The real cost of imaging: do-it yourself vs. outsourcing

Posted by TAB on

When you convert paper records to digital images, your organization becomes more efficient because everything gets faster, including the process of indexing, retrieving, storing, sharing and maintaining your records.

The question is, should you attempt to image everything yourself using existing resources, or is it more cost effective and efficient to partner with an imaging provider?

It’s not a simple calculation to perform—some document imaging costs aren’t obvious. But this blog post is designed to help you identify all the expenses associated with an in-house project, so you can accurately answer that question.

1.0 Determine the overall project requirements

Understanding the scope of your project and is key. Clarity about each of the following will enable you to create a cost framework for the project from start to finish. Determine:

  • The project duration
  • The number of staff required to do the job
  • The number of records to be scanned
  • The number of images to be scanned
  • The number of records to be scanned per month
  • The number of images to be scanned per month

2.0 Scanner investment

Scanners will be a significant part of your overall costs and those costs fall into two categories.

2.1 Equipment

Equipment will be a major part of your expenses. When determining this amount, think in terms of:

  • Your total hardware costs (i.e. how many and what type of scanners, bar code scanners, computers, carts, etc. will be required);
  • The cost to maintain that equipment;
  • Consumable costs (i.e. bar code sheets, ink, toner, etc.).

2.2 Labor costs

Imaging requires more than scanning documents. Factor in all these labor costs:

  • The actual manual scanning process;
  • Preparing the documents for imaging (i.e. pulling out staples, repairing damaged pages, affixing odd size pages to carrier sheets, etc.);
  • File reassembly and re-filing;
  • Data entry costs;
  • Applying multiple quality control steps.

3.0 Management costs

Any imaging project requires oversight that needs to be factored into your personnel costs. They include:

    • A project manager for conversion;
    • Various IT resources including database administration, development support, and project management;
    • A conversion supervisor.

4.0 Facilities and utilities costs

When taking on an in-house imaging project, it’s easy to overlook the hard facilities and utilities costs, but they must be part of your assessment. These are just some of the costs to factor in:

      • Price per square foot of dedicated project space;
      • Electrical and utilities usage;
      • Cabling and networking.

5.0 Miscellaneous costs

Big projects bring a range of miscellaneous costs. Plan for and add these to your cost estimates:

      • Additional hardware and consumables (PC’s, servers, network equipment, displays, furniture, etc.);
      • Labor costs on overtime and/or beyond the established project timeline;
      • HR costs associated with recruiting, managing, firing, promoting;
      • Inventory clerk and labor to print separator sheets;
      • Office consumables (tape, folders, copier costs, etc.);
      • Attrition costs from staff turnover;
      • Unemployment insurance costs;
      • Cost of living increases for longer projects;
      • Senior management/executive time on project.

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