What are the risks of managing a scan project in-house?

Document Scanning
Last updated
April 1, 2024

Outsource your scan project to avoid a DIY disaster

Companies looking to do a scan project may consider keeping it in-house; however, we recommend outsourcing to our experienced, professional team.

Several years ago, “DIY Disaster” was a popular show on HGTV/DIY Network. It chronicled first-time renovators attempting to tackle their own home projects. Without any experience renovating or doing construction, these “regular Joes” attempted to turn a 1970s ranch into the open-concept home of their dreams. The 30 minute-episodes were full of drama and excitement – tears were shed, multiple trips to the hardware store were made, and there were even a few trips to the emergency room. At that beloved before and after reveal at the end, some projects were unfinished, others brought in professionals to finish – or correct – the job, and virtually every time, the project had gone way over budget – and that doesn’t account for the time put in by the homeowners themselves.

Similarly, many companies think that managing a large-scale scan project in-house is a cheaper option than outsourcing scanning. And on paper, that may seem like the case. After all, scanning is a labor-intensive, expensive process. Very rarely do we recommend the “just scan everything” approach that companies take, preferring instead an outsourced document management approach. While scanning seems like the simplest, most obvious solution, in reality, scanning everything will take more time, more money, and create a less efficient result. It sounds counterintuitive, but a document management approach that incorporates scanning strategically is typically a much better solution.

Below we detail five risks of managing a scan project in-house, or you can watch COO Christopher Jones explain more in this brief video.


Risk 1: You fail to address the root of the problem 

As much as we’d like to think otherwise, digital storage does not automatically mean less clutter. Oftentimes, scanning everything simply changes the clutter into a different format – in this case digital. Look no further than an iPhone photo library with 15,000+ photos for an example. This is why managing a scan project in-house is typically ineffective. Secure Records Solutions applies our scale and strategy to a multi-dimensional approach. We help our clients be strategic about what they scan, when they scan it, and when to destroy things that are no longer needed. We also create reporting tools to show progress on the project. For larger, more expensive projects, we can prioritize what needs to be scanned and digitize records over time to amortize the budget. For this reason, large, Fortunelisted companies throughout the United States take this approach with Secure Records Solutions to leverage their team across hundreds of locations.  

Risk 2: No incentives to Be efficient  

Scanning is a very manual task that requires handson management to ensure strategy, workflow, technology, and deliverables all line up to accomplish a pretty thin margin. The team at Secure Records Solutions has the scale to justify that – the average company that is conducting its first scanning project does not. To quote Dale Carnegie, “Learning is an active process. We learn by doing.” We have made a lot of expensive mistakes over the years, which has refined our processes, improved efficiency and reporting, and led to other investments that have improved our outcomes. And we are motivated by profit to be successful at it. When a company brings that process inside, they internalize those management headaches without the same motivation to meet a margin requirement. It could become a very long, expensive slog, without a P&L to guide the scanner. A company may never know how much money it wastes, but we’ve worked with several companies who have come to a stopping point five years down the road with no real progress to show.   

Risk 3: Managing a temporary staff member through a multi-year scanning project 

The reason it is risky for an organization conducting its first scanning project to do it internally is the type of worker who does the scanning can’t simply be turned loose with a goal. In the bestcase scenario, a company ends up with a turnstile of temporary staff to manage or a slower throughput rate than originally calculated. Worst case, the temporary staff do it wrong – scanning the wrong things, naming them wrong, quality issues with the images, or organization issues, such as where the digital images end up and how they are named. Who is going to manage this for the years it will take to work through, without the experience of knowing the pitfalls to avoid that come with conducting hundreds of projects before it? As we said before, we are not perfect and have made mistakes, but we have learned from those mistakes and refined our processes to become much more effective over time. And at SRS, we guarantee our work; meaning if it’s not what you want, we fix it and we cover the costs on our end, so you won’t pay for our mistakes.  

 Risk 4: Unable to quickly find and deliver files needed now 

If you hire someone to scan internally, he/she may make steady progress, but his ability to find and deliver any given document that is needed right now in a timely way is much less likely, especially if Risk # 1 has not be addressed. Typically, companies have a static storage system for hardcopy records, where everything has its own place. It is therefore susceptible to losing things, especially when many people are involved retrieving files over many years. Our system, on the other hand, is dynamic – we use barcodes to track each individual asset as it moves. We know where the file is at all times and can therefore find and deliver it to a client within 30 minutes using our “scan on demand” system.  

Risk 5: Fail to remove “the crutch” of hardcopy records onsite  

When we design a project to get our clients’ physical documents offsite as a part of the digitization process, it takes away the “crutch” their staff leans on instead of utilizing their system for creating and managing digital records, as management intended. Everything we deliver comes back in digital form, without the expense of scanning every image on day one. Once we remove a company’s hardcopy records, the staff has no excuse to produce and manage paper. Document Management software is an expensive investment. If hardcopy records remain onsite, it allows staff who don’t want to create and manage records digitally to continue leaning on paper, extending the conversion and putting the investment in software and implementation at risk. Straddling hardcopy and digital records in the same office space just doesn’t work – by removing them, the conversion typically is completed at a much faster rate.  

Just as it’s risky to tackle a DIY project at home, it’s perhaps even more risky to attempt a large-scale scan project for your company or business. Don’t end up with a second full-time job overseeing the scanning project when you can outsource it to seasoned professionals. Let us know if we can help you with our company’s scan project. Call Secure Records Solutions today.  


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