5 things you’re doing that are increasing your scanning costs

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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You’ll never guess what we scanned the other day…

Document scanning with Scan Film or StoreWe’re the first to admit that the document scanning and storage industry is hardly awash with high drama. It’s unlikely, in the course of any given day, that we’re likely to find ourselves facing anything more interesting* than several dozen boxes of customer survey forms, or a back office laden with technical drawings.

But just occasionally, a job comes in that we’d even risk turning into an anecdote at a dinner party without fear that we wouldn’t be invited back again. This is one such job…

“Do you do scanning in a different language?”

The enquiry came in via the website. A lady said she needed some documents scanned – and she needed them done fast. No problem, we thought, we can do fast. So we gave her a ring to find out more.

Our prospective client was pleased to hear from us, as she had a question of her own: “Do you do scanning in a different language?”

We scratched our heads for a moment. “Well, we could probably use OCR – that’s optical character recognition – and…”

No, no, she interrupted, that’s not what she meant. She just wondered if we’d scan foreign documents.

Well, as it happens we’ll quite happily scan the entire works of Shakespeare in Klingon if you should so wish, so it was agreed that we would go ahead with the job.

As always, we offered to collect the documents, but she declined: “I can bring them in, dear. Only, would you be able to collect me from the train station?”

How could we refuse?

Miss Marple and the mysterious suitcase

The next day saw us helping one very sprightly 85-year-old lady and one enormous – and very heavy – suitcase off the train at Bridgwater.

It wasn’t until we were back at the office that we finally got a glimpse of its treasures: ancient Tibetan manuscripts dating back to the 1500s.

Turns out, our client was heading to China to deliver a lecture on Tibetan religion, and had evidently (and rather sensibly) decided that hauling these precious tomes half way around the world in an airplane cargo hold wasn’t a sensible move.

Luckily, our Book Eye Pro 4 book scanner holds books carefully in a specially designed V-plate to keep the spines from being damaged, and then uses inbuilt software to flatten out the images and remove what we lovingly refer to as the ‘buttock crease’ (we tend not to actually call it this in front of our clients).

Anyway, our 85-year-old historian was thrilled to be presented with her manuscripts, now condensed into a USB stick that would barely make a dent on her travel allowance. She duly headed off and, presumably, brought the house down with her well-researched lecture.

So you see, we do have the odd Indiana Jones moment here at Scan Film or Store. Just without the bad guys. And the snakes. And the hat…

(*It should be pointed out that we do, in fact, find these things quite interesting. It’s just that we don’t think many other people would feel the same way. Which is as it should be really.)

Got something interesting for us to scan? Get in touch with us today – we can’t wait to find out what it is!

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What every office manager needs to know about data security

Flooded office... Scan Film or Store: What every office manager needs to know about data securityWhat would happen if you lost all your data? Sorry, perhaps we should have started with something a little gentler. Cup of tea? Biscuit?

No one likes to talk about data security. Just like no one likes to talk about insurance or funeral planning or what sausages are really made of.

It’s almost bad luck, isn’t it? Like the mere mention of the concept might summon a disaster, much like saying the name Candy Man out loud (as an aside, can you believe it’s been 25 years since that film came out??).

Thing is, and you might want to brace yourself for this, more than 60% of companies never recover from a major loss of data.

Now you may think that your data is perfectly secure, thank you very much – you’ve got the latest systems installed, you use the Cloud and all that sort of high tech malarky.

But here’s the thing: what about your printed data? That’s right, just because it’s old fashion paper and ink, doesn’t means it’s not data – or that it can’t cause havoc if it’s lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed.

Before you give up reading in despair, there is hope! Here’s our handy guide to protecting your printed data from pretty much everything except an invasion of data eating alien life forms.

Keep it dry

Paper and water do not make good bed fellows. Too much moisture and you’ll end up with papers that stick together, go mouldy or even start turning to pulp, making them unreadable.

Keep it ventilated

A badly ventilated room is likely to get damp simply because there’s a degree of moisture in the atmosphere, and therefore you’re going to end up with the same problems, especially the mould.

Get it scanned

If there’s a disaster at your office – fire, flood, plague of paper eating locusts – you’re going to wish you had copies of everything, aren’t you? Ideally copies that the locusts won’t want to eat. Also, anything printed on a thermo-printer (like till receipts, for example) will fade over time. If you’ve got boxes of archived expenses in your storeroom, you might want to check and see whether they’re blank yet.

Destroy it properly

Simply chucking a barrowload of old box files on the recycling pile is not enough – haven’t you watched any spy movies? Sensitive paperwork has a way of getting into the wrong hands. Destruction is a far safer option, and if you want to be 100% sure no ones going to go rifling through your secrets (or your customers’ secrets), you’re best off getting them professionally cross-shredded and pulped.

Incidentally, the same goes for microfilm and microfiche. Given that the images on these are roughly a centimetre wide, using a regular shredder will at best lop an image in half, leaving an awful lot that can still be read and understood. The only way to properly destroy them is via incineration. And before you go hauling your galvanised garden burner out of the shed, it’s worth noting that microfilm and microfiche burn at 2000 degrees and release dangerous pathogens so if the heat doesn’t kill you the fumes will! Best leave that to the professionals.

Store it offsite

Finally, for those documents you’re obliged to keep in their original form for a certain period of time, we’re back to the issues of damp and ventilation. Oh, and theft as well. And human error (well, it’s not easy keeping track of all those papers, is it?). The best solution is professional offsite storage in a secure, monitored and alarmed facility with an advanced barcode tracking system and on demand retrieval services. (FYI: we might know someone who can help with this.)

So there we are – a few simple tips to help protect your data. We hope your business remains disaster free this year. But if you want to make sure that you’re prepared for every eventually, do come and talk to us. It’ll be a whole lot cheaper than trying to recover from a data security problem.

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