Preserving history, one scan at a time Monday, 12 June 2017 15:50

Document scanning is an interesting old business. No, we know, it doesn’t look like it from the outside. And we’re happy to admit that the majority of what we do isn’t exactly the stuff movies are made of.

But there are moments when we get to be involved in a little slice of something a bit special. We recently got our hands on a particularly interesting folder of documents – letters written in the late 1930s by an Austrian Jew called Karl.

With war looming, Karl had sent his only daughter Eva to England on the Kindertransport. She was just 13 years old. He didn’t know, as he wrote faithfully to her of life in Vienna, that they would never see each other again. One day Karl’s letters simply stopped, and Eva would later confirm that he had died in a concentration camp.

Binding and Roman numerals

The letters were in pretty good condition when they were brought to us by Karl’s great-granddaughter. But the sad truth is that paper doesn’t last forever, and she wanted to be sure that neither time nor something more dramatic like fire, flood or rampaging toddlers would destroy these precious family documents.

Scanning them was a slightly more complex procedure than you might imagine. First they had to be taken out of the folder they’d been bound in, then we had to straighten out any bent pages. We used our swanky Book Eye Pro 4 because of the delicate nature of the documents, and had to play around with the contrast and brightness to optimise the images and get the best results. Oh, and indexing them wasn’t helped by the language barrier and the use of Roman numerals in the dates!

But we do love a challenge, and we were as pleased with the results as the client was. “My grandmother would be so thrilled if she knew that we’d managed to preserve her father’s letters so that they will never be forgotten,” she said.

Home videos, retro style

While we’re sharing ‘interesting jobs we’ve done recently’ stories, you might also be interested in another client who brought us an old cinereel film. She had no idea what condition it was in and only a rough idea of what the footage was of – the label simply bore the nickname she’d had as a child

It turned out to be home videos of her from newborn to 18 months – the same age as her own twin daughters are now. Watching the digital version that we created for her was, she said, an emotional journey down memory lane.

“I never really thought the twins looked like me, but some of the expressions on my face in that film are the spitting image of them!” She said. “I can’t put a price on being able to step back into the past and relive a time I have only the vaguest memories of.”

These days we have hundreds if not thousands of emails stored on our computers and filming our kids is as easy as whipping out our mobile phones. So perhaps the adults of the future won’t appreciate the nostalgic joy of rediscovering the past in the same way as we do now.

But for a lot of our clients, history could well be lost without people like us to restore and preserve it for them and for their children and grandchildren to come. Which is really pretty amazing, when you think about it.

Do you have old slides, photographs or documents you’d like to preserve, or analogue media you want to transfer to more accessible digital formats? Get in touch today and find out how we can help.

Quiz: are you a hoarder? Friday, 26 May 2017 6:00

In our line of work, we come across a lot of hoarders. They acquire stuff – all sorts of stuff – and find it incredibly difficult to get rid of. Especially paperwork, for some reason. They wouldn’t call themselves hoarders, of course. But they are.

That’s why we thought we’d put together this little quiz to help you identify whether you have hoarding tendencies or not. After all, they say that recognising a problem is the first step towards recovery…

1. There’s a sale on lever arch files at Staples. Do you:

a) Not buy any – you’ve got enough for now.
b) Get a couple to keep as spares in the stock room.
c) Buy the lot – it’s a great bargain and you never know when they’ll come in handy.

2. How long do you keep your paperwork?

a) Only as long as we legally have to, then it gets destroyed.
b) A few years, probably – I’d need to check.
c) Proud to say we have it all! Whatever you need, I can find it… if you give me enough notice.

3. Your team gives you a hideous “executive desktop gift” for your birthday – what do you do?

a) Pass it on to someone else immediately.
b) Display it on my desk for a few weeks then subtly get rid of it.
c) Treasure it forever – it’s the thought that counts, right?

