Why we’re the perfect match for the engineering, manufacturing, defence and aerospace industries

Heart jigsaw puzzle - perfect matchWe don’t like to play favourites but we do seem to have attracted a lot of clients from the engineering, manufacturing, defence and aerospace industries over the years. And though we also don’t like to sound immodest, we’re not all that surprised. You see, we’re well set up to deal with their particular needs – we’ve got the security, the capacity and the right equipment.

As it’s Valentine’s Day later this week, we thought we’d write up a little dating profile, if you like, to show you we’re the perfect match for someone in the engineering, manufacturing, defence or aerospace industry.

Government approved security

We’re the kind of team who, if we’re going to do something, like to do it properly. So when we say our document storage facilities are secure, we really do mean it. In fact, we’re government approved to hold and process classified documents and data, our premises and procedures have been audited by government security advisers and all digital files are held in a special secure network to protect them from unauthorised access.

We’ve got BS 10008:2014 certification too, which is to do with “evidential weight and legal admissibility of electronic information” – kind of like the standards police have to keep when they transport evidence in criminal investigations. And our staff  have not only been vetted to BS 7858 standards but have actually signed the Official Secrets Act. Let’s face it, we’re practically spies.

Set up for working with you in-house

Of course if that still isn’t secure enough for you, then we can always come to you. Yes that’s right, we can actually up tools and move in with you for a bit, scanning and digitising your documents on your premises so that no data or paperwork ever crosses your boundaries. And remember, our staff are checked and double checked, so you need not worry about letting them past the perimeter fence.

Not your ordinary scanners

We know that if you’re in the engineering, manufacturing, defence or aerospace you haven’t just got a few sheets of A4 that you want to put through the scanner. You’ve got endless technical drawings, blueprints, not to mention procurement documents, personnel records and so on.

We’re set up for high capacity runs and we can scan up to A0 in width and pretty much any length. We’ve even scanned a tonne of 40ft aircraft drawings (although we can’t tell you who for because you don’t have clearance!).

Lots of added extras

So you know that we scan stuff and we store stuff. But that’s not all! We can also extract information from legacy documents and feed it into document management and ERP/MRP systems. We can convert analogue data into digital data and documents into microfilm or microfiche that’s guaranteed for 500 years, creating information backup systems that meet contractual obligations.

And we can securely destroy everything from paper and photographs to digital records and microfilm (which, if you didn’t know, is a really very difficult and dangerous process – microfilm has an extremely high burning point and releases dangerous chemicals so you don’t want to be looking after that yourself).

What our engineers, manufacturers, defence and aerospace clients say

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the procurement manager of a large West Country aerospace firm had to say about using our services:

“As one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in Europe we rely on fast, accurate access to our archive records – particularly build records and data sheets. We have used Scan Film or Store Ltd since it was established and they have always provided us with a first class service, Their prompt attention to our changing needs – from microfilm to digital scanning and document storage – has been impressive. I would recommend Scan Film or Store Ltd to any organisation that has complex or varied needs for cost-effective document management.” Ian Mitchell MCIPS, Procurement Manager

So what do you think? Ready to swipe right? (That’s a Tinder reference, by the way. Which is a dating app. Where you… never mind, it’s not that interesting). Anyway, if you think we’d be a good match for you, get in touch with the team today and we can arrange a first date!

Unique ways to beat Blue Monday

Scan Film or Store - How to survive Blue MondayHow are you feeling today? Not your best? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to the experts (by which we mean some clever marketing company who dreams these days up) today is Blue Monday. In other words, the day we’re statistically most likely to feel down in the dumps.

Why? Well Christmas is a distant memory but the evidence of festive scoffing is all too evident on our waistlines, we’ve yet to settle the credit card bill and failed to keep our New Year’s resolutions, the weather is terrible and it’s still ages until payday. If you weren’t feeling glum before, bet you are now, right?

Don’t worry, as always we are on hand to provide some tips for beating Blue Monday which, at the very least, will hopefully give you a bit of a giggle to help banish those blues.

Stick your swimsuit on

Ok hear us out. One of the reasons we’re feeling blue today is that the weather sucks, right? It’s cold, it’s gloomy, probably raining. But that’s just outside! Inside you can control your own climate. Stick the heating up (just for today mind, it’s not great for the environment), get into your swimsuit, mix up a batch of Mai Tais, line up a holiday playlist on iTunes or pop on a rerun of Hawaii 5-0 and you’re good to go. Who says you have to get on a plane to have a tropical break?

