Yesterday I went with the National Capitol Chapter of AIIM to do a tour of the Iron Mountain facility in Jessup, MD. There are 22 Iron Mountain facilities in the Washington DC/Baltimore MD market and over 1000 in North America as well as facilities in 35 other countries.

The tour consisted of two parts, the first part allowed us to see the tracking controls of the records center and how chain of custody is upheld through every part of the process. When either sending a box to Iron Mountain or requesting a box back from them the status is updated real time in Iron Mountain connect. At no point in the process do records move without being scanned or signed off on. There is a slim chance that a record will not get to its intended party as you have to be on an authorized list to retrieve records. Iron Mountain’s business process follows Six Sigma with a 99.999% accuracy.

This part of the tour also allowed us to see the audit room they have for when customers want to review records. Iron Mountain also provides an auditing service. We also got to tour a courier van, known as the rolling vault. It is called the rolling vault because of the extensive security system installed in it. To give you an idea of how extensive the security system is, it takes two keys to unlock the van and if it is improperly unlocked an alarm goes off. The van also cannot be started unless all doors are properly closed and locked.

The next part of the tour allowed us to see their document imaging workflow. Coming from an imaging background I was intrigued by it, but didn’t feel a need to take a lot of notes on it as a lot of what was discussed was best practice that is familiar to anyone with an imaging background. Two things did stick out to me about document imaging at Iron Mountain 1)The time and effort put into prepping records for scanning and 2)How meticulous they are about quality control.

The Iron Mountain document imaging strategy is “Prep drives quality”. Prepping a 1.2 cubic foot box can take on average two and half to three hours. There have even been cases that the prep of a box took up to eight hours. Iron Mountain will still go through a box and confirm that all of the documents have been prepped, even if a client offers to prep it beforehand.

The quality control process for document imaging at Iron Mountain happens after every step. They are thorough in their quality control to the point where they will either check every scanned page by eye or used a statistical standard based on ANSI Z14 which will tell them what percentage of pages to check to give a likely probability of 100% accuracy.

If you can name the format of data they can scan it and convert it to a digital image. They do not digitize for the sake of digitization as their main goal is to find the solution that works best for you and scanning a box of records is not always financially feasible as it can cost between $200-$300 dollars. One popular option they have is image on demand where you can request that a particular folder in a box be digitized and it can be sent to you in whatever means is most convenient for you.

As you can tell Iron Mountain definitely made an impression on me and it is no wonder they are one of the leaders in the industry.