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How Quality Control Can Make or Break Your Scanning Project

Scanning documents seems like a straightforward task. Who would ever think that it would require more than just simply scanning and saving? But history has shown that poorly-scanned documents have led to major problems and issues, and many are irreversible. That’s why quality control (QC) should be part of the whole project scanning process, from start to finish.

QC is vital to the success of any scanning project. Without quality checks along the way, the final scanned images may not be usable. QC checks must be done during or immediately following the scanning process, while the original source documents are still available should they need rescanning.

What elements affect scanning quality?

  • Size: Producing a scan to match your digital needs is important so you avoid having files that are so large they use up valuable space unnecessarily but are large enough to fulfill the requirements for its desired use. Professional scanning technicians understand how PPI (Pixels Per Inch) settings affect the size and quality of a scan and the right settings for your required purpose. In some cases, a black and white scan of a colored document may all be that is necessary. If your scanning job requires large quantities of documents, the incorrect PPI can be significant to the required storage.
  • Quality: A professional-quality scanner is important to get the best quality image of your original documents or images. A poor-quality scan could result in unusable images and text for its future required purpose. Poor quality or low resolution can never be improved, and if the original no longer exists or is damaged or becomes deteriorated after scanning, you could have a major problem.
  • Quantity: Although it may seem obvious, it is important that the number of documents scanned is equal to the number of scans produced. Missing a scan will result in an incomplete project. If the original documents are retained, it is vital that all scanned documents are accounted for. Missing physical documents could pose a compliance risk.

What does quality control check for?

  • Image size relative to original
  • Adequate brightness
  • Correct color, which can be vital, particularly when scanning photographs
  • Image skew/alignment
  • Document orientation—whether the document was scanned according to its existing portrait or landscape format
  • “Speckle” or “noise” in the background, which can indicate a dirty or poor-quality scanner
  • Legibility of small characters
  • Proper borders cropping
  • Missing portions of images, such as the edge in a case of extreme image skew

The Value of Outsourcing Scanning

  • Equipment: Professional scanning equipment is expensive. When you outsource to a professional scanning company, you benefit from the best equipment without the massive overhead expense of owning, repairing, and replacing it.
  • Staff: Scanning companies have professional, trained scanning technicians who can provide the best outcome of your scanning needs. Regardless of the equipment you have in-house, with no one trained to use it, poor-quality scans will likely be the outcome.
  • Storage: Look for a full-service records and information management company that can not only scan your documents, but also store them safely and securely in their records center and make them available to your 24/7/365 via courier delivery or Scan on Demand.
  • Cost: In the long run, a poorly-scanned document could cost you far more than any money you think you are saving by scanning documents in house. In addition to the cost of scanning equipment, the cost of designating staff time to the task can cost more than outsourcing.

What to Look for in a Scanning Company

While the actual process of scanning is important, your overall evaluation of a company involves reviewing their process and chain of custody from the moment your documents are received to the final delivery of the digital images and the return of your physical documents. Be sure you are satisfied that your documents will be safe in their hands and scanned accurately to your specifications.

Records Management Center provides a full suite of records and information management services, including our state-of-the-art scanning services, to clients in Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, Aiken, SC, and the Central Savannah River Areas. Call us at 706-724-7982 or complete the form on this page to let us know how we can help you with your next scanning job.