At SoftFile, we can not advocate enough that the document conversion customer should first tour the potential vendor's facility long before the contract is awarded. Let us delve into the various reasons why this is so.
First, there are essentially two types of document conversion service providers out there and they are in separate leagues. The problem is, the customer often does not know which they are talking to. The leagues are;
- Legal copy services
- Professional document conversion service bureau
Both websites from the various companies may lead the customer to believe they are dealing with a large and reputable organization. Which unfortunately, is not always so.
Legal copy service providers are often small companies that provide attorney-type services. For example, when two parties are in a lawsuit, they will call a legal copy service to go in and scan each others records. This is sometimes referred to as 'document discover,' or the like. Typically, the service is provided for on-site and is of a very small volume (e.g. the scanning of a medical record).
Often times, this legal copy service provider (which very often consists of one employee) will respond to a large volume document conversion bid which has been posted online. The problem with this scenario is that the legal copy service provider typically does not have the resources (e.g. manpower) required to fulfill the contract requirements. This problem is not typically discovered until after the award has been issued and the workflow begins to slow. Even if the contract is subsequently canceled, they typically don't care because at least they have generated some revenue that they otherwise would not have.
For your large volume paper to electronic document conversion project, you want to utilize what the document management industry refers to as, a document conversion service bureau.
Often times, the only way for the customer to know which of the two they are dealing with is through a facility tour. The following is what you want to look for at a facility tour;
- First, did the vendor ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement? After all, during the tour, you may see confidential documentation.
- Did you see evidence of other large volume projects undergoing document conversion?
- Did you see a considerable amount of the vendor's employees doing manual data entry? If not, why not? This would be a red-flag that this same company would ship your digital images offshore for data entry.
- Did you see closed-circuit cameras monitoring all of the the entrance and exit pathways?