Every Second Counts...Prep Kills Profits

Do you ever wonder if your document scanning and imaging operations are as efficient as possible?  We’ve heard directly from our customers time and again who verify industry reports that say “document prep labor accounts for upwards of 70% of the cost of document scanning.” Let’s take a moment to review what goes into full scanning operations, so you can see if you’re leaving money on the table.


There, I said it. Your scanner is either too fast, or you don’t have enough preppers. That’s why it sits there waiting for work.

How fast a scanner feeds paper doesn’t really tell the whole story. If we only looked at the scanner’s ability to quickly scan documents, we might surmise that a scanner twice as fast would be twice as beneficial. Makes sense, right? Not so fast! (Pun intended!)


And in the case of document scanning…the devil is document prep.

Simply put, document prep is looking over your paper documents and getting them ready to run through a scanner. Just Google “document prep tips” and you’ll find a plethora of instructional videos and PDFs touting the importance of proper document prep.

OPEX, a leading provider in prep-reducing scanners, identifies over 20 different types of prep activities that may occur while documents are being prepared for scanning. Prep includes the tedious process of removing staples and paperclips, taping torn documents, photocopying delicate or raggedy pages, securing small or odd shaped pages onto larger ones, unfolding and removing creases from pages, inserting document separators, figuring out how best to segregate file folders and boxes, etc. In addition to these, there are a number of other activities dedicated to making the paper easier to feed into a high speed scanner.

This time-consuming and monotonous process has been widely accepted as the cost of doing business.


So, let’s say you are looking at one of those high-priced 6000 DPH (documents per hour) scanners. It doesn’t really matter how fast it can scan; it matters how long that scanner operator has to wait for the work to be prepped.

It matters how many hours of front-end labor is required to feed the beast. We have found on average that a great prepper can prep a box of files and documents between 750 and 1000 docs per hour. Some preppers are better, some, well…not so much. Efficient document scanning operations, it should be noted, have squeezed as much time as they can out of the process by eliminating a second here, a couple seconds there. In a box of 2,500 to 3,000 documents, those seconds can really add up, and we applaud the effort.

But what if it were possible to cut out even more time from the prep process? What if you could prep and scan in half the time it takes you to prep? What if you could eliminate photocopying a torn document? What if you didn’t have to tape small documents to full page sheets? What if the file folder could be scanned with the resulting image including the important tab information from the folder? What if you could scan that wrinkled or creased document with no shadowing on the image? What if you could prep and scan in 2 hours 30 minutes that which you would typically spend 4 hours prepping?

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