Smile, smile and smile again

It might feel like a grimace at first but the very act of smiling actually helps us feel better! If you’re struggling, watch a comedy show, Google “cats falling over”, whatever works for you. And then once you’ve got those facial muscles working properly, start smiling at other people. Smiling is contagious and knowing that you’ve helped boost someone else’s mood will give you a boost in return. Just don’t overdo it or you’ll come across as creepy and potentially add “getting slapped in the face” to the list of things making you feel blue today.

Ditch your old documents

People usually do their spring cleaning in March. Which makes sense, because that’s when spring actually starts. But how great would it feel to get to March and be able to take a day or two off because you’d already got yours sorted in January? There’s nothing as satisfying as having a good clear out, you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment and the newly decluttered environment will enhance your calm too. If you need help with document storage, document scanning or secure data destruction while you’re at it, do give us a shout.

Run away from it all

Usually we wouldn’t advocate running away from your problems but in this case we mean it literally. It’s probably the last thing you feel like doing but grabbing your trainers and pounding the pavements for even 10 or 15 minutes will do you a world of good. The fresh air, the exercise, the endorphins – not to mention the satisfaction of having actually got off your backside and done something productive. Go on, you can do it! We believe in you.

Embrace the blues

Failing all else, work along the principle of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and fully embrace Blue Monday. Take a duvet day, get the Ben & Jerry’s out of the freezer, stick on The Notebook or Celine Dion’s greatest hits album and have a good old blub. There’s no proof as such that a good cry makes you feel better, but ask most people and they’ll tell you it does. Now, where did we put the tissues?

If worrying about document storage, document scanning or secure data destruction is part of what’s getting you down today, give us a call and find out how we can help. We don’t mind if you have a bit of a cry on our shoulder!

The organisational secrets of Santa Inc’s admin elves

Christmas admin elf As you’ll remember from last year’s festive testimonials, we’re like this (picture us crossing our fingers closely) with Santa and his crew. Well, actually we’ve only met the big man a couple of times; we mostly deal with his elves. But that’s not a bad thing. Honestly, Saint Nick is more of a brand ambassador these days – it’s the admin elves who do the real work (don’t tell him we said so though, he’s got a very fragile ego).

Anyway, here’s how operations are run at Christmas Towers, and the lessons you can learn from these busy little guys when it comes to organising your office administration.

You can’t make naughty or nice lists like you used to

GDPR. They’re feeling the impact up there in the North Pole. Up until last year it was simple – Santa made his list, he checked it twice and he found out whether people were naughty or nice.

This year his elves have had to undertake a massive project to gain consent to hold data on the world’s 1.9 billion children. They also had to go through historic records and destroy any data collected under the old rules which would contravene the news ones.

Luckily we were able to help them by securely destroying several thousand boxes of these lists using our special cross shredding and pulping service. No one will be using your childhood indiscretions against you now, you can be sure of that.

Scanning invoices creates a lot more room for making toys

You’d think that with the price of land up north, Christmas Towers would be vast and spacious. But it’s surprisingly cramped. When we first visited (and no, we can’t tell you where it is or share photos – we had to sign an NDA) we were literally tripping over bags of reindeer feed and boxes of old receipts for elf-sized carpentry tools, baker’s sugar and string.

We couldn’t help them with the reindeer feed, but we did sort the receipts for them. Thankfully they were able to let us use Santa’s sleigh to get all the boxes back home (usually we’d take them off in one of our vans but they struggle a little in those rather extreme arctic conditions). We scanned them all, created a searchable database so they can retrieve any of them at the touch of a button, then securely destroyed the hard copies, which they said they didn’t need anymore (otherwise we’d have stored them here, obviously).

Don’t rely on a reindeer temp to find the right archive box

This is strictly between us, but there was a right royal screw up last year when several of the elves were signed off with tinsel blindness at the same time and the office ended up seriously understaffed. Unfortunately, this group included the only three elves who understood the document  storage system. So when the head chef wanted the original candy cane recipe from the archives (he was going through a bit of a ‘back to basics’ period, apparently) they dispatched a reindeer who was acting as temporary cover to find it. Naturally he hadn’t a clue where to start, upset several boxes of old files, got hopelessly lost and ultimately did not deliver said recipe. Which caused Chef to have a hissy fit of epic proportions and storm off muttering something about amateurs. It was all very Gordon-Ramsay-does-Christmas.

