Is Your Copier Hiding Its Potential to Improve Efficiency?

October 29, 2021 | Kyle Kopp

Halloween is coming up this weekend and as children (and some adults) prepare to don their disguises in search of goodies around the neighborhood, it begs a question you've probably not asked about that copier sitting in your office: is it hiding something?  When you look it its paper drawers and job dispensers, is there more to to that white or gray box that it has been keeping a secret from you this entire time?

The short answer is "yes, yes there is".  But before you panic and call your IT tech to scan for nefarious intentions, let's be clear that it's not something that your copier is doing right now, but something that it is NOT doing which you should be wondering about.  While you have been using it to print reports and copy receipts, it's secret power - the one which very few people fully harness - is it's ability to capture information and help you store and manage it in the future.

Scanning as we know it has been around for over fifty years now.  It's been a part of the modern copy machine, or multi-function printer, for most of it's history as well, allowing for the device to capture the images you wish to duplicate.  But beyond the "copy" process, relatively few people have used this scanning function outside of occasionally creating e-mail attachments or storing a PDF on their computer desktop.  But that is about to change.

In the last several years the term Document Management Workflow has started to creep into conversation.  The idea being to not only capture and store a document, but to interact with the digital copy as well.  Processes and programs allow for the sharing of digitized documents, digital signing of electronic documents, automated process flows for filing and retrieving them, even the ability to destroy them once the time comes.  And where do all of these processes start?  With that plain old copier sitting in the corner.

Ok, so we've established that your copier is capable of more than you realized, but what exactly can Document Management Workflow do for an organization like yours?  How about Human Resources?  A product like DocuWare can automate the onboarding process of hiring.  New hires can complete their onboard documents, HR can scan them (using their copier) into an electronic file cabinet where they can be instantly reviewed and approved by the head office or distributed to the next party in the process.  What about something like Accounts Payable?  Capture technology and default automation can use the scanned data from an invoice to recognize specified fields such as invoice number, total amount due, purchase order number and remit to address to instantly name and file the document plus forward it on for approval.  Those recognized fields can then be easily searched at a later time for simple file retrieval and review.  You can even build in automated check creation to the approval feature; you're team stamps the invoice approved and your system automatically generates a check based on remit to, total amount and PO references.  All of these efforts can take week long processes down to hours if not minutes, saving your team valuable time to focus on other projects in their day - and those are just a few of the examples.  Custom workflows and individual processes can be built from the gourd up, to exactly what your company and your departments need.

Not quite ready for full blown automation?  There are still available programs out there, like Ricoh's RSI technology, that can capture and file the scanned data for you.  OCR capabilities can even turn a scanned document into an editable version for you to make changes to if needed, reverting your document to Word or Excel files.  You're no longer just storing a PDF copy of the document on your desktop, but an editable and workable version of it. No more white out or recreating it from scratch if a change is needed.  With the average cost of document recreation calculated at over $200 per document according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, those kind of savings can quickly be recognized by an organization with a simple, user friendly product like this, right from your copier.

And finally, to address the elephant in the room. ... managing remote employees.  2020 and 2021 have shown that remote working isn't a fade or experiment, but a serious evolution of the working arraignment.  Recent surveys indicate upwards of 65% of employees would take a pay cut to remain remote, even after the COVID pandemic subsides.  Additionally it was calculated that over 9 billion commuting hours were eliminated over a single 6 month period in late 2020 meaning that not only is this arraignment desirable for employees, but the productivity improvements and saved hours make it a win for the organization as well.  And while Document Management Workflow has been in the discussion for a few years now, this change in reality has made it a topic of immediate concern.  Companies are no longer in front of the curve with DMW, but behind the 8-ball.  

Now that you have full time or part time workers on your team work from home, how do you share a document with them so that they can interact beyond simply reading?  How do you share a file cabinet?  How do you streamline efficiency among your team?  And how do you get that going quickly?  Look no further than that copier you have still sitting their in your office, and talk to one of our Account Executives about how you can make it your Document Management Workflow champion.

Request a Process Assessment today!