4. Where do you store your archives?

a) Online – we went paperless<link to post on paperless office> months ago.
b) We’ve got a neat stack of archive boxes in the storeroom.
c) Let’s see, there’s the filing cabinets in the office, and then the storeroom, and the loft space, and there might be a couple of boxes under the stairs…

5. Your boss asks you to tidy your desk – how do you feel?

a) Are you sure they mean my desk? There’s nothing on it.
b) Um, yeah I’ve been busy recently, I really do need to straighten it up a bit.
c) But I have a system!! Honestly, I need all of it, if I could just show you…

6. How easy is it for you to find a file you need?

a) Simple – it’s all catalogued digitally so anyone can find anything they need in moments.
b) Pretty easy – the last office administrator we had set up a good system. It’s been a bit trickier since she left but we’re getting there.
c) Um, well we can usually find most things – certainly the stuff we use every day… eventually.

7. What does your bottom desk drawer contain right now?

a) The bottom one is empty – I only use the top one for stationery.
b) Job files that are waiting to be archived.
c) A couple of files, a few unopened letters, three pens with lids, an out of date Cup-a-Soup, several paperclips, a box of tomato ketchup sachets, two dozen fluffy elastic bands… oh and look, the paperback I started last year!

8. How do you dispose of data you no longer need?

a) We recycle, shred, incinerate or degauss<link to secure destruction services page>, depending on what it is.
b) We’ve got a couple of locked skips out back that get taken away once a month or so.
c) No longer need? I’m not sure what you’re talking about; I need all of it.

The results

Mostly As

Congratulation, you are the Master of Minimalism! You understand the value of your physical space and know exactly how best to manage, store and safely dispose of your data.

Mostly Bs

You’re doing an admirable job of trying to keep the clutter at bay, but you’re lacking the systems to help you do it. Although you’re not quite a hoarder, you’re definitely in need of some help.

Mostly Cs

Oh dear. No two ways about it. You gather stuff like a magpie and have little capacity for getting rid of it, even if it’s no longer useful. It’s time to admit it – you’re definitely a hoarder.

So, how did you do? If you landed up in the B or C category, don’t worry – we can help. Give us a call today and we’ll have a chat about how we can reduce your clutter, free up space, safely dispose of unwanted data and store or digitise the rest.

And if you’re an A – well, you might want to come and work for us! You’d be right at home here.

7 steps to a paperless office Tuesday, 9 May 2017 6:00

As resources go, paper is pretty simple. Fantastically useful though, don’t you think? Except it’s bulky. Not one sheet on it’s own, of course. But pile together hundreds of them and you can see how offices quickly get cluttered.

Also, paper comes from trees and there are only so many trees out there at any given time. Which means that wasting this particular resource, simple as it may be, is something of a no-no if you want to maintain your environmental credibility.

For both of these reasons, the idea of a paperless office has been growing increasingly trendy in recent years. If you’re not on board with the idea yet, here are a few ways to get started.

1) DECIDE TO GO PAPERLESS

This may seem like a very unnecessary place to start, but the fact is that unless you make a conscious commitment to go paperless nothing’s really going to change. If you set a big goal like ‘completely paperless’ then even a significant reduction would be a great achievement. You’ll also need to put a little bit of thought into how you communicate this new venture to your team because, let’s face it, we all know how most people feel about change.

2) REIGN IN YOUR PRINTING

See, this is a key example of where you’ll need everyone to be working towards the same goal. It’s no use getting your bills and bank statements sent electronically if the company is going through several reams of A4 every day printing off stuff that really doesn’t need to be printed. Why not add management controls to your printer, giving individuals their own logins and then keeping an eye on who the wasters are? While you’re at it, set all computers up to automatically print double sided. Our friends at Prolific Solutions can help you with all that stuff.

3) CHOOSE E-SIGNING SOFTWARE

Ok, we hear you say, but some documents simply have to be printed. Like stuff that needs to be signed. Well actually, that’s not true. There is software out there that means you can now sign documents without the need for paper or pen. And it’s just as legal as the traditional method. Just ask local Bristol firm, Signable.

4) SWITCH NOTEBOOKS FOR LAPTOPS

Do you and your team take notes when you go to meetings? What do you use? If the answer is notebooks, you’re creating a whole stack of needless paper bulk right there. What’s wrong with a laptop, tablet or SMART phone. Synching electronic notes to the Cloud also means you’ll never have to worry about leaving your important briefing notes on the train.