This year, they’ve relocated their archive to our Bridgwater storage unit – not only to create even more space, but because our barcoding system means we can easily find anything they’re looking for and either send a scanned copy straight across or courier a hard copy to them within 24 hours (assuming the snow isn’t too heavy out their way).

So there you have it. Lessons in life and business from the festive folks way up North. Happy Christmas one and all!

PS In the interest of full disclosure we should probably point out that Santa isn’t actually a client of ours. This is just a bit of festive fun, ok? We do provide data destruction, document storage, document scanning and a number of other services that would be useful to admin elves if they existed. If you could use one or more of these services, give us a call and we’ll see how we can help. Unfortunately we can’t actually supply you with an admin elf.

Have you thought through your go-paperless process?

Paperless key on a keyboardThe paperless workplace movement has been around for a fair while now, and rightly so. After all, trees don’t grow on… erm… well, you know what we mean. It just isn’t sustainable to keep hacking down forests so we can scribble a short note on an A4 piece of paper and then toss it in the bin when we’re through with it. The environment will eventually go off in a huff and we’ll be left to try and survive an eternal winter eating nothing but foraged mushrooms or something equally unpleasant.

But while going paperless is great as a concept, it’s actually something which should take a bit of thought if you want to achieve good results. Especially if you’re running a larger or more established business where any change is likely to take a degree of effort to implement.

Here are a few things you’ll need to include in your go-paperless process:

Get staff on board with paperless

This is by far the most important part of any change management process. Get it wrong, and with all the will in the world you just won’t succeed. Even if you threaten to fire people for using more than 2.5 sheets of paper a day, how are you going to police that? The best way to ensure that your mission to go paperless succeeds is to make it everyone’s mission. Except more fun than that. Because if it’s going to be a ‘mission’, no one will do it. The point is, get buy in before you do anything else.

Invest in the right software

The best way to get people on board with something new is to make it super easy – ideally easier than what they’re doing now. Most of us are pretty lazy at heart. Or just super busy. If your paperless system involves new hardware or software – whether that’s tablets to replace paper order forms, a file-sharing system like Dropbox or GSuite, e-signature software, or something bespoke – make sure everyone understands how to use it so that they actually do use it. This might involve investing in some training. Do it. It will be worth it.

Set up a great filing system

Just like the filing cabinets of yesteryear (ah, nostalgia!), online filing systems need to be clever. It’s no good leaving everyone to rely on a search function. There needs to be a system of clearly defined folders and subfolders, with uniform labelling protocols for the documents they contain so no one gets confused. Again, there might be the need for some training on this and you’ll almost certainly need to circulate some guidelines otherwise people are likely to end up very confused. And confused people tend to lose stuff, even if it is in the Cloud somewhere rather than an archive room.

Put the message out

In order to make a paperless system work, you’ll need to have people outside the company on board too. Look at where your incoming paper is coming from. Can you ask your suppliers to send electronic invoices instead of paper ones? Are there any unnecessary circulars you can unsubscribe from? Have you gone for the paperless statement options on your bank account? If something doesn’t need to come to you in a paper format then make sure it’s changed to an electronic one. As a bonus, you’ll have a lot less mail to file.

Set protocols on printers

While your staff may be on board with the idea of going paperless, they’re only human. On those occasions where they do have to print something, they may well forget to tick the “print two sided” option, for example. By setting protocols on your printers, you can make sure that single sided has to be a deliberate choice rather than an absentminded mistake. Likewise you can use the analytics from your printers to see where the bulk of the printing is coming from, whether that be individuals or departments, so you can focus your efforts to reduce paper use in those areas.

If you’re looking at going paperless and you want to talk to someone about scanning your documents or even destroying the ones you no longer need, get in touch today to see how we can help.

Paperwork – what to keep and what to chuck

Man trying to decide whether to keep a piece of paper or throw it awaySometimes it feels like, despite the fact that we’re living in a so-called digital world, we are surrounded by really quite stupid amounts of paper. Receipts, invoices, records of all shapes and sizes, forms, statements – you get the picture.

