After deciding to outsource your document scanning, what is the best way to get your documents to the scanning facility? Packing your documents into storage boxes seems simple enough, but doing it right can avoid additional handling charges upon arrival and help ensure your documents will be processed quickly and efficiently. The four steps below represent best practices for packing your documents properly.
1. Organizing by Project
If multiple departments will be scanning documents, organize your boxes by projects. For example, you may have your accounts payable documents, accounts receivable documents and your human resource documents being scanned. Organize them by project so that AP documents are packed together, stay together and are scanned together. Do the same with the AR and HR documents so they are handled in the same manner.
2. Packing Properly
Following these simple packing guidelines will ensure your boxes and documents are received intact for expedited scanning:
- Make sure your boxes are sturdy enough for shipping. Avoid using old boxes or anything that looks flimsy, damaged by water, exceptionally dirty, etc.
- Optimal shipping boxes are standard “bankers” boxes that are approximately 15”x12”x11.” A good document scanning company can provide you with shipping boxes if necessary.
- Make sure your boxes do not weigh more than 20-25 pounds each. The boxes should be full enough so that the papers do not move around within the box, but not so full that the box is too heavy and breaks.
- When placing standard size documents in a box, make sure to put them in facing sideways so that they can easily be pulled out for scanning.
- Leave approximately two inches of space from the side of the box so that the documents can be easily unpacked.
- Each document storage box should be packed neatly and have only one layer of files. If the box is not full, you should provide a spacer in the box to prevent records from moving in transport. Materials that can be used as a spacer include bubble wrap or crumpled newspaper.
- If your files are low in height (time cards, receipts or other small documents), place a spacer on top of the files to prevent vertical movement during transport.
- Documents coming from a file drawer will most likely stay in the order in which they were found in the drawer.
Extra document prepping charges can be incurred if your boxes arrive in an unorganized fashion or if your documents have fallen out of order during shipping. If papers are packed loosely and move around inside a box, the document scanning company will need to spend extra time putting the documents in order for prepping and scanning, which can result in additional costs.
3. Labeling Consistently
Boxes should be labeled in a complete and consistent manner. Labels should be placed on the box itself in the same location for quick and easy identification, ideally on the front. Labeling the lid can be problematic as lids can find their way onto the wrong boxes. Your document scanning company can provide you with blank labels.
You’ll want to mark each box with at least the following information:
- Your Company Name
- Project Name
- Box Number
- Transmittal Information (only on relevant box)
4. Securing for Transport
Once organized, packed and labeled, you’ll want to tape your boxes securely for transport. If the box tops are not attached to the box, tape them to the box with shipping tape. Tape the bottom of your boxes for added support. Your box may be moved a number of times during transport, so sealing them with shipping tape keeps your boxes intact so they arrive the way they were packed at the document scanning facility.
Best Practices Prevent Extra Charges
Your documents are the lifeblood of your company, so you’ll want to treat them with the appropriate care and attention to detail when packing them for scanning. If you follow the best practices listed above, your documents will arrive safe and sound, and be put into production quickly without incurring unforeseen charges for extra handling.