5) GET FEEDBACK VIA TABLET

You know those feedback sheets you hand out at workshops, networking events and the like? Not necessary. By switching over to a digital feedback system – even something as simple as a SurveyMonkey questionnaire loaded on a tablet – you’d not only save paper but also data entry time. Far easier to get the respondents to enter their thoughts directly into handy tablets.

6) USE FILE SHARING SOFTWARE

There’s no need for multiple copies of the same file to be printed off for different people to work on. Not only is it confusing (“The latest draft? Um, well I think it’s the one Bob was working on yesterday…”) it’s also a waste of paper. Google Docs, Trello and other file sharing systems are far more efficient.

7) DIGITISE YOUR PAPER ARCHIVE

This is probably the single most important step you can take to reduce the bulk of paper stored in your office – which, incidentally, is costing you money in rented office space. Wouldn’t it be better to have a digital archive, cleverly indexed and so easy to search it will make you wonder why you didn’t do it years ago? (Hint: the answer is yes, it really would be better). Any originals still needed could then be stored off site, and the rest securely destroyed.

If you’re serious about creating a paperless office, get in touch to find out how we can help with storage, scanning and secure destruction of all paper documents.

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How to survive an office move Monday, 24 April 2017 6:00

How to survive an office moveYou’re moving office. Yay! Well ok, maybe not yay. Maybe it was an exciting idea when you first started talking about, and maybe – probably – it will be nice when you’re in. But now you’re faced with the pesky in-between bit, the actual moving, and that’s perhaps less fun. But it doesn’t have to be an unmitigated disaster, if you follow a few simple steps.

1) Make a really, really good plan

Seriously, this is a step you ignore at your peril. You want to make sure you’ve thought of everything, from how you’ll actually get your stuff from one place to another to how you’ll get your work done while the moving is happening and making sure you have enough pens, tea and toilet paper to start you up again on the other side.

2) Delegate pretty much everything

You know that plan you’re going to make? Against each thing that needs to be done, assign a person who will be in charge of it. And make sure they know they’re in charge and that everyone else does too. Print out your plan and circulate it to the team, so there’s no confusion. When moving day comes, things need to run like clockwork. (They won’t, ok? Something always goes wrong. But at least you’ll know who to blame.)

3) Hire in the professionals to save your sanity

Seriously, you’re going to box up every paperclip yourself? Not a chance. You’ll be signed off with a nervous breakdown before you even reach that shiny new office (and then you’ll need professionals of a different kind). Movers don’t have to be expensive, especially when you consider how quickly and efficiently they’ll get everything done. Just do your research so you avoid the cowboys, make sure you agree up front what’s included and check there’s enough insurance in place, just in case.

4) Do a space plan at the new site

Again, one that people forget because let’s face it, most of us prefer to just get on and do it. But a little bit of thought at this stage can ensure you have a layout that really enhances the office environment. How are the desks going to be laid out? Where is the water cooler going? Will you have a breakout area? Do you need a conference space? If the idea of figuring this stuff out brings you out in hives, just get a professional in.

5) For goodness’ sake declutter

This is a perfect excuse. What on earth is the point of lugging your entire archive across the city / country, when you almost certainly don’t really need it all anyway? Your new place probably doesn’t have much storage space anyway – modern offices usually don’t, since there’s an assumption that we’re all heading towards a paperless office.

There are several ways to tackle unwieldy archives. You can have them scanned, reducing bulky boxes to thoroughly manageable – and meticulously organised – data files. You can store the originals in a secure offsite unit so you can use the office space you’re renting or buying for doing the actual business that you do (you know we do this, right? We’ll even provide the boxes and come pick them up for you).

Or, if stuff isn’t needed any more, you can have it securely destroyed, rather than dumping it out back in a skip for any Tom, Dick or Harry to go rifling through (FYI we can supply polypropylene bags with security ties). We know this is the last thing you feel like doing but honestly, it will pay in the long run, especially once you’re in the new place and you can find everything easily and don’t have to compete for floor space with endless stacks of boxes.