It’s tempting to take a Marie Kondo minimalist approach to it all and get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy” (in other words 100% of the contents of most filing cabinets). But sadly there are times when it is important to embrace your inner hoarder and keep hold of stuff for a year or 40.

Here are a few examples of things you might have lying around at work or at home, and whether you can bin them or not.

COSHH records

Unless your COSSH records have reached the grand old age of 40, you’re going to have to keep them. It’s the law. You may not want to look at them all that often (and who’d blame you) but do make sure they’re secure. If you don’t have a suitable archive room, sort yourself out with document storage faclity that is alarmed, monitored and environmentally controlled like ours. We can even scan or courier documents back to you within a few hours if you’re desperate for something to cure your insomnia.

Photos of yourself from the 80s

We can safely say that unless you’re Kylie Minogue, Charlie Sheen or Eddie Murphy, the 80s probably weren’t all that kind to you. So if that particular photo album happens to catch fire, don’t be too quick to grab the extinguisher. Alternatively, you could put them up around the house as an example to your children, proving that the “sheer dresses” and “statement socks” they think are so TD (ie. “to die”, which is the modern, lazy form of “to die for”) are going to make them blush when they’re in their 40s.

Contractor time sheets

OK, so this one has two answers. Once they’ve been transferred to your accounting system, contractor time sheets should be kept for a year. However, if they’re needed for revenue purposes then you legally have to keep them for six years. If you’re likely to need to access to them quickly, you can either get them scanned and stored off site or make sure your document storage company offers a same day courier service (hint: we do).

Instruction manuals

So you got a snazzy new camera / phone / George Foreman grill and it came with an instruction manual as thick as an average bible. Do you shove it in a filing cabinet so that, should the fuse blow, you know exactly how to replace it? No, you do not. This is 2018 folks. Instruction manuals are accessible online. Just Google the model number of the item in question and you’ll find either an official copy on the brand’s website or, at the very least, a scanned version that some do-gooding soul has thought fit to post as a PDF somewhere.

Quotes

This is another one with two answers. If a quote has been successful then you need to keep hold of it until it’s paid and has been audited. But if it’s been unsuccessful, you should hang on to it for a year. Which seems unfair really – kind of making you relive that failed bid for 365 days. “You lost, sucker – someone else got the deal!” Not nice.

Old love letters

Well now this is a tricky one. On the one hand, if they’re from a previous relationship to the one you’re in now, you might want to ditch them. Having said that, they could form the basis of that romantic novel you’re planning on writing in your retirement under a flouncy pen name, so perhaps it’s worth hanging onto them. Just make sure they’re hidden discretely away.

Whatever documents you need to keep, we’re happy to help. Just call one of the team for a quote – we’ll do all the rest, including providing the boxes, doing the packing and transporting everything to our Bridgwater site.

3 catastrophic business disasters and how to avoid them

No one ever expected the Spanish Inquisition, or so they said. Which is silly really, since the Spanish Inquisition were clearly renowned for popping up out of nowhere and causing mayhem. They may not be around today but there are plenty of other dangers to watch out for if you’re in business today, and in this week’s post we thought we’d work through just a few – and add some ideas about what to do to ensure you don’t face them. Because the best way to deal with disaster is to avoid it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Deadly data breaches!

Ok so this has always been a thing but since the advent of GDPR the results can be even more catastrophic. These days if someone harvests data from your old tech equipment (not just computer hard drives but things like photocopier and scanner drives), breaches your online security or breaks into your archive room like an old fashioned sneak thief with a bag of swag, you’re looking at a fine that could reach into the millions.

The solution: Store your data securely – for example, in an off-site facility that is alarmed and monitored 24-7 (why yes, we do know of such a place!). And be sure to destroy your data securely, including any sensitive microfiche and microfilm documents, which need special measures to ensure they burn safely.

Crushing cash flow blocks!

We may do most of our transactions online these days but the old adage “cash is king” still holds true. Except we’d probably go with “cash is king or queen” because, you know, equality. For most small businesses – and even a lot of the larger ones – cash flow is a real challenge. Things might look rosy on paper but if the bank manager is on the phone telling you he’s about to cut you off because there aren’t actually any pounds and pennies in your account then you have a problem.

