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Unlocking the Potential of Document Management with Barcodes


document management barcode

Documents are essential to business operations, but creating, completing, and cataloging these documents at scale remains a frustrating and time-consuming task for organizations. There is an answer that streamlines productivity. It’s not operational restructuring or overly-complex IT offerings. Instead, the answer is black-and-white – document management with barcodes.

Nobody’s Got Time for This

When it comes to document handling, speed and accuracy matter. For retail companies, this means consumers who expect on-demand order processing and helpdesk response, while manufacturers must provide suppliers and shippers with key timing and inventory data.

Law firms need to track down specific documents for legal discovery, and healthcare organizations require auditable trails of all patient documentation. The problem? Companies typically get a choice with managing documents. They can either pick a fast and error-prone solution or a slow and accurate one. However, neither is good enough for managing mass amounts of information.

Despite the rush toward digitisation, problems persist. As noted by Diamond Inc. on Medium, a 2012 IDC study found that IT workers wasted 4.5 hours per week looking for documents. Seven years later, and things aren’t much better. A recent study from Nintex found that 49 percent of employees classify document locating and sharing as “broken processes” in their organization. The issue exists across industries, with CRMBuyer reporting that 45 percent of sales representatives — who should be interacting with customers and prospects — are bogged down by excessive administrative tasks such as finding necessary documents and trying to cut and paste new versions from old templates.

Companies fare no better with accuracy. As noted by a NCBI study, the average rate of human data entry error is 2.8 percent — with specific entry fields ranging from 0.5 to 6.4 percent. Add in time pressure to deliver documents ASAP and there’s nowhere for error rates to go but up.

Barcode Benefit Breakdown

So why bother with barcodes? Multichannel Merchant puts it simply: “Barcodes let you track the what, who, and when for all activities.” When applied to documents, barcodes offer specific benefits including:

  • Reduced Error Rates — Barcode scanning is 99.9999 percent accurate. In hard numbers, that translates to one mistake for every 70 million pieces of scanned information — a significant improvement over human data entry.
  • Indexing and Storage — Documents are often connected; insurance companies need multiple forms to complete policy applications and financial institutions require a variety of documentation to process loan offers. Barcodes make it possible to automatically associate, index, and store related documents, making it easier for staff to find exactly what they’re looking for — and everything connected to it.
  • Digital Transformation — Applying document barcodes empowers digital transformation by delivering consistency across document naming conventions and data context.
  • Information Security — Companies must now demonstrate “due diligence” in data security to ensure critical information is protected from malicious use. Barcodes can automatically flag sensitive data for high-security storage rather than relying on manual oversight.

Barcodes aren’t perfect — damaged or misaligned codes can derail document management processes and force stopgap manual intervention. Here, emerging technologies are changing the game. New software development kits (SDKs) capable of existing-app integration and accurate scanning regardless of barcode condition help ensure uninterrupted workflow. Digital-first document management demands speed that doesn’t sacrifice accuracy. Barcodes bridge the gap, making it possible to streamline storage and security at scale and speed.