Absolute Resource Associates:
Digital Archive Workflow Improves Accessibility and Compliance
Absolute Resource Associates (ARA) of Portsmouth, NH, provides environmental services to residential, commercial, and government clients throughout New England and beyond.
Purchased in 2000 by environmental specialists Susan and Guy Sylvester, the company is comprised of three divisions: Environmental Project Management, Laboratory Services, and Indoor Air Quality Services. They are an award-winning firm with DoD Accreditation working with clients such as the Navy at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the Army at West Point, the Coast Guard, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Over the past 16 years, Absolute Resource Associates has tripled in revenue, staffing, and facility size. They rely on their robust information management system, meticulous quality procedures, and strict adherence to industry standards in order to provide high-quality data and services on time and within budget.
Accredited environmental laboratories are required to save documentation for 10+ years. As ARA expanded, the increasing volume of paper documents forced them to invest in off-site storage. Hoping to solve the problem on their own, they tried manually scanning the hard copies. Unfortunately, the amount of time and effort involved prevented them from making much headway and interfered with their daily business activities. In the end, they gave up and continued to box their files. Realizing they would continue to waste money on storage units if they could not find a more cost-effective solution, the company sought new options.
ARA needed to be sure that whatever solution they invested in would not be too big for their current needs, but would still be manageable and scalable going forward. Since the copier would be the office’s primary printing device, it was essential that both the device and the software be optimized for maximum efficiency.
Conway Office Solutions began by performing a 360° assessment of the existing document workflow and archiving process. This simple, yet thorough, assessment helped Conway to better understand ARA’s needs and goals, and develop a custom solution.
At first, ARA was concerned that changing to a new copier wouldn’t make financial sense. However, after addressing all of ARA’s questions, the Conway consultants demonstrated how an upgraded device featuring AutoStore software would improve their existing workflow. Once ARA saw first-hand how well the new process worked, the decision to upgrade was an easy one.
The Conway consultants worked with ARA to develop an archive process that prepared documents for scanning, then configured custom scanning workflows in the AutoStore software. The prepared documents were loaded into the feeder, a few buttons pressed to select the preconfigured workflow and direct the file, and the scan was complete. The files were now completely searchable. The last step in the process was file verification. By searching for the designated archive term that had been added to the file names, it was a simple task to create a list of all scanned documents. The archive list was then compared to their records to ensure that all files were accounted for and each file was reviewed for completeness and legibility. Finally, the electronic files were backed up and the paper copies destroyed.
Within months of implementation, Absolute Resource Associates began seeing the benefits. The new workflow process, copier, and software program make archiving fast, simple, and secure. They can now access documents quickly and easily whenever needed, saving both time and money. The file boxes that once seemed like permanent fixtures in their office have disappeared, creating more space. To date, ARA has scanned & disposed of enough boxes that they no longer need off-site storage and are able to maintain the archiving process with a part-time employee.
- Instant Information Access
- Digitally archived documents are now searchable so employees are able to locate documents quickly and easily
- Improved Productivity
- The new workflow ensures that employees no longer waste time using outdated and inefficient archiving methods.
- Consistent with Compliance Requirements
- Digitally stored documents can be kept securely for 10+ years.
- Reduced Expense/Need for Physical Space
- Eliminated off-site storage expense and freed up physical space within the ARA facility.
"Our Conway consultants were very helpful! They knew they could help us and were generous with both time and effort while getting us up and running successfully. Using AutoStore has allowed us to move away from a cumbersome paper-based archive process, to an electronic, searchable, and (virtually) paperless archive system. This transition will save our company both time and money."