I recently heard a true story about a project manager in a construction field office. He was running the copier and it ran out of paper. Upon looking in the storage area, it was apparent that no copier paper was left in the building. Being resourceful, he called into the office and asked, “Can you fax me some paper?”
Getting paper moved from one place to another, usually isn’t about the physical paper, it’s about the content. Many firms use a scanner these days to convert the paper to PDF and email it to the proper recipient. While this seems efficient, it only addresses a small step in the document lifecycle. The scanners available today, have many more functions that can streamline the process and integrate to a document imaging or enterprise content management (ECM) system.
One such scanner is the Fujitsu fi-6010. This network scanner offers each user their own display using LDAP for authorized applications, has a full keyboard, and a large LCD touchscreen display. It incorporates the capture of meta data for your imaging or ECM system
and offers sophisticated options for software developers. Construction Imaging Systems has adapted it to many of their applications including Construction Document Manager and Chameleon Job Files. For the typing impaired, the optional ABBYY OCR plug-in allows the operator to highlight the words in the scanned document that are the meta data tags. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFVz92gVnV8&hl=en&fs=1&]
The scanner is configured to collect the appropriate meta data for the selected document type …i.e., Job #, Name, Address, date for correspondence or vendor, invoice date, amount for an invoice. Documents scanned to the network are automatically imported to the ECM system. Project managers don’t have to open the imaging application to archive a document, but once imported the users will be able to search for it.
By using this approach the documents are automatically entered into any ECM approval process, you avoid clogging the email server with interoffice document distribution, you eliminate the possibility of the document getting lost, the document remains in one single instance (no copies cluttering the network), and you archive it immediately making it accessible to everyone with access and authority. Now that’s how you eliminate paper problems.