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General Category => Events => Homebrew Competitions => Topic started by: beerrat on August 03, 2014, 02:05:53 PM

Title: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: beerrat on August 03, 2014, 02:05:53 PM
Greetings,

Looking for recommendations on value/effort to provide electronic scoresheets back to participants. And if worth it, what scanning setup to use? -- equipment/process/software for scanning in scoresheets and then getting them emailed to participants within a reasonable amount of time.

First, is this really needed and worth it to folk?  Paper based good enough?

Try to scan them after scores being entered?   Thinking this adds too much additional effort on event day. 

Enter scores in BCOE&M competition site, place scoresheet in participant's pre-labed name/address envelope, scan over then next week and email.  Or just stick them in the mail the next day and don't even bother with the scan and email?

Care to share experience anyone?
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: theDarkSide on August 04, 2014, 01:15:27 PM
My hope is that the BCOE&M software developer will add this feature to their program in the future.  It would be nice to log into the competition site and see a pdf of the scoresheet.  I think it would be extremely helpful for the NHC competition.

Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: Jimmy K on August 04, 2014, 01:41:39 PM
Paper is certainly good enough - I think the reason to scan would be to save postage costs. You're not really saving paper since the forms are already in paper form. As you noted, they still have to be sorted by entrant, so you don't save labor. If anything I think it's more labor to scan and email unless you have some software to automate it.
 
I would only try to scan on competition day if you can get a couple extra volunteers and that will be there only job.
 
A scanner with a sheet feeder will help quite a bit. Get all of an entrants scoresheets together, put them all in the feeder and scan to one pdf. Type in the entrants name as part of the filename. Since you wouldn't be mailing, I'd use file folders with labels that have a name and entry numbers for sorting.
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: epic1856 on August 11, 2014, 04:08:32 PM
Greetings,

Looking for recommendations on value/effort to provide electronic scoresheets back to participants. And if worth it, what scanning setup to use? -- equipment/process/software for scanning in scoresheets and then getting them emailed to participants within a reasonable amount of time.

First, is this really needed and worth it to folk?  Paper based good enough?

Try to scan them after scores being entered?   Thinking this adds too much additional effort on event day. 

Enter scores in BCOE&M competition site, place scoresheet in participant's pre-labed name/address envelope, scan over then next week and email.  Or just stick them in the mail the next day and don't even bother with the scan and email?

Care to share experience anyone?

The competitions I help organize we scan and email all scoresheets. If you can do the scanning the day of the competition, the faster you can email the scoresheets out.  The first time we did the scanning, one of the staff brought in a nice scanner. It scanned a set of scoresheets in about 10 seconds. It took longer to input the scores in BCOE&M than scanning them. All the entrants had their scoresheets emailed to within 3 days of the competition.

We saved the scoresheets by entry number only and using BCOE&M it was easy to match scoresheets and entrants. All we did was do a search on the directory in the computer an drag & drop into an email, setup a generic email (Thanks for entering.....), and send.

Does it save money? yes. Does it save time? I think it does or at least it's a break even. 
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: AmandaK on August 11, 2014, 05:48:09 PM
We saved the scoresheets by entry number only and using BCOE&M it was easy to match scoresheets and entrants. All we did was do a search on the directory in the computer an drag & drop into an email, setup a generic email (Thanks for entering.....), and send.

Does it save money? yes. Does it save time? I think it does or at least it's a break even.

This is the process I would use if I could find the volunteers. Our shipping cost for our big comp (600 entries) is around $350. I would love to use that money to ship prizes to our winners, but it wasn't in the cards last year.
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: reverseapachemaster on August 12, 2014, 02:36:19 PM
This is the process I would use if I could find the volunteers. Our shipping cost for our big comp (600 entries) is around $350. I would love to use that money to ship prizes to our winners, but it wasn't in the cards last year.

You could purchase a used scansnap for less than what you are paying in postage for one year (or a new one for a little more) and spit out emailed pdfs faster than you can label and stuff envelopes.

