Is there Quality Assurance In your workflow?
Throughout my years in the Document Management Industry, I kept hearing about how great the quality of the images were. But did anyone actually verify the quality? Many vendors talked about how their software can automate the quality assurance process by implementing various processes while scanning. This includes black edge and three hole removal, de-skew and enhance the image. I always questioned how it was actually being done. What was the technology? How could the software know?
Many are familiar with these processes that are part of Kofax, EMC, and CapturePro but none address these issues. Not these issues with large format drawings. These types of images were not meant to be handle by the software. Dimensions I’m referring to are 300 x 300 dpi 36 x 48 bi-tonal images.
During the AIIM Conference in Washington DC this year, the ISIS driver to drive large format scanners within these programs was released suggesting the elimination of the need to purchase separate software to operate the engineering scanners. While they are able to operate the scanners, there are limitations. The announcement of the ISIS Drivers for large format scanning prompted manufacturers to ask questions. Questions about large format scanners and their ability to automate cleanup. To date, that is not a feature for these software products and large format drawings.
What I want to address is how do you do Quality Control with large format drawings. Hopefully, you have it in your workflow.
So the question begs, do you have someone verifying that the drawings are acceptable and how do you do it? Most in-house projects for large format do not plan for this step and assume you can verify as you scan as you go because you are scanning one sheet at a time. This is not true. You could cut of the edge of a drawing and not see it in real time when you are scanning. The setting could be wrong for the type of media. There are so many factors that you JUST need to have Q/A in the workflow.
Based on experience, I have found that to make a difference and have a successful project you MUST have Quality Assurance as a complete and separate step in the process. It is much easier to do re-scans if they are easy to locate. Using the Control Numbers (see previous blog) you can find the drawing to re-scan easily (address the issue if it is poor quality, torn or damaged or the image is cut off).
A rule in our operation is “he who scans should not check his own work”, similar to when we make typo’s we don’t see them, the same applies for scanning. This process gives you a set of fresh eyes and a standard for what is acceptable. Your scan could be the only source of critical information. If that scan was done poorly and there was no Q/A and the original paper drawings were destroyed, could you imagine the impact to the trust of Records Management system? Quality Assurance will give you the confidence to know, when the issue arises (and I assure you it will), the drawings in question were in poor condition to begin with and you did the best possible job.
Other issues that arise can be scanning drawings which are cut off when they were copied, copied crooked on the paper or maybe a section is torn out. Reviewing the images will flag these files BEFORE they are released and, of course, if you have a good scanning operator, they may give this information to you ahead of time and avoid possible rework.
Quality Assurance requires viewing software. Whatever the viewer, it must be fast and have the ability to zoom and pan manually. In the past, and still today, I have used Oracle AutoVue 19.2. There are two buttons on the tool bar that allow you to review the files, zoom in and out, quickly, then pushing the next button allows you to move to the next image. The latest release does not have these features.
Yes, it’s manual, but much of large format is. I would rather have it right the first time, avoid rework rather than explain why we did not capture the information. How about you?