Magazine Article | November 20, 2006

Add Bar Code Recognition To Document Imaging

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

Image enhancement improved Brooke Corp.’s document management efficiency from weeks to days.

Integrated Solutions, December 2006

It can’t be denied that scanning documents and indexing electronic images can streamline an operation. However, if you’re relying on manual indexing and getting scans with poor image quality, you’re not taking advantage of your document management investment. That is what Brooke Franchise Corp. found.

Brooke Franchise is a subsidiary of Brooke Corp. and supports insurance agency ownership through franchising with 700 total franchises located in 29 states. Brooke Franchise uses a proprietary document management program, Brooke Management System, to handle its electronic documents, most of which are input and indexed in Brooke Franchise’s processing center in its campus in Phillipsburg, KS.

Franchisees typically fax a copy of all customer applications and other customer correspondence to the processing center. Franchisees create an indexing sheet through the Brooke Management System for use at the processing center, as well as at the Brooke agency level. The indexing sheet contains a Code 39 bar code with embedded special characters so it can be distinguished from other bar codes that may appear on documents. Faxes are received at the processing center through a bank of 24 dedicated fax lines that are available 24/7. Processing center employees scan the bar codes on the faxed documents to ascertain how the documents should be indexed. Additionally, the processing center receives all correspondence from insurance companies, which is sorted and scanned into the system on Fujitsu fi-5650C scanners. All of the correspondence adds up to the processing center handling nearly 30,000 electronic images per day.


Once the documents are scanned into the Brooke Management System, the images are manually indexed and corrected, then uploaded to the Web-based version of the document management system for franchisees. This manual process could not sustain company growth. Additionally, the time it took to manually process all of the images was too long. “It could take as long as two or three weeks before document images were uploaded for viewing on the Brooke Management System,” says Max Dibble, corporate IT manager for Brooke Corp.

To address this problem, Brooke Corp. implemented an image processing application, the iRondo Imaging Station from Inlite Research, which specializes in bar code recognition.

The iRondo Imaging Station reads the bar code, which indicates where the document should be stored in the system. “The imaging program has had a 99.9% read accuracy rate with all of Brooke’s scanned documents,” says Dibble. “We also use the iRondo Imaging Station program to process pages that are faxed to the processing center from our Brooke Insurance agents. The success rate for the bar code reading on faxed pages is about 95%.” Dibble attributes the 5% that cannot be read to issues with the sending fax machine having scratches or dirt on its lenses, which distorts the bar code area of the fax.

With the use of the imaging program within the Brooke Management System, Brooke Franchise’s scanned and faxed documents are available for viewing approximately seven minutes after they are faxed or scanned. Brooke Franchise’s document processing staff initially reduced by five employees after the iRondo Imaging Station was implemented. The staff has remained relatively stable as the company went from receiving only 30,000 pages of faxed and scanned documents per day to the 100,000 pages Brooke Corp. is now receiving, 60,000 of which are scanned documents.