The humble copier that sits in a corner is actually a magic machine. In the hands of an able and trained conjurer, it can do so much more than simply duplicate a document. Unless you are using a copier from the early 80’s, it is likely to be a powerful imaging system. Nearly every copier on the market today, from inexpensive SO/HO inkjets to high volume duplicators have a wide range of capabilities. Combined with software most offices already own, such as Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office, etc., images can be manipulated, analyzed and stored in ways you might have only imagined.
In order to understand your copier’s abilities, you first need to know one important fact. A copier IS NOT a copier. Rather, it is a scanner combined with a printer. Each of these features can be used individually (eg. you can print a document or you scan something to email) or they can be used in conjunction (eg. you can make a hard copy of a document and also save a digital copy in your database).
You probably already know how to make a copy of a document. You may even know how to send a document to an email address. But, did you know that with software you probably already own, you can convert that document to searchable text? Or, that other software can redact your documents?
In fact, with a properly set up copier, you can largely eliminate much of the drudgery of both digital imaging and hard copy filing. Over fifteen years ago (I told you, this ain’t new technology), along with assistance from Xerox and my legal case management software publisher (JS Technologies), we built a very inexpensive system that added a bar code to every document we generated. When that document came back from the courts, our paralegals could simply scan the document and walk away. The software automatically placed the image of the document in a folder on our server, read the barcode (which contained detailed information about the document), and saved it to our database. Even better, the software allowed us to batch scan documents. Every time it saw a new barcode, it created a new file and saved it to the database. Finally, because a digital copy of most documents is acceptable, the hard copies were shredded.
So, we basically were able to eliminate most of our filing cabinets, dramatically (and I mean by better than 90%) reduce the number of hours spent filing hard copies or manually naming digital copies, and significantly improve document security (shredded documents tell no tales).
Again, this was FIFTEEN YEARS AGO and is only a small sample what your magic machine can do. So call your copier guy and tell him you want to be the sorcerer’s apprentice. Your magic wand is waiting.
Allen Friedman is the owner and CEO of Techaerus LLC, an office efficiency consulting firm. He is also a licensed attorney. Allen founded and managed one of the largest consumer collections law firms in the country and managed over 50 attorneys as well as hundreds of non-attorney staff. Prior to founding that firm, he opened and managed the New York and Michigan operations for the largest consumer collections firm in the United States. Throughout his career, Allen has always placed great emphasis on ensuring that investments in office technology provide the greatest possible returns. In order to achieve these returns, he focuses on three pillars of office management; asset management, training, and automation. His expertise includes document/image management, software and hardware integration, training, and process management and automation. Allen lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife Amy, his children Cassidy and Gideon, and two adorable dogs named Roxie (a labradoodle) and Bentley (an Old English Sheepdog).