The solution: Because sending the boys round to your debtors with baseball bat is frowned upon in traditional business circles, it’s important to be on top of every penny. Make sure you have all the necessary systems in place and that you can access financial records instantly. That could mean scanning paper documents to create an online database or storing them with a document storage company like us – we barcode all our clients’ documents so they can be found in minutes, and can scan and / or courier hard copies to you straight away.

Fatal fire and flood!

So you might have noticed by now that we get a fair amount of rain in this part of the world. There are pros and cons to our weather, of course. The grass likes it, for a start. And the crops, which is good because it means we have plenty to eat. But there are downsides. Like soggy barbecues, wet dogs and flooding. It’s the latter you’re most likely to be concerned about as a business. And other ‘natural’ disasters like fires, earthquake, volcano eruptions and invasions of killer ants.

Look around your office and imagine it sitting in a meter or more of dirty river water. Or smouldering ash. Or lava. What would be lost? The carpet certainly. Maybe a pot plant or two. Your favourite chair – the one that supports your back in just the right way. And what about your paperwork? If you only have hard copies of your archives then a flood / fire / earthquake can strip you of years of records and make life really very difficult indeed.

The solution: Get them scanned and stored on a secure cloud based system. That way no matter what happens to your office building, your records will be secure. And if you need to keep the hard copies, make sure they’re stored securely in a purpose built unit like ours, which is designed to create as secure a environment for paper documents as is humanly possible.

For help securing your data against potential threat, give one of the team a call today to find out how we can help.

5 questions to ask before choosing a document storage company

Document storage - Scan Film or StoreChoosing a document storage company isn’t a particularly glamorous process. Not like picking out your next sports car or deciding on where to go on a family holiday. But it does require a degree of thought because, let’s face it, boring as it may be to some (not us, obviously) it’s an important decision to get right.

That’s why we thought we’d put together a list of questions you need to be asking any potential document storage provider before you sign on the dotted line. The last thing you want is to finally sort out the clutter in the office only to find you’ve got yourself into a situation where you could have a data breach or can’t get hold of vital documents for weeks at a time.

1) What’s your security like?

This is clearly a pretty fundamental question. After all, the reason you want to store your documents is surely because you want to keep them safe. This is especially true of confidential information, whether that be customer data (you don’t want to annoy the GDPR police!) or top secret company plans that your competitors would be gleefully happy to get their hands on.

At Scan Film or Store our facilities are monitored and alarmed 24/7 so you can be sure that even James Bond himself would have a hard time gaining access to our clients’ documents.

2) Is your storage facility climate controlled?

The thing about paper is that it’s not exactly the most sturdy stuff. Not only can it go up in flames pretty darn quickly, it also has a natural aversion to water. Even air that’s too damp is likely to cause a problem with mould. Then there’s light, which can fade ink, and rodents of all kinds, from rats to wasps. Your documents need to be protected from all of these.

Our purpose built storage unit at Scan Film or Store HQ is specially designed to create the best environment for housing large volumes of paper as well as microfilm, microfiche and so on.

3) How quickly can I get hold of one of my documents?

One of the benefits of having your paperwork in an archive room down the corridor from your office is that it’s relatively easy to get hold of a file at any given point (even if it does set off your dust allergies). If you use an off site storage facility, will you have to wait days to get important documents sent across in the post?

With our barcoding system, finding your files is a piece of cake and we can either scan them and email them across within a couple of hours, or get hard copies couriered over.

4) Is your team security checked?

It’s no use protecting your documents from spies and wannabe thieves if the storage company staff are going to interfere with them directly. It’s vital that the entire storage process is secure from start to finish, from the moment the files leave your office until they’re either returned or securely destroyed.

The Scan Film or Store team have all gone through DBS checking, plus we’ve been security vetted to BS7858 and signed the Official Secrets Act! It doesn’t get more secure than that.

5) Will you come and collect my documents?

This isn’t strictly essential, assuming you have the time, inclination and resources to pack up all your documents and trundle them over to your chosen storage company. But really, why would you bother if you can find a company that will do it all for you? After all, if you’re paying money for storage then you might as well enjoy the process.

We’re old pros when it comes to packing and moving, so let us come over to you and get everything boxed up – we’ll even bring the boxes and tidy up after ourselves. 

