well. Let me share with you the Four Most Common Mistakes that we see People make when starting a Document Scanning project and provide you with some insights on how you can avoid them:

1) Relying on OCR as the main source of document search

It might be more accurate to call refer to this as the "PDF Syndrome." The full-text PDF has done such a great job of convincing users that any and every document can be found based on the words within the pages that proper indexing has become an oversight for far too many companies. I've seen many new technologies for classifying content and automated indexing of scanned pages, but for effective document management, there is not a bigger mistake then relying OCR technology as your only reference point to documents. OCR is a fantastic technology, and many PhD. Level Engineers continue to refine and improve the accuracy, but it's not 100% accurate.

When you're capturing business documents, you need to be sure that you're able to not only find ONE document that meets your search criteria, but very often you need to find ALL of the documents relating to a specific transaction. OCR (or Optical Character Recognition) cannot provide you with the accuracy to ensure that this is going to be the case on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that 90% accuracy will only get you 9 out of 10 Digits in a Social Security Number, meaning that you won't be able to find the right document a fair percentage of the time.

Instead, you must rely on a combination of Barcode Recognition, Database Validation, and even good old Manual Data Entry to be sure that you can find the documents that you're looking for, when you need them. These tried and true methods are the only sure bet to locating documents when you need them later on.

2) Using a slow scanner for a high-volume scanning project

There are a lot of numbers that get circulated around in scanner spec sheets, but somehow the one that most people seem to pay the most attention to is speed. For most document imaging applications, scanner speed is going to be important to the overall efficiency, but it really is just one of the things you should consider when selecting a document scanner. To make the right decisions, you'll need to consider the amount of work that you're trying to accomplish and make sure that the scanner has not only the appropriate speed capabilities, but also that it handles the daily volume and has the image enhancement technology that the project calls for.
Because there are big price differences between buying a scanner to help address a backfile conversion and a day-forward project, it will often make sense to outsource the high-volume scanning work to a Document Scanning Service company. This will enable you to purchase a scanner that will address your ongoing needs, and save you thousands of dollars on equipment. At the same time, you'll also benefit from reduced labor costs by paying a flat price per image instead of paying scanning temps or training your own staff to get up to speed.

3) Manually keying all index data

The idea of tagging all of your documents with index information, or keywords, may seem like a daunting task. If your scanning medical records, for example, you may want to tag all of your files with a name, patient ID Number, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, etc. If you consider the number of keystrokes that it would take to attach this data to all of your document, it probably seems like it would take less time to just keep the paper in a folder and not scan it at all.

It doesn't have to be this hard! If you're already using a Database of some sort to keep track of information relating to a customer, patient, or transaction, you should put that data to good use. Most Database systems are designed with a master index record, or control number. Our recommendation is always to use that control number to minimize your data entry requirements. Document Scanning Software, such as Kofax Capture or SimpleCapture, can let you perform Database lookups, which saves time and money. Using this strategy, you will only need to enter that Master Index, such as Customer Number, and that will be used to cross-reference a database and automatically populate the other index fields.

4) Not capturing useful index information

When you start scanning files, it's absolutely critical that you make sure that you attach Meaningful data to the documents being scanned! Each time that you start a scanning project, you need to consider the ways that you may want to get back to that file at some time in the future. It's doubtful that you'd ever want to get back to a Mortgage Loan Folder by Phone Number, as that's likely to change once the closing is done, so be sure to attach data that is going to be relevant both now and in the future. You'll thank yourself later!

While this list is far from comprehensive, these are some of the most common perils and pitfalls we see customers face when starting scanning project. As you start your project, remember the old adage - Measure Twice, Cut Once. By staying focused on how someone will actually need to search and retrieve a document in the future, you'll be able to ensure that your document imaging project as a success, and your users will thank you later!

Tags: Paperless Office, Document Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

5 Ways Accounts Payable Workflow can Improve Profits

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Apr 12, 2010 @ 01:53 PM
Accounts Payable doesn't need to be viewed as only a cost center. In fact, there are some easy changes that can save significant financial and labor resources, and help the organization's bottom line. Effective Document Management is certainly one of them, but these changes are critical to helping further drive the value:
  1. Leverage Electronic Payments instead of Paper Checks - Many vendors provide Routing and Transit Numbers on their invoices to allow for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Payments of Invoices. With the ever increasing cost of postage, not to mention toner, paper, and time, why not save the stamp and submit payments electronically instead?
  2. Request PDF Invoice Copies from Vendors - For many companies, EDI still accounts for only a small portion of the invoices processed on a regular basis. Until that changes, why not request that vendors submit PDF Copies of invoices instead of Paper Invoices? It will save time spent opening and copying invoices, and will provide a high-quality, clear source document to work from when processing approvals.
  3. Eliminate Manual Data Entry - The Single Greatest Expense in the AP Process is the cost of Manual Data Entry. The time spent by employees keying data into the ERP System from Paper Invoices prevents them from performing other critical tasks and focusing on vendor and process management. Software can now perform much of this data entry via OCR, and save up to 90% of the Labor typically associated with Invoice Processing.
  4. Reduce Errors and Duplicate Payments - It's hard to get anyone to focus on their task when it's 4:55 on the Friday before Memorial Data Weekend. When it's invoices that are being processed, that extra "Zero" can make a big difference, and result in overpayments that need to be resolved. Why not let software perform the data entry and ensure that the right number of zero's are tagged on every invoice? Unlike People, Software doesn't need coffee breaks, either.
  5. Tighten The Processing Timeline - Early Payment Discounts can be seized, and Late Payment Penalties can be avoided when clear control of the Invoice Approval Lifecycle is implemented right from the moment an invoice is received. Using Electronic Workflow tools, users can review and approve invoices from a web browser, avoiding lost or misfiled invoices, and helping the company to improve spend management. This lets the company capture the discounts and avoid penalties, which is essential to effective AP management.
To learn more about how to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance the bottom line of your AP operation, visit Shoreline's Accounts Payable Automation Center.

Tags: Document Management, Document Scanning, OnBase, Document Imaging