PS. If you discover a hidden stash of old documents on moving day, let us know and we can hold onto it until you work out what to do with it. Our site is climate controlled, alarmed and monitored, so it will be perfectly safe.

6) Call in the caterers

Now this is an added extra and you don’t strictly have to do it, but making sure there’s a good supply of food and drink available for your team on the big day will massively reduce the stress levels that a move inevitably generates. You don’t need to go all Michelin star, but a few trays of decent sandwiches and other finger food, a tea and coffee station, and selection of biscuits and fruit will keep everyone’s energy and morale up and stop people getting hangry.

7) Book a holiday for when it’s over

Probably not immediately – you’ll need to get everyone settled, after all. But you’re going to be pretty tired one way or another, so why not treat yourself to some R&R, even if it is just a long weekend on the Cornish coast. Go on, tell everyone we said it was a good idea. You’re worth it.

If you’d like to talk to the team about storing, scanning or securely destroying any documents as part of an office move, drop us a line today.

10 internet Easter eggs you need to see Thursday, 13 April 2017 6:00

Have you ever heard of Easter eggs? Not the chocolate kind. If you haven’t heard of those, you need to get yourself down to Hotel Chocolat quick smart, and take your piggy bank with you. (Pick us up a couple of gin truffles while you’re there, will you?)

No, the Easter eggs we’re talking about are a lot less calorific, but just as fun. They’re bits of code hidden by developers in places you wouldn’t expect, ready to provide the unsuspecting internet user with a bright spot in what might otherwise be a rather ordinary day.

Rather than leave you to find them by chance, we thought we’d round up a few of our favourites for you. Because we’re nice like that.

Anyway, start with this one…

1) Type “Easter egg (media)” into Wikipedia, and hover your mouse over the animal in the bottom right hand corner of the picture. Now click on it.

Pretty cool, right? Now try these…

2) Type Askew into Google. Try not to tilt your head.

3) Search for Loch Ness on Google Maps, then click on the plus button (just once) to zoom in slightly. Now look at the little yellow ‘Street View’ man.

4) One for the Douglas Adams fans: search for “the answer to life, the universe, and everything” on Google.

5) Type Anagram into Google. Get it??

6) Type “Super Mario Bros” into Google… now click the flashing question mark in the sidebar (make sure your computer’s volume is on!).

7) Search for directions from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle on Google Maps. Click the public transport button and scroll down to the last option.

8) Type “do a barrel roll” into Google.

9) For the gamers: Type “Zerg Rush” into Google. If you’re not a gamer and you want to know what Zerg Rush actually is, search “what is Zerg Rush” instead.

10) If you’ve got five minutes to kill: type Solitaire into Google. You’re welcome.

What do you think? Fun, aren’t they? We do realise this has nothing at all to do with document scanning, but it’s Easter and everyone deserves a moment to let their hair down and just be downright frivolous for a moment.

Happy Easter everyone – may the Easter Bunny be generous to you!

You’ll never make us talk! Tuesday, 4 April 2017 6:00

Old fashioned spyDocument scanning is a pretty cool industry to be involved in. No, don’t laugh. Remember that post where we proved that we were basically CSIs? And our Indiana Jones moment with the ancient manuscripts?

Well, if that hasn’t convinced you, this might: in many ways, we’re just like spies. Possibly not 00 level spies. We’re not armed or anything, and we probably wouldn’t have much luck infiltrating a black tie do on a private island, winning half a million pounds at baccarat and leaving with a supermodel on our arm (although we’d give it a good go if the opportunity presented itself).

But we do have access to lots of secrets – commercially sensitive data and the like – and it wouldn’t do to let it fall into the wrong hands. We all know how data leak stories end, and our clients would not like that at all.

That’s why we’re BS7858 accredited. BS7858 is the British Standard used for checking the security and trustworthiness of individuals. Every single member of our staff has been through the official vetting process, which includes ID checking, credit checking, address checking, criminal record checking – there’s a lot of checking, basically. And each individual has to be vouched for by a suitable referee too, just to be on the safe side.

