Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Choosing a Scanner

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By Lorraine Vybihal

When choosing a scanner for your business, there are many things you need to consider. You need a scanner that is fast, reliable, and that will increase your overall productivity. Typical personal portable scanners just won’t cut it. You need specially designed commercial scanners capable of handling high volumes of documents quickly and efficiently.
So, how can you decide which commercial scanner meets your needs? Here are some tips to help get you started.

• Determine the main purpose of scanner—What will you be using your scanner for on a daily basis? Are you looking to get rid of those several file cabinets’ worth of old paperwork by storing them digitally? The latest commercial scanners feature OCR technology that allows them to convert handwritten text into machine editable text. This means you can easily edit paperwork on your computer, or search for it later on by keywords found in the document. This streamlines the data entry process and improves the organization and security of your sensitive documents.
Maybe you will be scanning and emailing documents instead of faxing them? No matter where your documents are coming from, scanners are easy to integrate with your fax machine, email, or FTP. Determine what the main purpose of your scanner is so you can find one that matches these needs. The premium scanners are fast, easy to use, and low maintenance.

• Create a list of desired features—With such a wide selection of scanners on the market, the number of features are seemingly endless. Some scanners offer 2-sided scanning. Others scan documents exponentially faster than the competition. And some have multiple feed trays. Make a list of all the must-have features you demand in a scanner. Then, you can narrow your selection to those scanners
that boast these features.

• Speed matters—You need a scanner that moves at the speed of business. In other words, you don’t want to be sitting around waiting minutes for a single document to scan. You want documents to be scanning quickly and efficiently. Commercial scanners have feed trays that dispense documents in and out of the scanner in the blink of an eye. Whether you’re scanning to backup important files or to communicate with clients around the world, speed matters.

• Read consumer reviews—Before choosing a scanner to buy, it’s paramount to spend a little time browsing consumer reviews. These are user-submitted reviews from customers who have used the scanner you’re thinking about buying. This gives you unique insight into how the product actually performs, rather than basing your entire decision on marketing hype. Of course, you should never place too much stock in a single customer review (either positive or negative), but instead, you should look at multiple reviews to identify common praises and complaints. Spending a little time doing research now can save you a lot of time, money, and trouble later on.

• Find the right value added reseller—After settling on the optimum scanner for your needs, it’s time to find a value added reseller to buy it from. When looking for a reseller, you always want to make certain you’re doing business with a reliable company. Make sure the company you choose has been in business for a lengthy period of time and that they have a track record of pleasing their customers. You need to choose a reseller who goes beyond just selling scanners. The company you choose should be able to help you create and integrate complete data management systems into your business based on your unique needs. Of course, always make sure they’re providing you with a fair price as well.

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