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Document management company makes strong case for legal firms to employ document imaging solutions
A Hartford, Connecticut company is bringing a little more law and order to the way legal firms manage their documents. TMG Document Solutions—specializing in copying, digital imaging and binding services for legal, insurance, corporate and medical companies—is using advanced technology to help its law firm clients lighten their workloads; while at the same time raising its own productivity by 30%.
A year ago, TMG employees spent about 75% of their time duplicating legal documents. With each new project, they had to label, photocopy or scan 15-pound boxes of paperwork containing 2,500 to 3,000 pages each. When a project was completed, they would load boxes of duplicated documents—along with the original boxes—onto leased trucks and return them to the clients.
“The majority of our clients are law firms, and we would photocopy a set of depositions and paperwork for every lawyer working on a case,” said Ron Peterson, Vice President of TMG. “If a new firm joined the case, we would then have to copy information for that firm’s lawyers as well.”
At the time, there was no way to separate the pertinent information in a document from the irrelevant. Because the firm’s copy machines and flatbed scanners did not always pick up information written lightly or in pencil, the work was labor intensive. An employee would need to adjust contrast for each document to make sure critical information was visible. “Contrast is especially important when it comes to photographs used in accident cases,” said Peterson. “Lawyers and juries need to be able to clearly see injuries and any damage to vehicles, and a second or third generation image can be difficult to decipher.”
Maintaining office equipment also added to the time it took to complete a project. TMG’s large copy machines, continually in use, needed regular repairs. Projects were held up until the company’s copiers and flatbed scanners were working properly.
Weighing the evidence
In recent years, lawyers’ use of electronic documents has been on the rise in and out of the courtroom. By November 2006, there was a strong case for TMG to purchase low-maintenance scanning equipment to convert large volumes of documents into digital files. After due process, the company selected two compact, low-volume production scanners. Peterson noticed immediately how well the KODAK Trūper 3600 Scanners handled paper. TMG’s scanner operators now could scan batches of documents of varying thicknesses and sizes without stopping mid-process to individually scan documents with unusual dimensions.
Document solution provider for law firms spends 75% of their time duplicating legal documents by photocopying or scanning, and has no way of differentiating relevant from irrelevant data.
Discover and implement a system to capture and provide documents, digitally, with the ability for clients to search within their documents.
Two KODAK Trūper 3600 Scanners, Image Capture Engineering’s LAW Software, and optical character recognition (OCR) software.
“The Trūper Scanners need very little maintenance. We rarely even have to replace the feeder rollers.”
~Ron Peterson, Vice President, TMG
Each Trūper 3600 Scanner had an Automatic Document Feeder that allowed anyone using it to place up to 200 pages into the feed tray at once. The scanner would then feed the pages through one at a time. The scanners handled large volumes of scanning with reliability, durability and efficiency, thanks in part to a daily duty cycle of 10,000 pages and throughput speeds of up to 62 pages per minute.
Ultrasonic Multi-feed Detection, a feature built into the Trūper 3600 Scanners, sensed tiny gaps between documents unintentionally fed at the same time. This helped to ensure that every document TMG employees fed got scanned. Multifeed Ignore, an advanced setting exclusive to these scanners, prevented the scanners from incorrectly identifying “irregular” documents—such as sticky notes, labels and photographs affixed to pages and envelopes—as multi-feeds.
As a result, TMG employees could feed photos accompanying evidence with ease.
The Trūper 3600 Scanners also feature auto contrast, automatically adjusting for variations between light and dark text, saving the operators from having to do it themselves.
Finding in favor of law firms
In addition to the Trūper 3600 Scanners, TMG employed Image Capture Engineering’s LAW Software and optical character recognition software to offer its law firm clients the ability to turn their scanned material into fully searchable electronic documents.
Attorneys could now index and organize needed document images and delete information unnecessary to a case. This saved law firm employees the time and trouble of sifting through boxes of paper documents to find the ones they needed. Electronic documents also made file sharing and simultaneous document access easier. Using a laptop in the courtroom, an attorney could access electronic documents and e-mail document images, then use this information to present as evidence.
Furthermore, storing electronic documents on CD required less space than retaining physical copies of paperwork, reducing the need for law firms to lease warehouse space.
The verdict is in!
Within a few months, TMG realized a significant savings in paper, copier toner, maintenance, labor and delivery costs as a result of its new scanners. “The Trūper Scanners need very little maintenance,” said Peterson. “We rarely even have to replace the feeder rollers.” The Trūper 3600 Scanners’ rollers typically last for 300,000 scans before needing replacement, and their Xenon lamps are designed to last the life of the scanner
Since implementing its document imaging system, TMG often returns clients’ original boxes of documents along with CDs containing PDF images of the originals. The company has saved $30,000 to $40,000 on the cost of leasing trucks alone, which amounts to 15% of the company’s costs. TMG’s imaging services have increased 15 to 20% since the installation of the new scanners; and they now spend 55% of their time on scanning projects, and plan to continue relying on efficient document imaging solutions to serve client needs. Peterson says there is no question that the company will integrate more scanners into its operations if the demand for scanning services continues to grow. For TMG, it’s an open and shut case!
The Böwe Bell + Howell Scanner Division was acquired by Eastman Kodak Company in September 2009. Trūper Series Scanners are now marketed under the Kodak Brand.