It’s not that we don’t trust them, you understand. It’s just to give our clients peace of mind that their data is being looked after by people who aren’t going to flog a USB stick of their client records to a rival firm. Our team aren’t just trustworthy, they’re trustworthy enough to have earned the BS7858 seal of approval. And just to be doubly sure, we have them DBS checked too.

Oh, and like all good spies, we’ve also signed the Official Secrets Act… but we can’t really talk about that!

If you need sensitive data scanned, stored or destroyed, arrange a meeting with our team and decide for yourself how trustworthy we are.

Do you know your PDF from your TIFF? Friday, 24 March 2017 8:00

PC vs Mac. Ketchup vs HP Sauce. Bristol City vs Bristol Rovers. As consumers, we’re spoilt for choice, which can make decisions tricky. When it comes to document management, the big choice is between PDFs and TIFFs.

So what’s the difference? Well, we’re very glad you asked, seeing as how that’s what this blog post is all about.

Let’s look at a few of the key characteristics of each one…

The PDF aka Portable Document Format

According to its inventor, Adobe, a PDF is “a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system.”

PDFs are by far the most accessible file format. Everyone has a free PDF reader on their computer, so there’s no need to buy any new software, or even faff about with a free download.

And if you should upgrade to the Pro version of the Adobe Acrobat software, you’ll be able to access all the other great functions that PDFs have. Things like links and buttons, form fields, audio, video, and even business logic.

Oh, and PDFs can also be signed electronically, so you really don’t ever have to print them and create unnecessary paperwork. Ideal if you’re aiming for a paperless office.

Fun fact: The PDF was developed as part of The Camelot Project, which was created by Adobe cofounder Dr John Warnock to launch a paper-to-digital revolution way back in 1991.

The TIFF aka Tagged-Image File Formats

The TIFF is “a flexible raster image format” – but don’t worry too much about deciphering that. The truth is that TIFFs are most often used by people like designers who need all of the detail that a raw file would contain, in order to manipulate the image. Put it this way – if you need a TIFF, you probably already know what it is.

Because of the information the files contain, TIFFs are bigger than PDFs, so they take up more digital storage room. The other downside of using TIFFs is the fact that you’ll need to source and possibly pay for software in order to read them. Back in the old days (yes, we do remember them!) every PC had a TIFF reader as standard, but as they say, there’s nothing as constant as change.

So what does all of this mean to you? Well, just that when you have your documents scanned, it’s worth having a little think about how you want to use the scanned files and which format will suit you best.

If you need any more guidance around your specific needs, just give us a call and we’ll help you make the right decision. And we promise not to use any more jargon than we have to!

Check out the tech on that! Tuesday, 14 March 2017 6:31

Scan Film or Store - check out the tech on that!If there’s one thing the document scanning industry does well, it’s technology. We might not go as far as to say we love the machines we use to scan our clients’ documents, but we certainly like them a lot. (Oh, who are we kidding – we love them.)

It’s understandable that if the only scanner you’ve seen is the one that comes as an integral part of your office photocopier, you probably don’t think they’re all that flash. But if you were to visit us at our offices in Bridgwater, Somerset – which, incidentally, you’re welcome to do any time – you’d see they’re exceptionally clever bits of kit, with all sorts of extra features that make them really rather useful indeed.

You see, we may be an old fashioned bunch who believe in things like personalised customer service (remember the old lady we picked up from the train station recently??), but when it comes to technology, we’re giving the Silicon Valley kids a run for their money. Here are three of our favourite scanners (and the reasons why we love them)…

The Book Eye Pro 4

This German-built machine is the one we use to scan books that need to stay intact. Featuring a multi-angled base plate and moving scanner head, it can deal with the most delicate of volumes without damaging the binding, plus flat items of up to A3 size. Each page is turned by hand – with cotton gloves, in the case of delicate items – so it’s not a quick process, but the results are worth it. We’ve used ours to scan everything from ancient manuscripts and 150-year-old old leather bound council records to collections of vintage football magazines.

The flashy bits:

  • In-built software takes out the unsightly ‘buttock crease’ (you know what we mean, right?) and flattens out the image.
  • The same software can enhance the image if necessary, and can cut a double page image into its single page components.
  • Because there’s no need to feed the originals through a roller, it can scan thicker items too, such as art canvases.

