Following are four costs your customers can cut with document imaging solutions:
Being able to utilize document imaging to reduce courier costs is a slam dunk. Typical costs to overnight a letter from a branch to a centralized location are $15 to $20. A distributed document imaging system can eliminate that cost entirely. This is a common solution utilized by financial services organizations like banks, where the transactional value of documents makes expediting their processing paramount. Another less obvious place to look for savings is by eliminating the “sneakernet”: essentially, people running paper documents around an office. An imaging application should free up those people to focus on other tasks.
Reduced data entry:
The application of optical character recognition (OCR) technology to forms—structured (tax, claims, surveys, etc.) or semi-structured (invoices, EOBs)—can be used to greatly reduce key entry. Of course, these forms need to be converted to images before OCR can be applied. It’s important to remember when working with OCR that it is designed to reduce data entry, not eliminate it. The market has been hurt in the past by vendors and integrators that have overpromised results and/or end users who heard what they wanted to hear. As a cost-reduction application, forms processing (automated data capture) can create a huge cost savings. It often enables organizations to cut the manpower devoted to data entry at least in half.
Estimates as to how much time knowledge workers spend looking for documents vary, but let’s just say that finding an electronic document in a well-organized imaging system is going to be more efficient than searching through a file cabinet. That’s not even accounting for lost documents, which people like to say can cost an organization around $120 each. The bottom line is that it should be much faster to locate imaged documents than paper ones, which should result in some labor savings—not to mention faster execution of processes, which has side benefits like improved customer service.
Reduced paper costs:
File cabinets cost money, and the space they take up costs money. A business could store its documents off site with a records storage specialist, but that also costs money. Of course, costs are going to vary depending on property values and how often documents need to be retrieved, but PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that, on average, a company spends $25,000 a year to fill one file cabinet and $2,100 to maintain it. In most cases, it’s probably less expensive to scan paper, index it, and store it electronically. Imaging should also help reduce the cost of copying documents, as a single image can be accessed by multiple users electronically.
These are four obvious areas in which to look for savings at your customer sites. There may be additional savings you can find that are specific to an application or industry. If you are working with an accounts payable department, for example, faster invoice processing may enable the department to take advantage of more early-pay discounts. In a government application, imaging may help your customer better meet Freedom of Information Act demands. Remember: When looking for imaging opportunities, always keep your eyes open for the most paper-intensive areas in an organization and then start figuring out ways that digitizing that paper will help your customers cut costs. The result should be increased imaging sales for you.