Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Distributed Scanning in HR

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Distributed scanning solutions can provide big benefits for human resources (HR) departments. Marketing consultant Shannon Lappin explains:

In most organizations, the average human resources (HR) professional can expect to oversee the benefits, payroll and training for more than 100 employees. At CTB, an Indiana-based designer, manufacturer and marketer of systems and solutions for the poultry, pig, egg production and grain industries, a team of five staff members oversees more than 800 employees in five locations across the United States.

Confronted with multiple forms for processing benefit enrollments, tax and retirement, CTB’s HR professionals faced an ongoing challenge of managing thousands of paper documents each year.

For more than nine years, the CTB HR department used a Laserfiche document management system and a centralized scanning model to digitize a multitude of employee records, both past and current. The Laserfiche document management system allows authorized employees to easily locate and retrieve stored content with the click of a mouse.

Like many large- to mid-sized organizations CTB enjoyed the high level of reliability, flexibility and ease-of-use of their Laserfiche document management system. However, it became necessary for the department to become more efficient with the growing paper load. The HR group needed to rethink the process in which document capture was performed.

The CTB team decided that the only way to stay current with day-forward scanning would be to transition to a distributed scanning model that would allocate the scanning amongst the HR department personnel. But while the distributed load would solve certain problems, the original centralized document scanning method required repetitive document indexing, naming, and routing that would be difficult to train and implement to a larger group of users. In addition, users still needed to manually populate metadata fields in Laserfiche. This repeated manual entry of information was also a very inefficient and time-consuming process.

Distributed capture has numerous benefits for large-and-mid-sized organizations like CTB, including:

• Cost effectiveness
• Ergonomic design
• Minimal desktop usage
• Abilities for multiple users to capture and route files

CTB worked with Laserfiche reseller and professional development partner (PDP) BOLT Document Management to implement a new distributed capture solution for their system. The solution features KODAK ScanMate i1120 Scanners, Kodak’s Smart Touch Technology feature, and BOLT Bridge Connector Software, which connects the capture platform directly into Laserfiche. Kodak’s Smart Touch Technology enables users to simplify and expedite the scanning process into common business applications like Laserfiche with the touch of a single button.

Using the BOLT Bridge Software with Kodak’s technology enabled CTB to establish a distributed capture process where users could define and store document ‘profiles’ for commonly scanned documents. The profiles helped the HR team create a set of specific attributes including document naming, routing, indexing and even virtual sticky notes. In more advanced mode settings, users even had the ability to input document specific information on-the-fly while scanning.

As a result, CTB’s HR team has increased productivity and improved their document management efficiency. Each staff member in the HR group can now digitize and convert critical, paper-based employee records into the Laserfiche system and the task no longer falls on one team member alone. The CTB HR team now describes their Kodak SmartTouch / BOLT Bridge scanning solution as their “Speed Dial for Laserfiche.”

In HR management, it’s critical to index every piece of information quickly and accurately into a document management system. Multiple forms with unique pieces of information need to remain current, relevant and accurate, particularly when other departments like payroll and accounting call for fast, accurate retrieval of employee information for regulatory compliance and auditing requests. The use of simple, scalable and standardized distributed capture solutions helps HR departments keep their information up-to-date, at faster speeds and in less time. Through these solutions, companies can remain more compliant, transparent and have greater accountability as a business overall, even in the face of outside change.

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