Why you should love it: Using this bit of kit means you don’t need to have your books or ledgers taken to pieces in order to be scanned – even the spines will stay perfectly intact.

The OCE Large Format Scanner

For technical drawings, architectural plans and anything else above A3 size, this is the machine you need. It can take documents of up to 36 inches wide and 15mm thick, but here’s the thing – there’s no limit on length. So we can scan documents like hospital ITU charts and 25ft long aircraft drawings with ease.

The flashy bits:

  • Single camera and mirror formation ensures super accurate colour capture.
  • Preset modes can be used to scan non-standard documents such as blue prints, transparencies, dark originals etc.
  • Special configuration takes documents up to 15ml thick so we can scan items like mounted artwork.

Why you should love it: If you regularly deal with large format documents, this is the machine that will enable you to create a digital archive – and save yourself a awful lot of storage space.

The Kodak i4600

This is our main volume scanner. It will knock out around 40,000 images a day, which we think you’ll agree is pretty darn quick. It can do colour, black and white, and greyscale scanning up to A3 size and is as accurate as it gets, outputting images as PDF, jpeg or TIFF files.

The flashy bits:

  • Creates super high res pictures up to 1200 DPI (as a comparison, glossy magazines tend to use pics of around 300 DPI quality).
  • A super accurate alarm system to prevent more than one page going through at a time.
  • Built-in OCR (optical character recognition) software, which means you can search your scanned digital files for text in up to 50 language.

Why you should love it: This is the reason we can turn your bulky, possibly chaotic archive room into a state of the art, easily accessible digital archive, without taking several months to do it.

If you fancy having a gander at our beloved tech for yourself, and finding out how we can use it to help you create a digital archive of your paperwork, get in touch today.

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How to give your storage a health check Wednesday, 1 March 2017 10:09

March is a good time to get stuff in order. After all, it’s the start of spring. So, you know, spring clean and all that. Actually, your paper archives should be in order all year round but if you’ve been looking for something to give you the push you need to get your storage organised – and you missed the ‘New Year, new start’ one – then this is as good as any.

A good storage system is the kind of thing you don’t tend to notice. Because it’s good, so you can get on with whatever it is you’re meant to be doing and not actually have to think about it all that much. That’s what it’s meant to do – support the smooth running of your business.

A bad storage system, however, will demand your attention like one of those inane charity muggers that accost you with a toothy grin and an insincere compliment before guilt-tripping you into spending a week’s grocery budget on saving a rare species of giant South American ant.

When your paper archives are improperly stored, files can go missing, get destroyed, or wind up in the wrong hands (not ideal if the information you’re storing is sensitive). No one needs that kind of stress in their lives. So while giving your storage a health check probably isn’t high on your list of fun ways to spend your time, it’s really worth thinking about in order to save guaranteed hassle and potential disaster.

And it doesn’t have to take long. Just ask yourselves these questions…

How long does it take you to find things?

Your time is valuable. If you’re spending more of it than you have to trying to dig out the quote you sent that big client last quarter, or wading through endless sales reports to get hold of the one you need for that big presentation, your storage system needs a rethink.

How often do you need to find things?

Endless archive boxes stacked high on top of one another are all very well* if you don’t need to get to their contents outside of an audit inspection. But try and use a system like that on a daily basis and someone is going to end up signed off work with a bad back. (*Actually they’re not – that’s just dangerous.)

Who knows how to find things?

Ah, Bernard – such a useful chap. Knows the archives like the back of his hand. Only Bernard’s on holiday / off sick / decided to move to Thailand and live in a shack on the beach. Now what? Relying on one person who understands your storage system is very dangerous indeed.

Once you’ve found what you want, does it get put back properly?

No one likes filing – except maybe Bernard, but he’s off in Thailand. But a document storage system is only as good as the people who use it, and if even one person has one lazy day, you could end up losing something vital.

How easy is it to access your storage?

We’ve seen some storage rooms that are harder to get into (and out of) than a Crystal Maze-style locked room mystery. A dodgy loft that can only be accessed by ladder, or a tiny room piled high with unstable archive boxes, is a health and safety issue just waiting to happen.