If you’re looking for a trusted and reliable document storage company, why not give us a call? We offer a free consultation and quotation service so give us a ring today to see how we can help.

Why autumn is the best time to declutter your office

Why autumn is the best time to declutter your office - blog post by Scan Film or StoreSpring cleaning – it’s so last year. These days everyone is timing their annual declutter around the start of autumn, which is on Sunday, in case you were wondering. After a hedonistic summer of barbecues, day drinking (just us??) and getting sunburned because honestly you just did NOT expect it to be so hot, it’s time to get back to reality. And nothing helps focus the mind like a good old spring… sorry, autumn clear out.

There are plenty of reasons why we prefer to schedule our decluttering as the weather gets colder. In fact, the weather is part of it. After all, the fact that it’s getting cooler means you’re less likely to get all hot and bothered while lugging boxes around. Also, we’re going into the season where we will be spending more time indoors and that means you want to get rid of all that annoying clutter that will make you feel stir crazy if you don’t.

Autumn decluttering isn’t just for your house. Given that you probably actually spend more time in the office in the average week than you do at home, it’s worth starting there. And there is plenty of evidence that your working environment can hugely affect your productivity. So if you need a way to convince your boss that spending a couple of days ignoring clients and focusing on clearing out the store cupboard is a genuinely good idea, just show them that article. Or if you are the boss, now you have a legitimate reason for getting your team to tidy up.

Of course, as every seasoned declutterer (it definitely is a word, no matter what autocorrect thinks) knows, it’s important to have a plan. So here are some tips from us because, if we do say so ourselves, getting organised is something we’re really very good at.

How to declutter like a pro

Good decluttering is one of those things that actually makes your environment look more chaotic to start with. That’s because the best thing to do is to unpack everything so you can see what you have. You’ll be surprised how much you can shove into a filing cabinet when you try and don’t get us started on archive rooms. Don’t worry, it does get better though.

Once you’ve sussed out how much is there, you need to make a plan of action to sift through it and get it organised. So for example, you might want to begin by throwing away / shredding / incinerating anything that you no longer need. Remember that if this detritus includes confidential waste, you’ll need to destroy it properly. You don’t want internal memos appearing in the local press now do you? And before you ask, no, standard office shredders aren’t particularly effective. Especially if you’re destroying micro format items like microfiche or microfilm.

Next step is to group what remains in a sensible sort of a way. It’s no good having your stock or invoices or packs of post-it notes divided across an arbitrary number of cupboards or shelves or filing cabinets scattered around the office. There needs to be method in the madness.

Storage – a thing of beauty

Once you know what needs to be stored and in what sort of order, it’s time to figure out WHERE. So here you have a few choices. You can dedicate one room or part of a room to storage. You can install shelving, invest in decent archive boxes, create a colour coded labelling system.

Just remember that certain things, such as paper, are quite fussy about their environmental conditions. Much like toddlers, they don’t like to be damp, they don’t like sunshine, they don’t like to be gnawed by rodents.

Of course, you could also get someone else to take care of all that for you. Offsite document storage is honestly the best and we’re really not just saying it because it’s our business. Here are a few reasons we think you’ll agree are pretty convincing:

  • It saves you so much space – space you can do all manner of cool stuff with.
  • You’ll always know where your documents are – we barcode the boxes in our custom built storage warehouse so we can lay our hands on any of them within minutes.
  • Your documents will be safe – from the elements, from fire, from thieves, all thanks to the climate control and security measures we have in place.
  • It will be so much easier to get hold of documents – like we said, we can get hold of any of the documents we store within a few short moments and we can also courier them over to you or scan and email copies.
  • You’ll save loads of time – just think of those wasted hours spent getting dusty in archive rooms or cursing the collapsing hanging files in that rickety filing cabinet.

Doing an effective autumn clear out takes a little thought and planning and a bit of hard work, but it’s so worth it. Just think how good you’ll feel once it’s done. And if you need some help or encouragement, give us a call.

3 ways to make business bookkeeping easier with document scanning

3 ways to make business bookkeeping easier with document scanningIt seems only fair to point out from the get go that we are not bookkeeping experts. But we have worked with plenty of bookkeepers in our time, not to mention business owners, so we’ve picked up a few things along the way.

