When should you outsource document scanning?

When to outsource document scanning

Paper is a hard-to-kill pest in many offices. Paper takes up a lot of space, slows down decision making, is generally hard to manage and, most importantly, eats away at your bottom line.

Document scanning sometimes referred to as document imaging, is what you need to rid your office of paper. Once you’ve decided that scanning your paper makes sense, you must decide whether you want to outsource document scanning or handle it with in-house resources. Let’s look at factors to consider when choosing to scan records yourself versus outsourcing.

1.       How much paper do you have to scan?

If you only have a few drawers of paper to be scanned, a simple desktop scanner can easily digitize your files without breaking the bank or slowing down operations. If you have several filing cabinets or more that need scanning, you’ll need to invest in high-speed scanners, document scanning software, and dedicated staff for scanning. Costs can quickly rise to tens of thousands of dollars if not more! In this scenario, you should talk to a local document scanning company to determine the cost of outsourcing versus handling it in-house.

2.       Large format scanning

If your organization deals with wide-format documents like engineering drawings, newspapers, or blueprints, you will need to purchase a scanner that can handle wide format images. Large format scanners are not cheap, with a starting price around five thousand dollars.  If you regularly deal with a large volume of wide-format documents, it may be prudent to purchase a scanner. A good option in this case would be to outsource your large backfile of documents and handle day-forward scanning in house. 

3.       Scanning of historical records

The condition of your paper matters a great deal when thinking about outsourcing scanning versus DIY. If you manage a historical collection of records like marriage licenses, newspapers, or land records, your documents are likely very old and require special care. Most of these documents need to be digitized on a flatbed scanner. I almost always recommend outsourcing the scanning of these records to a vendor experienced with historical records. Make sure that your vendor has experience with old, brittle records. A lot of document scanning service bureaus handle exclusively high speed scanning of clean, new paper like medical and financial records. 

4.       When do you need the documents scanned?

If you require a quick turnaround to meet a deadline for compliance or an audit, you may need to expedite the scanning process. In this case, I recommend talking to document scanning company to see if their operational capacity can fit your tight deadline. 

5.       Indexing requirements

A document imaging project is much more involved than pressing the start button on a scanner. The real heavy lifting comes in when you need to manually index each document for easy search and retrieval later. If you have simple indexing requirements like names or page numbers, you may be able to handle the project in house. In the case where you have substantial indexing requirements, you will need to extensively train operators and invest in advanced capture software. Outsourcing may be the way to go in the latter case.

I hope that these factors helped you determine whether to DIY or outsource your document scanning. If you have more questions, we are here to help.