Collecting and maintaining a large amount of information is a challenging task for any local government unit (LGU) as they process, manage, and file hundreds of documents every day. Since most LGUs still operate using systems that employ paper-based filing methods, retrieving files tends to be a time-consuming task of looking through cabinets and piles of papers.
To streamline this process, some government offices are now using modern document storage systems that involve digital scanning and archiving. For the LGU of the Municipality of Buhi, digitizing their documents changes the way they provide public service to their constituents.
Improving public service through tech
Found at the heart of Camarines Sur in the Bicol Region, the Municipality of Buhi used to be a small refugee settlement during the eruption of Mayon Volcano in the 1500s. Now, Buhi serves as home to more than 77,000 locals called Buhinons, who founded a permanent settlement in the area.
As the municipality continues to flourish, it also calls for the LGU to find ways to improve public service, including the use of the latest innovations and tools, to deliver better results whenever constituents go to the Municipal Hall for any concerns.
“As public servants, we must be equipped with the right tools for us to deliver better service to our fellow Buhinons. We want to make them feel that the local government is working fast and efficiently since we care about their time, energy, and effort whenever they go to our office for any transactions,” said Mark Anthony Nazarrea, municipal information officer of Buhi.
Having a 14-year corporate background, Nazarrea also knew that online transactions and digital archiving methods can help their office to become more efficient in serving their clients. How will this approach improve their operations?
Freeing up space
One of the challenges that the LGU of Buhi used to have is its paper-based filing method. The files and cabinets where documents are kept in took up a huge space in their office.
“When I was designated as the municipality’s Human Resource (HR) officer, I realized that our office was too small despite having enough space for our staff. Our working area seemed cluttered because files and documents occupy a big portion of it,” said Beethoven J.E. Nachor, HR Officer of LGU, Buhi.
With document scanning and archiving in place, files are now stored in a server, freeing up space for the office and centralizing all the records in one platform.
Records from local government offices often include business permits, human resource documentation, contracts, and other paperwork related to policy developments. In paper-based archiving, staff must manually look through each of the cabinets to locate these files.
“When we have clients, it would usually take some time to find the particular files that they need. We just have too many documents already. And so, we asked ourselves, what would be the most efficient way to shorten the retrieval time? That’s when we thought of digitizing our records so that we no longer need to search for specific files physically but through computers, which is faster and easier to do,” added Nachor.
By digitizing their records, documents are scanned and turned into easily searchable digital files. Therefore, whenever someone needs to find information, even the older documents, retrieving them can be done simply with just a click, making for faster and far less tedious transactions.
The right scanning device
Employing the right scanning device is paramount to ensure that documents generated by the LGU are scanned quickly and clearly. For Buhi, they have found the perfect partner with Epson’s WorkForce DS-410.
The WorkForce DS-410 is a sheetfed scanner that provides a range of productivity features at an entry-level price. This compact scanner is equipped with a built-in Automatic Document Feeder for fast and simple scanning.
Epson WorkForce DS-410
“We received the Epson WorkForce DS-410 scanner in the last week of January. It was timely because we were already in the process of digitizing our records. We know it would work efficiently because it scans fast. We no longer had to do it one-by-one, unlike before with flatbed scanners that employ manual input and two-sided documents that needed to be turned to scan the other side. Now, scanning documents consumes lesser time. The image is great and, at the same time, it’s fast,” said Nachor.
The DS-410 also boasts of its double-feed detection and paper protection technology to make sure original copies are protected and every page is scanned. A set of advanced LED sensors detects when two pieces of paper have been picked at once, instantly stopping the machine and alerting the user. The paper protection, on the other hand, helps prevent misfeeds and damage by stopping automatically when the device detects stapled documents or abnormalities.
It also has a robust build with a very compact body to take up minimal desk space, so it is easy to fit even into the smallest of offices. It can scan at speeds of up to 26ppm/52ipm, and handle paperweights from 50g/m² to 209g/m². Its manual A3 mode also allows ad-hoc scanning of larger-format original copies.
“When we request for equipment in the office, we don’t give a brand name. We just give the specification of what we need. It so happens that from printers to our recent purchase of the scanners, Epson can provide all the features that we need,” added Nachor.
With today’s advancements in technology, local governments now have access to the best tools that can help with automation and managing documents. Epson’s WorkForce sheet-fed scanners deliver the right quality, speed, and agility needed in digitizing files to help LGUs provide better service to the public.