Osawatomie. It sounds like an old Native American word. If you were to peer through the windows at 558 Main Street, in Osawatomie, Kansas, you might think it’s a word that means, “One person does it all.” That’s because what you’d see through the panes is the owner of Osawatomie Title, Pamela Hime, tapping away on her keyboard, talking business on the phone, and juggling a variety of other office responsibilities as a one-man, or more appropriately, “one-woman” shop. “It’s just me,” Hime says. “I do everything, from beginning to end.” Her operation is based in a town of just less than 5,000 residents, located in the rolling hills of eastern Kansas. Located an hour or so southwest of greater Kansas City, the company provides title insurance and real estate closings in a five county area.
Four of those five counties are primarily rural. The fifth, Johnson County, includes Overland Park, home to more than 150,000 residents and a bona-fide suburb of Kansas City. Hime is technically licensed to do business in Missouri, which is about 25 or 30 miles to the east, but so far, she stays busy enough serving clients on the Kansas side of the state line.
Before tapping DocStar, technology deployment at Osawatomie Title was limited to standard office software, such as word processing and spreadsheet programs, along with a fax machine, Internet access and email, and voice mail. Venturing into document management was a big move for Hime, but one she’s glad she made.
Hime was approached by a DocStar business partner who pointed out to her how document management software might help her business. “It seemed like an excellent filing system, and a really good way to keep down the paperwork,” she says. So she took the plunge, opting for a Canon DR-2080C scanner as the front end of the DocStar system.
Hime now scans all of her current files so she can access them electronically from the desktop. On some days, she processes a half-dozen files. On other days, it’s more. Each file incorporates several – sometimes many – individual pages. So it adds up, especially for someone who handles everything, from soup to nuts, on her own.
Hime likes the idea of not being surrounded by papers and files. “I don’t have to keep all the paper,” she says. Actually, she does hold on to documents for audit purposes. But that’s much easier to manage than having to keep them available for constant retrieval and access.
Hime says DocStar has proven to be a real time and energy saver. In particular, she spends a lot less time running back and forth between phone and file. “Before DocStar, I’d have to get up and go over to a filing cabinet and get the document,” she says. “Or I’d have to go search for the right box, locate the file, find the document or documents, then bring them back and make a copy.” That doesn’t include the time needed to find the box and file again, and return the original document to its proper place. “Now it’s just on the disks,” she says.
Besides eliminating the trail of worn carpeting between her desk and the file area, using DocStar helps Hime respond to requests more quickly and accomplish more at the same time. No longer must she ask someone to hold or, worse yet, wait for a return phone call, which invariably triggers a series of callbacks and voice mails that cut even further into productivity, for Hime and the client.
Now, she can find answers with the click of a mouse, and respond immediately. In most cases, if she needs to transmit a document, she taps the DocStar fax feature, which allows her to send a document via the internal fax server with, again, a mouse-click or two. “The faxing alone, just being able to go in and send it, is worth its weight in gold,” she says.
Hime uses the fax feature most often when someone requests a copy of a document. For now, Hime sends most of her documents via fax, in large part, because that’s how most people are accustomed to receiving them. For many people, it’s easier to receive a fax than get an email attachment.
The ability to send faxes from the desktop is only half of the story. Hime also values the ability to receive and store faxes electronically, right within the DocStar system. “Plus, I can keep an item on there as long as I want. I can delete it or I can store it, depending on how important it is.” The ability to automatically back up her work also adds to the value Hime receives from working with DocStar.
Hime expects to incorporate email functionality into her workflows, as those she deals with become better equipped to handle receiving documents that way. In time, she also sees an opportunity to work directly with county offices in a paperless or, at least, “less paper” environment. Right now, Johnson County, home of Overland Park, is the only county she works in that’s automated. As her business there grows, she expects that functionality to pay big dividends. She also looks forward to when her own home county goes digital, since she does so much business there. But that’s still several months away, she notes.
Right now, Hime is gearing up to scan some older files so she doesn’t have to devote more space for paper. “I only have four filing cabinets, and they’re full,” she says. “By the end of the year, I need to take some of the older documents and go ahead and scan them in, to free up some space.”
Incidentally, Osawatomie does not mean, “One person does it all.” It’s actually a word made up by combining Osage and Pottawatomie, the two river systems that come together in town and the names of two Indian tribes that lived in the area. Just as Osawatomie has built on its two rivers and two tribes, Osawatomie Title boasts a strong foundation built on the combination of Pamela Hime’s expertise and the efficiencies she gains by using the DocStar system.