Automated Data Collection - How can it Help your Business?
Manual data entry is a long and tedious process that not only consumes a plethora of resources but is also prone to human errors. It entails a lot of paperwork which itself is the nuisance. Papers can be lost or damaged, therefore much time is required to take care of them.
Fortunately, in this world of automation, we have specialized ADCS (Automated Data Collection System), which is the collection of hardware and software that automatically identifies, reads, and stores the data. Automated data collection is defined as gathering data from paper forms using software. In this article, we will discuss which technologies are used for ADC and what benefits ADC offers to the businesses.
Technologies Used for Automated Data Collection
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
An OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software automatically reads the scanned document and extracts the necessary information. It processes data at a much faster pace and with a higher degree of precision. In manual data entry, employees must manually enter the information from the paper forms. OCR is a great technology to digitize mammoth paper records. It has penetrated nearly every sphere of business from supply chain and government to healthcare and finance. It eliminates redundant tasks that were traditionally performed by employees by automating the data entry which is faster. Although, the level of accuracy of OCR is unprecedented, humans must still review the output, especially when legal and financial documents are involved.
Optical Mark Recognition (OMR)
OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) is another technology used for document management. This technology is employed to collect human-marked data, such as poll results, multiple-choice educational tests, consumer feedback surveys, and other kinds of multiple choice-based forms. Before scanning and uploading the document in an OMR software, the respondent must fill in the bubble or mark the answer choice to answer the questions. After the documents are scanned, the OMR algorithm recognizes these bubble marks at a much faster pace than humans.
Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR)
It is the advanced form of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. This innovative technology comprehends and captures the raw handwritten documents with 50% to 70% accuracy. This technology is still evolving as companies are striving to build algorithms that capture handwritten notes at a greater accuracy level. It is pertinent to note that the accuracy levels of ICR packages improve as we use them because developers build them around an incessantly learning neural network.
Intelligent Document Recognition (IDR)
IDR stands for “Intelligent Document Recognition” and is often used by bigger businesses that generate tons of unstructured data every day. It decodes the content in the paper as well as in electronic form, knows the start and end of the document, and assigns categories to the documents. IDR helps businesses in the three following ways:
- Classification of document: This technology decodes the content and patterns in the documents and assigns them to categories. It employs the OCR technology to extract information from the document. It then matches the extracted information with the one stored in the lookup tables about the familiar kinds of documents.
- Extraction of a document: After categorizing data, IDR captures crucial data from any part of the document. It then populates the databases such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), or an accounting system.
- Data Release: IDR systems help in automated data and image exporting to other business packages. The exported data is readily available, and businesses can make decisions based on this data.
RFID stands for (Radio Frequency Identification). This technology encrypts digital information in RFID tag which contains a small radio transponder, a receiver, and a transmitter. RFID technology has an edge over the barcode technology because it permits the data collection of multiple items at a time. On the other hand, bar code technology allows to capture the data of one item at a time. By using RFID technology, organizations can track the location of their assets at any time. Due to its ability to collect massive data at a time, this technology is used to automate the supply chain processes, tracing inventory and employees.
How RFID Works?
It uses electromagnetic fields to detect and trace the tags that are attached to the objects, especially in the logistics and retail industry, where this technology has experienced miraculous success.
The use of this technology is very common in warehouses or distribution centers. The tags used by the RFID technology are classified into three broad categories: low, high, and ultra-high frequency. The tags are categorized according to frequency ranges they use and have their own specific characteristics. These tags broadcast information about an object through radio waves and are not charged by the battery, instead they charge themselves by receiving energy from the radio waves emitted by the antenna. When the tag receives the waves from the antenna, the energy is transferred to the chip via internal antenna. The chip gets triggered by this energy and modify it with the required data, and finally sends the signal back towards the antenna or the reader.
Data collection and storage using RFID is fully automated. Some of the benefits of RFID technology are given below:
- Businesses can keep track of their items because tags may activate the alarm when they are moved.
- It reduces the costs associated with inventory management, distribution, and asset tracking.
- It saves time because technology is fully automated. As a result, businesses can focus on optimizing other areas such as manufacturing and customer service, which eventually lead to more profits in the long run.
Advantages of Automated Data Collection
Automated data collection offers numerous benefits to businesses. Some of these benefits are given below:
The efficiency is compromised whenever paperwork is involved. ADC streamlines the data collection process by eliminating the paper jumble. Employees can access electronic records anywhere anytime, unlike paper records. Hence, the efficiency of employees and business operations enhances significantly in the workplace.
By using ADC, employees do not have to wait for forms to be processed. ADC systems fully automate data entry and data processing which traditionally requires hours of work while entering data manually. Consequently, businesses can use the remaining time in improving the efficiency of other departments.
One of the primary benefits of ADC systems is that they cut down the cost of data collection by almost 88%. In the past, businesses had to recruit many people just for data entry work. Now, the same work can be done by fewer people. Hence, businesses lower costs associated with hiring and managing a large workforce.
Anything performed by humans is always susceptible to errors. Moreover, in traditional manual data entry, employees used to work for long hours doing the same monotonous work. Under these conditions, the probability of error or misfiled fields rose significantly. With electronic data entry, everything is done faster and the probability of errors is also extremely low.
Low frustration and enhanced employee satisfaction
Manual data entry mentally exhausts the employees because they are required to enter data vigilantly for long hours. The employees are under pressure to enter data accurately because a slight mistake can be costly for the business.
The confluence of all these factors increases frustration among the employees working in the data entry fields. With the use of ADC systems, businesses can engage the employees in other interesting and less tiring tasks which not only boost employee satisfaction but also bring more profits for the business.
Hence, due to the aforementioned benefits of ADC systems, businesses across the world are transitioning from manual data collection to automated data collection systems. Any business that still relies on manual data collection should consider investing in ADC systems because these technologies guarantee the optimization of business resources and processes.