Posted on January 22, 2019 by Jill Delaney
If you are like many other dealerships you have storage rooms and filling cabinets filled with years of paperwork. You rely heavily on paper records. Your physical documentation may be stored in your service bays, accounting office or in an off-site storage facility. Today, dealerships can operate more efficiently when employees have customer information electronically at their fingertips.
To Backscan or Not
When you have made the decision to start electronic document management, you will then need to decide which documents you will be scanning and when you will start scanning. Back scanning can be a very sizeable task for one or two employees to handle and may take months. However, some dealerships have scanned thousands of documents daily, so it is possible to back scan months of documents quickly.
Here are a few helpful considerations when deciding to back scan or start scanning future documents. Ask your service and accounting teams these key questions:
- Would having online access to historic records help you do your job better?
- Which documents do you retrieve most frequently?
- Will online document retrieval help you make more money?
After having internal conversations regarding the most frequently used documents, evaluate if there is a cost benefit of keeping the old documents versus the time spent scanning and destroying the documents. If your dealership accesses documents so infrequently that the time to back scan is greater than the time it will save employees, then there may not be a need to back scan that particular document type.
Select a Date to Start From
You may wish to scan all the files within the last six months, year or any amount of time that works for you. After having internal conversations with each department, set a specific time frame that makes the most sense for your dealership from which to back scan. We recommend scanning the files your team searches for most often.
Once you have selected the date, choose the order in which the documents will be scanned. Some dealerships scan files alphabetically, others by month and some by document type. Do what works best for your dealership and processes.
Determine Staff to Handle Document Back Scanning Process
You will need to determine whether you will do the back scanning internally or outsource this to a temporary agency or employee.
- Utilize existing staff. If you have employees who have down time like a receptionist or cashier, their time could be reallocated to perform document preparation tasks.
- Hire a temporary staff member. If back scanning in the summer, you could have a high school or college student looking for summer employment assist. You may also want to ask your employees if they have any relatives that may be interested in the position. This generally will require some training and supervision as well as an additional cost.
Pre-Scanning Process: Document Preparation
Before scanning all of your documents, it is more efficient to have someone do the document preparation. Document preparation can be very time consuming but is critical for successful, faster scans. Assign a person to perform the document preparation including removing the staples, paper/binder clips, unfolding page corners, taping tears and/or small pages to the back of pages and adding in separator pages between documents.
The length of time it takes to scan documents varies by dealership size, number of files, and employee availability to scan. It is important to determine goals for each scanning employee. Decide how many employees you will have to dedicate to the project and how many hours a day they can back scan. Whether it is an hour a day or full time until completion, determine a plan and realistic, obtainable goals.
Establish a Post-Scan Document Policy
Back scanning presents dealerships with the opportunity to clean old filing cabinets and storage spaces and even consolidate space being used for dated documentation. Make sure to understand the document retention requirements mandated by your manufacturers/franchises, federal and state law first. This will help you determine if you are able to shred your files after scanning. It is also good practice to spot check scans for document file name accuracy and retain them for a short period of time. For example, set a procedure that documents can be discarded two weeks from scan date.
If you would like to start the document scanning process, schedule a free demo now.