Barcode Recognition and Imaging Solutions:
Scan Paper Documents, Search and Locate Them

A barcode represents numbers or letters in a machine-readable format that can be decoded, recorded and processed by a computer system when read by a barcode scanner. Barcodes are related to specific objects such as trade items or documents, and can automatically identify them.

Barcodes have become a regular element of modern civilization, enthusiastically adopted by millions of stores all over the world. This use case gives examples of how barcodes can help you improve document management and records management.

Here are just some of barcode scenarios supported by the Conterra ECM system.

  • rapid matching of paper documents and electronic documents;
  • easy document location;
  • efficient search for data in an ERP system;
  • solutions for bulk document imaging.

Rapid Matching of Paper Documents and Electronic Documents Using Barcodes

Most organizations use both paper and electronic documents. Electronic documents allow users to track the complete history of their creation, modification and approval; while paper documents are signed physically. When a manager receives a paper document, they may need to see the whole history and the results of the approval process. If the search for the related electronic document is not optimized, this routine operation may take too much time.

The Conterra Rapid Document Identification (RapID) technology allows users to easily find electronic documents with their paper copies, thus ensuring against work duplication. According to the RapID technology, every paper document is marked by a unique barcode that is related to its electronic version. A manager scans a paper document to read the barcode, and the system automatically finds the required electronic document and the related tasks.

Conterra RapID allows you to:

  • reduce document search time: with unique barcodes, electronic documents can be found in a snap;
  • eliminate the risks of mismatching documents and associated possible problems: a barcode identifies the exact electronic document related to the scanned paper document (and vice versa);
  • reduce the number of operations to match paper and electronic documents for both secretaries and managers.

Locating Documents Using Barcodes

Large multi-branch organizations and holdings that unite independent producers under the same brand name are characterized by some specific document management features. Such companies have many shipping points, and also many points where documents are printed and stored. Paper document scanning help deal with this situation to some extent; but it is not enough to organize effective document management. Electronic document images often do not locate the related paper originals that are regularly required for various verifications and claims.

The solution lies in using barcodes. Every document is supplied with a unique barcode that contains information on the document, such as its type, the shipment point, the number of document set, and the storage code (the document location in a paper document archive). Scanning paper documents and reading the barcode, an archive specialist can now get this information and correctly identify the storage location for the document.

Invoices are often accompanied by handwritten corrections or comments. The problem is: even a very powerful OCR-system fails to read those signs, so an operator has to input this data manually. With a unique barcode placed on every paper document, operators easily find data associated with the document in the accounting system.

Rapid ERP System Data Search Using Barcodes

Large transport companies often struggle with managing travel documents. Every day they print thousands of route sheets, invoices and other supporting documents, that come back in the end filled with important data, such as trip distance, fuel consumption, delivery time, etc. All filling in is typically done in handwriting, which makes automatic recognition problematic; that is why usually this data is inputted into the system manually. For every paper document an operator has to find the related electronic form in the ERP system and input the required information.

Using barcodes you may simplify the process of finding document forms dramatically. All the operator will have to do is to scan paper documents to read the barcode. The recognized code is transmitted to the ERP system, and the required electronic form opens automatically.

Barcodes enable you to:

  • reduce labor costs associated with data input and increase operators productivity;
  • decrease the risks of input errors;
  • speed up the process of inputting data in your ERP system.

Using Barcodes for Bulk Document Imaging Solutions

Document imaging solutions are aimed at capturing paper based information and converting it to electronic images. Such transformation makes documents more accessible, enables full-text search, ensures data security and space savings. At the same time, document imaging can be quite challenging, when you take into account all the procedures involved: first you sort paper documents and prepare them for scanning, then you scan them, then the scanned documents should be correctly indexed so they can be retrieved and searched, and, finally, the documents are stored in your system. To minimize your efforts throughout this process a good imaging solution is needed.

Insurance companies have to deal with piles of paper documents, such as claims, writs, deeds, statements, payment documents, etc. After bulk centralized document scanning (which is quite common), the images have to be sorted and related to the correct cases.

Barcodes will help you deal with this task. An operator prints either stickers or sheets with barcodes and uses them to separate document sets. A barcode can contain the ID of the case related to the documents that are going to be scanned. All document sets are put in a large pack divided by the barcode sheets, and sent to a scanner. Then all these paper documents are scanned as images and sorted using the read barcodes.

Barcodes help you to:

  • increase the centralized scanning capacity;
  • improve operators productivity;
  • reduce the risks of misclassifying errors (errors of associating documents with a wrong case).

Some Recipes for Increasing Barcode Readability

  • enlarging barcodes;
  • using contrasting colors for the barcode and the background;
  • duplicating barcodes, i.e. placing barcodes at the top and the bottom of the page, or printing them on the reverse document side;
  • using thermal transfer barcode labels;
  • using ready waterproof and wear-resistant labels;
  • using excessive coding to ensure information recovery.

Other Barcode Usage Scenarios

Barcode usage is not limited to identifying goods, packages or documents. They can also be used to organize data interchange between information systems. The technology of two-dimensional (2D) barcodes, that have been specially designed to store large amounts of information (up to a few pages), is of particular interest today. With the increasing number of smartphone applications and a slump in 2D scanners prices, 2D barcodes become more and more popular all over the world.

There are plenty of 2D barcode usage scenarios:

  • Structured data transfer. An invoice may include a barcode containing such data as the consignor and consignee details, information on the shipped goods, etc. When the invoice is received, all you have to do is to read the barcode, which allows you to do without costly OCR/ICR applications, significantly reduce the risks of errors, and speed up data input.
  • Using barcodes as a marketing media. On a package, in a catalog or another marketing material you may use a barcode with extra information, such as web-page links, vCards, text messages, etc.
  • Using a barcode image instead of a printed document. You may use your smartphone screen to display the required barcode instead of a paper boarding pass, a travel document or an admission to an event.

The above examples are not directly ECM relevant; however they can be incorporated into new Conterra-based solutions. For example, a 2D code with registration data would accelerate inputting data into the information system run by an offsite document storage operator. In this case, an operator scans the paper document, and recognized barcode data is imported into the archive information system automatically.

Read about Orienge document management software.

Read about Orienge records management system.