Profiles of area tech companies.
Snoqualmie-based Freedoc (www.freedoc.com) says it specializes in paperless solutions, and the company practices what it preaches. Owner/manager Wayne Gray spoke recently about how scanning piles of paper can make a company run more efficiently.
How did Freedoc get started?
Early in 1998 I was working for a nuclear services company. The paperwork required to do that type of work is very cumbersome. One day several of us were compiling the paperwork to get ready for a job. A friend stopped by to visit and saw the mountain of paper we were working on. He suggested we scan it and take a CD with us instead of a briefcase full of paper. We stopped and looked at each other like the little light bulb above our heads had just clicked on.
The entire crew had laptop computers that we used in the field so we used the CD to access our paperwork. The idea was born to start a company to do the scanning service for other companies.
What got you personally interested in doing this work?
My previous career in the nuclear power industry was becoming boring and the travel that was required was taking a lot of time away from my family. With Freedoc I saw an opportunity to start a new high tech venture and be one of the first scanning companies in the Seattle area.
The possibilities were and still are endless with more companies trying to go paperless every day and I think we are poised to take advantage of that business.
Why do you feel there is a need for what you provide?
We hear all the time that the wave of the future is the paperless office. Until you visit several offices you really don’t have an appreciation for how much paper most businesses deal with. We are called in to give estimates to a wide ranging client base including medical and financial institutions, transportation and manufacturing companies, government and education facilities just to name a few.
We see offices where they have lost or misplaced documents, someone misfiles a document that takes the next person hours to find or they need a document that has been moved to an off site storage area. Providing scanning services to our customers has allowed them to streamline their operations and save a great deal of time and money.
Our most gratifying jobs are those that have jump-started the growth in a customers company. For example, we scanned a bank of over 20 file cabinets for a client. The office space they recovered allowed them to hire two new sales people who in turn brought in more business for their company.
What kind of challenges does your company face?
I think our biggest challenge is to get our word out and educate the business decision makers that they can save a significant amount of money and time by transferring to an electronic format for their information. When management realizes that information is one of the most vital, strategic assets any organization can possess then they will see the ease and safety that they can operate in with their information in an electronic format.
Our customers who have taken the leap to an electronic format are thrilled and swear they will never go back. So the benefits are real, it is just getting the business decision makers to take the initial leap to the new technology.
What are your main goals for the year ahead?
My main goal in building the company is to increase our client base. Freedoc has many loyal customers who continue to give us repeat business, year after year. It is easy to get comfortable just taking care of these customers, with whom we have developed strong relationships. However, in order to grow the company we need to acquire new customers at an accelerated rate.
We recently purchased new hardware that will allow us to increase the amount of production we can do at any given time, so we are prepared to let more Seattleites in on the secret of electronic document scanning.
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