Improvement Idea – What can a cookie factory teach advisory firms about a daily task?

January 26, 2015 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

What’s in a step?   A lot of time saved, if you just reverse the order of the step.

Depending on the number of clients, an operations employee may scan 20 to 100 files in a given week.

Today, most employees still scan one document at a time, then file one document at a time.  This is known as “an inefficient process.”

Think of it this way:  If you are a Nabisco® bakery creating a method to ice Oreos®, would you create a process where the icing machine iced each Oreo one at a time?   Talk about inefficient!  On the contrary, you would design a process to ice Oreos in batches.

So, that begs the question:  Why are you (still) scanning one document at a time?


What’s the difference between paper processing and icing cookies?

The difference is that the Oreo icing machine ices the exact same type of cookie, whereas advisors handle many different types of documents.  Imagine for a moment an icing machine that must ice Oreos, oatmeal and lemon cookies in quick succession.

That’s akin to advisors, who must file a wide variety of disparate documents (insurance policies, wills, trusts, tax returns) for clients.

Advisors require a means of handling different types of documents in a single batch.

Reversing the order of a single step creates more efficiency

Q: How can you “batch scan” a bunch of different types of documents for *different* clients, and still have the documents get correctly filed?

A: By simply reversing the order (file before you scan), the employee can scan all files in one batch, containing different types of documents for different clients, and have them correctly filed where they intend them to be.

Concrete Example

Here is an example: Prior to scanning a client’s trust, I double-click a file reservation icon[1] on my computer desktop and fill in the details of how I want the document to be filed.

To complete the reservation, I place a barcoded coversheet on top of the paper file and enter the ID from the coversheet into the reservation window on screen.

I have now told the computer how I want my trust document to be saved.  Those filing instructions are now associated with the barcode coversheet that is on the trust.

Q: So, what does that accomplish?

A: The computer has memorized my filing instructions, and is now awaiting the trust document to be scanned with its matching barcode coversheet.

Once that document is scanned, it will automatically file itself based on the instructions I provided in the file reservation.  In fact, the system will even remove the cover sheet for me as it does the filing!

I repeat the 10-second step to create a reservation for each document that I wish to scan.

Now, I have a batch of 35 documents that each have a file reservation. What does that allow for?

Automated filing – Administrative Nirvana

Next, I drop the entire stack of documents in one batch into the scanner[2] at once (let’s estimate 35 documents amounts to 200 pages) and press “go”.

As soon as my 200-paged scan shows up in the scans folder, the entire batch is automatically filed for me.

Barcode coversheets get removed as documents get automatically filed to their correct locations.  They are also automatically OCRed so they are text searchable PDFs.[3]  That’s a lot of useful automation going on.

Modernizing your workflow

Eureka!  Reversing a single step creates a modern workflow process – no more icing one Oreo at a time.  No more scanning and filing one document at a time.  Batch scanning (and automated filing) is now enabled.

Just think, by reversing the order of a single step by filing *before* a scan, the operations team may be able to perform a single scan each day.

Talk about work*life improvement.   Reducing administrivia means you can work on what matters.

That’s worth some Oreos®.


Technology described in this article:

[1] Symphony Profiler® reservation software

  • Currently works with Worldox document management software
  • Coming soon – file reservations for folder trees

[2] Scanners – works with any type of scanner – desktop, networked, or a blend of both

[3] Symphony OCR® automatically makes images text-searchable once they are filed. Symphony OCR processes scanned documents that arrive from a scanner or email attachment among other sources.

If you’d like more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at



Entry filed under: Imaging, Symphony.

Rich Text Editor in Emailer Tool Trumpet Publisher for ShareFile Enhancements

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