Specifically, we’ve seen the challenges that come up time and time again – and the ways that we’ve been able to help our clients overcome them with our scanning superpowers. We’re pretty sure Marvel is working on a new franchise based on our work, but in the meantime we felt it was our civic duty to share a few foundational tips with you.

1) Get your receipts scanned

You know the receipts you get from shops or out of machines in car parks? The ones you carefully save and detail in your expenses claim form and then file away in boxes in case you get audited or you need the VAT number at some future point? Well they’re printed on thermal paper. Which means they’ll be pretty much illegible long before your next set of company accounts have been completed. The best way to ensure you have access to that data for years to come is by scanning your receipts. Auto Entry and Xero accounting systems both have excellent apps that allow you scan these from your mobile while on the move – but if you are time poor or have lots of them, we can do it for you.

2) Create a shared drive so everyone can access information

How many people need access to your invoices, receipts, purchase orders and so on? As well as any team members there’s also your accountant and your bookkeeper if you have one. Sending endless emails with bulky attachments – or worse, hard copies – is a pain. Far easier to have everything scanned and stored digitally in a central location that can be accessed by anyone who needs it in real time. This is also helpful if you need to get hold of a document on the go. Systems like Dropbox and GSuite can even be accessed from your phone, making it much easier to get stuff done when you’re out and about.

3) Use OCR to make finding stuff easier

So, you’ve successfully created an online archive and everyone who needs it can access it – well done you. Now, where exactly did you decide to store the Christmas party deposit receipt? Beryl is asking for it, and she doesn’t like to be kept waiting. Was it under C for Christmas? Perhaps D for December? Receipts paid? Current receipts? If you opt to give your files the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) treatment when they’re being scanned, you’ll be able to simply type in the word ‘Christmas’ and any printed documents containing that term will magically* appear. We can OCR in up to 35 different languages, which we think is pretty impressive. Can you even name that many languages? (*It’s not actually magic, just clever technology).

So there you have it. You’re not so skeptical about Marvel wanting to work with us now, are you, hm? If you’d like to engage our scanning services before we get so famous that we have to triple our rates, get in touch with the team today.

Does my document look oversized in this?

Does my document look oversized in this?Size – it’s a big thing in the media these days. But in this case we’re not talking waistlines. Oh no, we’re far more interested in paper sizing. And as far as we’re concerned, the bigger the better! Because oversized document scanning is one of those things that is more complex than it might sound, and you know we love a challenge.

We do ours on a Canon OCE large format scanner, which can scan in colour or black and white. It can deal with documents up to A0 in width and basically as long as you like (within reason – there’s a limit to the amount of physical space we have in the building so let’s not try and break any records, ok?). To give you an idea, we’ve done aircraft drawings that have been over 40ft long! We’ve also done drawings of nuclear power station parts, but we can’t tell you any more about that or we’d have to kill you.

Work that scanner!

To start an oversized scanning job we actually have to alter the office layout, pulling the scanner away from the wall and rearranging the tables so as to allow the documents to feed through and out the other side. It’s a very manual process and takes a delicate hand (ideally two), especially since many of the oversized documents we deal with are quite fragile, for example if they’re printed on mylar or drawing paper.

The Canon OCE scans at 300DPI (dots per inch) resolution rather than 200DPI, which essentially means that the images it produces – saved as either a TIF, PDF or JPEG – are of a higher quality. Which is pretty important given that most of the oversized documents we scan are things like architects plans, engineering plans, site plans (any plans, really), technical drawings and so on, which have to be very accurate at any scale.

We can also scan documents up to 15mm thick, so original mounted prints will fit through – ideal for insuring artwork.

Don’t try this at home

A warning before we wrap this up (which we will do in a moment, because while we find the intricacies of scanning oversized document scintillating, we know not everyone does): don’t be tempted to fudge the process on your normal sized office scanner.

There’s always one clever clogs who decides to chop up a schematic drawing, photocopy the individual pages and then glue them back together. Or scan sections and stitch them together digitally.

This does not work. You inevitably wreck the scaling or end up with a crease line over an important bit of piping which means the new building you’re constructing will be flooded with sewage every time someone flushes the loo.

If you need help making architect’s drawings, engineering drawing, vehicle schematics or whatever more portable, please ask us instead – we’re only too willing to help.

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