How do I choose a document management scanner?

by Web Admin

There are a wide range of document scanners available on the market, ranging from as little as £ 200, and you could even find a basic desk top model scanner that can be under £ 100! At the other end of the spectrum you could pay £70k plus for a production Kodak scanner!

However, the principal in selecting a document scanner is not price, but it’s suitability for the job you want it to perform. This will be determined by a series of issues:

What are the volumes to be scanned, by day, week?
What SLA’s are applicable?
What sizes of paperwork are involved?
What is the nature of the paper material ?
Is the requirement for a centralised scanner facility or distributed departmental scanning, or even ‘one per desk’?

As with other mechanical devices the old adage of ‘size matters’ is true in this case! The more volume it has to handle, the heavier duty your selection will need to be. And what you should look at is a 3-5 year projection of your volumes so that you make the right choice to start with. And you’ll need the right EDM software solution to marry up with the scanner.

Realistically, if you are looking for a departmental or central scanner that has to handle  a mixed set of paperwork (sizes and types of paperwork) then your selection should be capable of scanning up to A3 in size (bear in mind you don’t control what comes in the post). It should also have both an ADF (automatic document feeder) and a flatbed. An ADF is fine for good quality paperwork, but a flatbed allows you cater for odd formats and documents that are likely to jam an ADF (e.g. torn or items that have been handled)
Scanners in this category will range from around £3-6k, and may in some circumstances require an additional imaging card to drive the scanner at full performance.
If paperwork is only A4 or less than expenditure will be less.

Panasonic 7065
A3 scanner with ADF / flatbed 

Panasonic 905
High speed A3 scanner with hydraulic lift

Virtually all modern scanners will handle colour and B&W and greyscale formats, though the overhead in storage terms for colour is much higher than B&W (up to 30 times) so most applications would use colour selectively.

Scanner selection will also depend on how you distribute information. For example if you decide to scan at post room level, then your choice will be towards the top end of the range, and again dependant on volume, may require multiple machines to meet internal SLA’s. At the other end if post gets all the way to individuals and it’s their responsibility to get it into an EDM solution then a small desk scanner may suffice.

The other issue to consider is the possible use of MFD’s (Multi functional devices), which many organisations already have in place. These are copier / scanners and whilst they don’t have the functionality of an EDM scanner they may well be adequate for at least some of the scanning requirement.

The important thing to remember is that if you are looking at having to scan information, don’t make the mistake of under specifying – a scanner is the entry device and if this is not up to the job, it could seriously jeopardise the project.

IPC have 15 years of experience in advising and supplying customers with EDM hardware and software – indeed using our current version of mstore, the need for scanning is much reduced as everything you produce and receive electronically is filed direct into mstore. Contact us today to get an full evaluation of what EDM software and hardware are suitable for your organisation.

For more information contact us on 08081 45 46 47.

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