HALVING SCANNING PROCESS TIMES AT WORCESTERSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL

Editorial Type: Case Study Date: 10-2020 Views: 896 Tags: Document, Capture, Workflow, Public sector, Hardware, Fujitsu, PFU, fi-7700, PaperStream PDF Version:
Philip Bouchier, Information Manager at Worcestershire County Council, explains how the Fujitsu fi-7700 scanner has fitted into the Council's Corporate Information Management Unit (CIMU)

Worcestershire County Council serves the county of Worcestershire, with a population of around 600,000. Worcestershire is one of the fastest growing local economies in the country; the county is truly 'Open for Business' with many renowned and successful companies, great education (with 9 out of every 10 schools rated good or outstanding) and improving transport links and digital connectivity (with over 90% superfast broadband coverage) to regional, national and global markets.

The Council supports some of the most vulnerable people in society, has responsibility for visible public services like maintaining roads and pavements, street lighting, household waste sites, libraries and country parks to name but a few. It currently oversees around £900m of public expenditure per year - which includes funding for schools and capital investment - and receive around 70% of residents' overall Council Tax bills. Around 60% of the net revenue budget is spent on social care services for vulnerable children and adults.

Philip Bouchier manages the Council's Records Management Team which is responsible for storing, retrieving, disclosing and disposing of over 40,000 boxes of physical records. The team fulfils requests for information held on paper documents on a daily basis, by first finding the physical document, and then scanning and emailing it.

A request for a particular file or topic could be made by any employee within Worcestershire County Council and this request would originate from a member of the public or from that employee. The request would be made via a request form or directly from FileTrack - the Physical Records Management System. Once the request is received, the team must retrieve the documents and disclose them within a two working day period, so speed is of the utmost importance.

The paper files are located and removed from storage and taken to the office area, where they are prepared for scanning by removing plastic wallets, staples or paper-clips from each document. These records are then systematically scanned in batches to ensure the quality and accuracy of scans.

Post-production automated scanning routines will then rotate the images, crop them or carry out any other necessary work to make the scans look their best, core to the scan process is creating the best scan first time to minimise any operator involvement pre, during and post the scan process.

The files are then renamed and the resulting PDFs are disclosed via email and uploaded onto FileTrack to allow future access to the file without needing to contact the Records Management Team.


"The fi-7700 scanner has delivered greatly improved results and speed of scanning of the typical social care, planning and legal files at the Council, whilst the PaperStream software has enabled quick post-production alterations to the images, reducing the length of time to scan each file by two or threefold."

HARD TO HANDLE
Previously the Corporate Information Management Unit had used dedicated scanners and multi-function devices (MFDs) to fulfil Subject Access Requests (SAR) and Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests. However, whilst the scanners worked well on clean, unmarked A3/A4 paper documents, a typical paper record might be creased, have varying paper thickness and quality, slowing down the scanning process and prompting the unit to look for a better solution.

The Council researched various options and tested out other scanner models and found the Fujitsu fi-7700 model to be a great fit for their requirements. The A3 capable fi-7700 is a heavy-duty production scanner for professional use, with a document feeder capacity of up to 300 sheets, and scanning at speeds of up to 100 pages per minute. What's more, different types of documents, such as thin paper, plastic cards, books, magazines, envelopes, and long page documents can easily be scanned, whilst the Paper Protect function stops paper jams by detecting anomalies (iSOP: Intelligent Sonic Paper Protection) and document length.

The fi-7700 comes bundled with PaperStream IP, an integrated scanner driver and image enhancement module that is built on TWAIN/ISIS standards offering user friendly operability, intuitive high quality image creation and real time processing that will benefit post scan routines like OCR. PaperStream Capture enhances the document capture process from adjusting scanning settings to performing batch scanning, verifying data and releasing to directories, repositories or subsequent process routines. Users can complete data capture tasks easily with the extremely user-friendly interface.

FACILITATING HOME-WORKING
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a scan-on-demand service was fast-tracked to meet the organisational requirements of employees working from home. The scanned paper files allowed colleagues to continue to work remotely, while ensuring the integrity of the record, and safety of the employee.

The fi-7700 scanner has delivered greatly improved results and speed of scanning of the typical social care, planning and legal files at the Council, whilst the PaperStream software has enabled quick post-production alterations to the images, reducing the length of time to scan each file by two or threefold. The team has been thrilled with the results and Bouchier concludes that they would be happy to recommend the scanner to other organisations.

More info:
www.fujitsu.com/uk/products/computing/peripheral/scanners/business/fi7700/