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Dreaming of a paperless office.

The “paperless office” sometimes seems an impossible goal in companies that have overstuffed filing cabinets, continually running copy machines and hardworking printers. But it can be achieved, according to Becky Kiedrowski, General Manager of Redmond-based FreeDoc. She chats about the company’s strategy and strengths, and the difficulty of watching for all those paper clips.

How did FreeDoc get started, and why was the decision made to start such a company?

FreeDoc is an electronic document service bureau. Using production-class scanners and the latest in imaging archiving software, we are able to scan documents at a high rate of speed and transfer the documents to a compact disc. The compact disc serves as the file “vault” where thousands of documents are stored. Conventionally, archived records and documents are stored in separate storage facilities, and costs are determined by the square footage needed and how often documents need to be retrieved. FreeDoc developed into a service business through the need to reduce the amount of space required for storing client information and employee records. By using scanners to transfer paper documents to the CD medium, companies are able to reduce the space and expense of filing cabinets and filing supplies. By formatting the files to open to the specific needs of the user, the documents can be accessed from the touch of a finger.

What got you interested in paperless business solutions?

I have always been interested in technology and I think that this is an efficient way to manage records for any business. I think FreeDoc succeeds because “We get it done” is an attitude that has characterized our culture and it is an outlook that we believe will continue to drive our success in the future. We’ve met the evolving needs of the market, as reflected in our ability to produce images in many formats as required by our clients. Our customers see our products and services as a convenient, customized, and cost-cutting service to manage their documents. Based on the strength of FreeDoc’s strategy, service offerings and culture, we fully expect to continue to be the company that businesses and government agencies turn to when they need to get document imaging done.

What kind challenges do you encounter in providing these services?

It can be difficult to find the right equipment, such as scanners, that can handle the volume. It’s also a challenge to streamline the process of preparing the documents and educate the different vertical markets about how we can save them time and money. Also, it can be labor intensive preparing the documents. We must remove staples and paper clips, and organize the documents. Depending on the project, some of the indexing of the files can be a matter of manual entry. We are always looking for ways to reduce the labor cost and streamline the process. We constantly try out new processes or products and track the time savings as well as the cost savings.

What kinds of concerns do you hear from potential clients who are considering replacing paper documents with digital?

The cost is a concern because companies usually want to image all their records. The best way to handle it is to pick a date and move forward. It’s a good idea to purge the older documents, so you don’t spend money on imaging 20 years worth of files that may never be accessed.

What do you like best about what FreeDoc does?

When we deliver the project back to the client, the client is very happy with the outcome and cannot believe how much time it saves. We have made their job easier on an everyday basis.

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