Based on this upgrade project, Crimson will now offer transactional scanning services to customers where turnaround time and accuracy is critical. This includes processing invoices, building planning applications and digitisation of proof of delivery documentation.
Crimson has purchased Kodak Alaris’ flagship production scanner – the i5800 – plus dual stacker accessory, along with Capture Pro Network Edition imaging software for its main scanning centre in Leigh, Lancashire. It has also bought two Kodak i3400 scanners and connected A3 flatbeds for use on onsite scanning projects. In addition, Crimson has upgraded its production and DR servers and installed a 10 gigabit Ethernet network to improve data throughput between the i5800 and its associated servers. The total IT investment to support this business transition totals £120,000.
Alastair Galbraith, Crimson’s managing director, says, “The investment in the top of the range Kodak i5800 is allowing us to not only capture images at 300 dpi without any system slow down - key for SLA work we’re bidding for where quality counts - but we’re changing how we organise and run our bureau from a personnel perspective to improve efficiency and service capability.”
Scanner speed used to be a constraining factor in the business. This has been solved by using the Kodak i5800. Galbraith explains, “The transformation has been stunning such that we’ve extended our opening times and implementing a shift system which means 10,000 extra scans per day – that’s a 20% uplift on mixed document types compared to what we were doing before.”
Originally founded in 1977 as a microfilm company, Crimson was created through the merger of two companies in 2009 to become a scanning firm offering a range of capture services: paper, microfilm and heritage (book scanning). With annual sales today of around £1.5 million, Crimson employs 40 staff in England and Scotland and processes around 2 million pages per month for a range of public and private sector clients including foodservice wholesale provider, Bidvest 3663, and a dozen local authorities.
With all imaging features enabled, the Kodak i5800 Scanner is capable of processing up to 210 pages per minute – the fastest offered by Kodak Alaris - without any daily volume limitations. It comes with a height adjustable pedestal to make it comfortable for every operator and is packed with imaging features to guarantee scan quality, improve productivity and avoid misfeeds which slow the bureau operation down.
Crimson benchmarked the Kodak scanners and software against solutions from two other vendors but ultimately chose Kodak Alaris given it has used its products for the past 15 years and felt the migration path for staff was that much easier.
The i5800 consolidates equipment in use and how the bureau staff work
Historically Crimson had around 10 Kodak scanners of different ages and performance classes some of which were approaching end of life. This created operational inefficiencies given a range of imaging software and configurations were used per PC and each scanner type worked slightly differently, too. This meant that staff training was an issue if operators had to change from one machine to another depending on customer workload demands.
Galbraith says, “If some-one was ill or on holiday, it would be tough to keep all 10 scanners working. The Kodak i5800 has allowed us to consolidate our equipment and provided us with the resilience we need as a service provider as well. Just three scanners are now in use with the oldest - a Kodak i4600 – purchased a couple of years ago.”
Staff resourcing has changed as a result. Previously the challenge was always finding skilled operators to manage the machines. However, as the i5800 can cope which such a large workload, Crimson is no longer dependent on them – the effort is made on employing ‘preparation’ staff to feed the machine and then do quality assurance. This has reduced risks to the business commercially.
Using Kodak Capture Pro Network Edition has also standardised the capture software within the firm. With no click charges, and a simple licence process allowing the load balancing between scanners or locations depending on client workload demands, Capture Pro Network Edition comes with helpful features like comprehensive indexing and auto import to speed up document processing. With the investment in new network access, staff at either of Crimson’s offices can also login to access batches and process jobs for customers as necessary.
Dual stacker accessory saves Crimson money by allowing the easy re-use of patch sheets
The purchase of the dual stacker accessory is also a key benefit. It allows Crimson to sort and reuse patch code separator sheets which saves money and is environmentally friendly. The business used to purchase 25,000 sheets every other month and therefore estimates a ROI on the stacker accessory within 12 months. Galbraith adds, “Auditing is enhanced. If you don‘t take out the sheets, paperwork won’t fit back into clients’ boxes which means extras are returned which then raises queries about why there is a mismatch.”
Neil Murphy, Kodak Alaris’ UK sales manager says, “The deployment of Kodak Alaris’ scanners and software gives Crimson the confidence that its business as usual digitisation projects will be delivered on time, every time. Image accuracy is second to none and scanning response times have been boosted which allows the Crimson management team to focus on the bigger picture rather the day-to-day – namely new business development and streamlining processes even more to grow the organisation further.”
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