Williams County Records Center (WCRC) is a government agency responsible for maintaining records for 26 county departments in Williams County, Ohio. For many years in Ohio, permanent records were required to be kept in paper or microfilm form. This regulation, combined with the dependency on government funding for technology refreshes, led WCRC to continue using microfilm until recently.
However, in 2006, Linda Scott, records center director at WCRC, received a disclosure statement along with the $2,300 yearly maintenance contract for the camera WCRC used in the microfilm process. "The disclosure stated that, although we were expected to pay the yearly fee, the camera company could no longer guarantee the availability of parts to repair or replace the camera," explains Scott. "At this point, we knew it was time for a technology upgrade." WCRC was also experiencing failures with the reader printers (used to read and print images from the microfilm) and had to have costly custom parts made for repairs. Further, WCRC was receiving an increasing number of requests for records in digital format, which was not possible with the microfilm system. When such a request was made, WCRC would print the desired record, retract necessary information, recopy the document, and send it out in the mail.
Increase Efficiency With Automated Scanning
The combined costs of the maintenance contracts, difficult repairs, and inefficiency of the manual record retrieval created the need to search for a new solution. WCRC sought the help of an ECM (enterprise content management) solutions provider, CASNET to assist in finding a solution. WCRC and CASNET decided to install five BÃ–WE BELL + HOWELL Truper 3200 scanners. The Truper 3200 offers rotary and flatbed functionality, has a 10,000-page daily duty cycle, and a 67-page-per-minute speed. "We chose the Truper 3200 because of its durability, speed, and also its VRS (Virtual ReScan) capability," says Scott. The BÃ–WE BELL + HOWELL-incorporated Kofax VRS allows automated scanning with auto rotation, blank page deletion, and auto color detect. Along with the Truper 3200 scanners, WCRC decided to install Hyland OnBase ECM software that provides document storage and retrieval and sharing across departments.
CASNET began installation of the solution in June 2006, and it has been continuous since. CASNET was on-site to install the Truper 3200 scanners and load the OnBase software, as well as train Scott and three department heads. Scott then held a training session at WCRC to train the other employees who would use the scanners. Scott found that although some users were hesitant about the new equipment at first, once they realized how it would streamline the record storage process, they were very accepting. Currently, the OnBase software is used on 60 computers throughout 11 of the 26 county departments. "We chose the OnBase software because of its ability to be customized to each department's specifications," says Scott. For instance, one department may look up records by name, while another retrieves by file number. A training class on the OnBase software is provided as each department begins using it.
Enable Cross-Department Image Sharing
Before, a WCRC employee would take a picture of a document for storage, retrieve a document from rolls of microfilm, and view or print it from a reader printer. Now, documents are scanned through the BÃ–WE BELL + HOWELL Truper 3200 scanners, and the images are sent to the OnBase software. From the OnBase software, images are easily shared between the departments using the solution. Scott assigns viewer rights for each department to determine what records it can access. Users from any of these 11 departments can log on to quickly view, print, or send documents.
Since implementation of the solution began, WCRC has enjoyed benefits other than the ease of sharing documents across departments. First, WCRC has improved the quality of its records. With microfilm, the consistency of the images could vary, but with the Truper 3200, all documents are scanned the same way and held to the same quality standards. WCRC is also able to respond to record requests five times faster than with its microfilm solution. "It used to take at least fifteen minutes to find the correct roll of film, print the document, retract any sensitive information, re-copy the document, address an envelope, and put it in the mail," notes Scott. "Now, in less than three minutes, we can retrieve an image and either print it out or send it via e-mail." In addition to the time and paper the new process saves, the ability to send documents via e-mail allows WCRC to accommodate the often preferred way of doing business today. WCRC plans to continue implementing the solution in additional county departments and is planning an upgrade to the OnBase software in 2009.