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Published by Woods Group

When a scan is more than just a scan.

The scanning process is acknowledged as an integral part of a robust and efficient response handling process. Modern high speed scanning machinery makes light work of handling thousands of paper forms and creating a digital image archive from them. These images can then be efficiently stored for retrieval at will. They can also be routed to workstations for operators to data capture information from the images in order to create or append to a database.

This “capture from image” process certainly cuts down on the physical movement of paper and makes for a more efficient and robust workflow overall.

At Woods we have developed a better way, however. Through the application of specially developed optical recognition software we capture approximately 70% of the all our data at the point if scanning. We work with our response handling clients to optimise their response devices in order to maximise the efficiency of this process. We find this approach delivers a number of benefits over the more common capture from image process:

Speed of data capture is vastly improved.

  • Barcoding of response devices enables the scanner to identify the supporter from the mailing database thus preserving the original name and address information. This means even cold responses, if barcoded, can be processed as if they were a warm response.
  • This approach transforms what is otherwise a manual operation into one which can capture information from many thousands of forms per hour.
  • It enables us to handle peaks of activity easily and effectively without having to worry about the important data capture function becoming backlogged.
  • It has enabled us to significantly increase our capacity and output of work per employee and per square foot of production space.

Quality of captured data is vastly improved.

  • By being able to carefully control the scanner’s “certainty of recognition” we have been able to improve the quality of the data we capture over an equivalent manual capture approach.
  • The scanner checks its own work! During the scan and capture process the scanner reconciles values on response slips against the values on the corresponding cheque. If they don’t match the scanner diverts the transaction for a visual validation by a skilled operator.
  • The visual validation process is a guided process. Our software helpfully highlights the areas of query for a quick manual resolution.

And the upshot of this improved speed and improved quality? A better value proposition for our response handling clients. Faster throughput means a lower cost, but without any sacrifice in terms of data integrity and quality.

And as an added benefit this approach enables us to offer a 100% Gift Aid audit as a valuable extra service. It enables us to easily view all the documents related to a positive Gift Aid flag. An experienced operator then visually checks all documents against HMRC Gift Aid criteria. Gift Aid flags are then categorised as valid or invalid based on those criteria. This gives our clients the ultimate confidence in the Gift Aid information they are receiving and makes for issue free subsequent Gift Aid claims.

If you would like to know more about how our scanning approach can benefit your charity then please get in touch.

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