How safe is your storage?

From thieves, fire, flood, nuclear attack, alien invasion. As we mentioned in our recent blog post on data security, more than 60% of companies never recover from a major loss of data. Then there’s the potential problem of rats, mice, birds and even wasps, who like nothing better than to use strips of conveniently boxed up paper to make their homes.

What are the conditions like?

Another danger to your stored paper archives is moisture. A damp basement is really not a great place to store anything made of paper. Lighting is another factor. While you want to ensure there’s enough light for you to access your records without the need of a flashlight, some printed materials can degrade with the wrong type of light, especially anything printed on thermal paper.

So, the solution? You could reorganise your paper archives on site. You could get someone (us, we mean us) to store it for you in a 24-7 monitored, security protected, climate controlled environment with trackable barcoded boxes and an on-demand delivery system. Or best yet, create a digital archive that you can access at the touch of a button, before destroying or storing the originals (we can do that too, by the way – the digital stuff, and the secure destruction).

Want someone to provide you with a free assessment of your current storage systems and paper archives? Give us a call and we’ll help you protect your documents properly.

5 things you’re doing that are increasing your scanning costs Monday, 27 February 2017 10:06

Scan Film or Store - five things you're doing that are increasing your scanning costsYou know what’s really annoying? Paying for stuff like parking. And insurance. And getting the boiler serviced. Stuff that you have to have, but which isn’t fun like, say, theatre tickets or a new set of golf clubs. But what’s even worse than paying for that need-not-want stuff is paying more money than you actually have to for it.

At Scan Film or Store we’re savvy enough to realise that, despite our own passion for document storage and scanning, for the rest of the world it’s definitely more of a need-not-want sort of a thing. That’s why we thought you might appreciate a few tips from the experts (that’s us, in case you weren’t clear) on how to reduce the cost of these services just by making a few simple changes to the way you do things at the office. So, here are a few bad habits to watch out for:

1) Printing in colour

You probably already know that colour printing costs more to actually print than black and white (or mono, as we say in the trade). But did you realise that it also costs more to scan? The machines used to do colour scanning aren’t quite as quick as the black and white (sorry… mono) ones, which makes them more costly. Plus the scanned data files are also slightly bigger for colour images, which means they take up more data storage room, which could be another issue.

2) Printing single sided

Not only does single sided printing double your expenditure on paper, it also means the volume of paper you need to store is doubled. Given that you pay for your storage by the square metre – whether you use a secure off site service like the one at Scan Film or Store, or the office space you’re currently paying rent on – it makes sense that reducing the volume you need to store will reduce costs. Plus, it’s better for the environment, which is a very good thing indeed. Top tip: set your printer default to double-sided so you don’t have to remember each time.

3) Stapling your documents

Scanners don’t like staples. It makes them cranky and they have a tendency to stop working if you shove any through their inner workings. Which is why we remove all the staples we come across while preparing our clients’ documents for scanning – each and every one of the blasted things. Which, as you can imagine, takes time. Less staples, less faff, less cost. Simples.

4) Using lots of Post It notes

Or any sticky attachment that you might enlist to add information or draw attention to something on your original document. These sticky notes also have to be removed and scanned separately, otherwise there’s a risk that a) they’ll get stuck in the scanner (see note on staples) or b) they’ll obscure something important on the pages to which they’re stuck. Writing comments directly onto the page is the simplest way to solve that problem.

5) Using blue highlighters

Actually, this isn’t really a money issue. It’s not going to cost you more or less to scan an image depending on what colours you use. You can go nuts with a whole rainbow of them, if you like. But it’s worth noting that the darker the highlighter, the more likely it is to obscure the text when it’s scanned. Yellow is also out, because it will barely be seen on a scan it all, especially on a black and white (mono!) scan. Your best bet is pink or orange. We just thought you’d like to know.

So there we have it – a few things you can do to save pennies on your document management. And we all know that if you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves. Which means you could treat yourself to those new golf clubs after all.

If you want to find out more about managing the paperwork where you work, drop us a line today.

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