Imaging bureau provides the solution for Blackwoods

Imaging bureau provides the solution for Blackwoods

Faced with the problem of paperwork far exceeding inhouse image capture capabilities, an industrial supplier looked outside.

Blackwoods, a supplier of industrial products operating across Australia and New Zealand, installed a Tower Technology imaging system in 1997 to assist initially with Accounts Payable and Proof of Delivery documentation and later to progressively integrate other facets of the company's operation. However, with rising sales and increased paperwork as a result, Blackwoods' image capture capabilities could not keep up.

Sydney service bureau, The Imaging Centre was called in to assist. Its role was to collect the documents, and return these documents fully imaged and indexed onto a CD-ROM for importing into Blackwoods' Tower system.

The imaging operation involved several tasks. Preparation of any documents to be imaged is nearly always necessary. However, as Blackwoods has its own internal capture program, most of the files were already prepared by Blackwoods' staff. Scanning was carried out on Imagelink scanners at 200dpi, featuring an exclusive Adaptive Threshold Program (ATP). These units are capable of dynamically altering scanner settings to cater for the differences in various document types. Indexing was performed during the scanning phase due to the simplicity of the system design.

George Norton, IT project manager at Blackwoods, said the system was designed with the image capture program in mind and therefore steps were taken to minimise any possible duplication in the process.

He said this resulted in the need to key only the batch number at the commencement of each new stack of documents. The batch number then acts as part of the sales and accounting transaction processing.

CDs were used simply as a convenient media for the transfer of files and then retained as a backup, rather than used as the medium of long term storage. This was for no other reason than the existing system uses an optical HP jukebox as the established database for images.

Importing to the Tower system involved downloading both the images in tiff format and the index database which in this case was written in a text format. Each CD contained some 15,000 documents.

By contracting a bureau to alleviate the temporary build-up of items to be scanned, Blackwoods was able to review its scanning requirements and upgrade to a scanner with larger capabilities. With this completed, Blackwoods can now set about implementing the next phase of the system, integrating a COLD facility.

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