Albyn Housing Society chooses Kodaks i1420 scanner technology to handle Highland Housing Register applications

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25% reduction in time taken to process paperwork means properties occupied faster

Eastman Kodak Company has announced that Albyn Housing Society has installed a ScanLink electronic document management (EDM) system along with one of its new duplex i1420 tabletop scanners to manage all the documentation generated as part of providing affordable rented housing in the Scottish Highlands.  The solution was sold by Inverness-based reseller, Solution X. 

Processing up to 60 pages per minute, the Kodak i1420 handles virtually all document sizes and shapes and features Kodaks Perfect Page imaging technology to ensure quality scanning first time by Albyn Housing Societys Allocation Team.

Albyn Housing Society manages over 2,000 rental properties and in excess of 200 shared ownership houses in the Highlands of Scotland, an area the size of Wales and home to some 218,000 people.  A registered social landlord funded by the Scottish Government, banks and building societies, it employs 70 staff and has its head office in Invergordon, 25 miles north of Inverness. Currently housing more than 2,000 households , Albyn Housing Society is currently spending over 25 million to building new housing and renovate properties in its catchment area.  

In June this year, all providers of affordable housing in the Scottish Highlands - five independent housing associations[1], which includes Albyn, and the Highland Council - introduced a common housing application form and process to streamline and simplify the process of handling the numerous requests for accommodation.

Robin Nairn, Albyn Housing Societys Finance and IT director, says, In total there are about 20,000 properties in the Highlands which are managed by the various associations and the Council.  Historically, each had its own form and waiting lists and someone wanting a house would have potentially had to apply to six different organisations using six different forms.  Today theres one process and one form which has greatly increased efficiency. This is positive for everyone evolved us, our clients and our partners.

The Kodak scanner was purchased in March 2008 to manage this paperwork.  Nairn explains, We needed a top quality scanner to deal with the volume of paper as our older scanners, from another manufacturer, kept jamming.  The Kodak i1420 was ordered, supplied and has worked with no complications.

The Kodak scanner is used by the Allocation Team - the group responsible for assessing applications - which has made the whole process of administering the waiting list far faster.  Mr Nairn says, Weve reduced the time it takes to allocate a property when it becomes vacant by 25%.

When a person or family applies for affordable housing they are assessed using a points approach with those meeting a certain number given a home first, based on a number of criteria, for example, medical conditions, whether they are in secure accommodation or not or actually homeless.

Albyn Housing Society is also using ScanLink document management software from DataImage Software Limited to handle all scanned paperwork associated with its property portfolio.  Deployed in September 2007, ScanLink has a Microsoft Windows-based type GUI and is simple-to-use, with the allocations staff scanning documents and then saving them into virtual filing cabinets after indexing the information.   

Mr Nairn explains, When the time came to refurbish our head office, we took the opportunity to install ScanLink to get rid of about 40 to 50 filing cabinets clogging the office.

The paper work generated by the Albyns Housing and Property Maintenance Teams is considerable and includes: correspondence with tenants, application forms, maintenance and rent information, doctors reports, and pointing information about tenants.

The document management software is producing the efficiency the Society had hoped and moving forward, will be used by other teams within the organisation. Mr Nairn says, Our Development Team which acquires land and builds homes and theyll be using ScanLink shortly to manage all the paperwork generated such as planning applications, architects drawings and correspondence with builders.  Similarly those in our corporate function will also be doing the same to manage paperwork involving HR, health and safety, board minutes and general correspondence.

Jonathan Tripp, Kodaks document imaging marketing manager, UK & EAMER, said, Kodak is well known in the document management marketplace for supplying products which deliver high quality scanning time and time again.  The Albyn project shows great cause and effect.   Now the Society can process forms quicker and get vulnerable people into proper housing far faster.

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