If your club has lawyers or any type of physician they may have one in their office that they can bring in. The scanner they advertise on the TV (neat desk?) doesn't seem to work nearly as well but would probably work for scanning scoresheets.
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: epic1856 on August 12, 2014, 09:24:36 PM
We saved the scoresheets by entry number only and using BCOE&M it was easy to match scoresheets and entrants. All we did was do a search on the directory in the computer an drag & drop into an email, setup a generic email (Thanks for entering.....), and send.

Does it save money? yes. Does it save time? I think it does or at least it's a break even.

This is the process I would use if I could find the volunteers. Our shipping cost for our big comp (600 entries) is around $350. I would love to use that money to ship prizes to our winners, but it wasn't in the cards last year.

Our shipping cost was about $150 last year, but we only shipped awards to the winners. we had 450 entries.  We shipped out pint glasses, shirts, bottle openers, etc. 
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: AmandaK on August 12, 2014, 09:28:36 PM
How is a scansnap different than a regular feed through scanner? I'm brain dead, so google isn't helping me.
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: Bruce B on August 13, 2014, 10:50:57 PM
For our competitions we have an office staff of three that audit the score sheet math, cover sheets, and info on the summary sheets as the judging flight concludes.  After all the double checks they then stuff the score sheets into the pre-labeled participant mailing envelopes.  One person gets the flight summary sheets and updates BCOE&M with the scores.  During the award ceremony if the person isn't there to get their medal the same office staff folks immediately stuff the medal in the envelope.  Score sheets usually get mailed out on the Tuesday or Wednesday following the competition and participants usually have them back by the weekend.

Suggestions:

Regarding scanning the sheets - I've yet to find a cost and time effective solution.  I used to implement Electronic Medical Records systems and a part of that was implementing high capacity scanners (scan a patient paper chart in seconds), so I know a little about this.  In order to do this you either need a decent scanner and someone that can manually save each scan with some kind of naming convention (i.e. judging number, participant name, etc.) or a scanner with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capabilities so a scanning software program can read data off of a scanned sheet and automatically name the document for you.  The first option is a time killer because of the scan time and the time it would take us to email 100 plus participants.  The second option would require some costly equipment, can produce some rather large PDF files, and then there would be those 100 plus emails.  I know some competitions have farmed out the scanning to a service after the competition has completed, but history has proven that volunteers tend to disappear into the woodwork once competitions are over.  Yeah we could do a Google Drive or Dropbox folder share instead of emails but then that involves tech support to 100 plus participants. 

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be able to do this but I've never had the budget and I've never had the volunteer time to pull it off.  I'm in the stick them in the envelope and mail them off camp.  Good luck with your competition!

Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: dbeechum on August 16, 2014, 06:27:55 AM
With the Falcons we take advantage of our crew and have one or two folks that take the scoresheets and scan them. Each entry set gets emailedto a private box that gets downloaded and renamed. Once that process is done, another script is run, the scoresheets organized by entrant and checked for validity against the entry db and then uploaded to our server. A final script is run to then email all the contests with a url to download their scoresheets.

All in all the post scanning side takes ~15 minutes, but that's because I wrote the Ruby scripts that do all the hardwork.
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: Jimmy K on August 16, 2014, 11:46:17 AM
I never thought of scripting. I moonlight as a python instructor for Penn State. Hmm
Title: Re: Scanning setup recommendations for competition
Post by: reverseapachemaster on August 16, 2014, 03:01:22 PM
How is a scansnap different than a regular feed through scanner? I'm brain dead, so google isn't helping me.

Scansnap is a feed scanner, it's just a very good product line and easily transported. If somebody has access to a full size copier with scan-to-email function then that will be the fastest way to scan scoresheets but if you're looking for something you can use at the judging site then you need something a little smaller. I've seen some of the desk-sized feed scanners produce sketchy quality scans. Scansnap, or any Fujitsu feed scanner, will scan fast and high quality.

There are other good feed scanners out there.