Problems Associated with Manual Data Entry and How to Solve

Common Manual Data Entry Problems

Manual data entry is both a time consuming and human error prone process that results in many businesses incurring excessive labor costs and lost productivity. Common manual data entry challenges include-

1. Quality control- Entry errors can result from a wide variety of issues, ranging from illegible handwriting to improper employee training techniques. Data entry errors can result in massive financial consequences for your business.

Even the point at which an error is detected in the data process can make a significant financial difference. Case studies have found that while it costs businesses an estimated $1 to verify data accuracy as it is entered, it costs businesses an estimated $10 to correct data when it is in batch form.

Quality control costs can rise to $100 or more for each record if entry errors are not addressed. Investing in quality control solutions are well worth the cost and time savings of correcting entry errors.

Whether your business decides to outsource data processing or include internal checks throughout the data process, data entered must be consistently accurate and high quality.

2. Time management- Data entry is a time consuming and menial business process that many employees strongly dislike. Manually entering data requires valuable employee time that could otherwise be spent on more urgent or engaging tasks.

Time management is even further complicated when there are spikes in data entry volume. Opening a new location or announcing a sale could cause workload to intensify, leading to heightened employee stress levels and increased human error potential.

3. Turnaround- Manual data entry generally falls between 10,000-15,000 keystrokes per hour. If the turnaround time is below this benchmark after accounting for variations such as unusually dense text, there may be issues with your entry process.

4. Formatting- Unorganized and nonstandardized formatting can create a data disaster for your business. Even a slight error in the entry process can throw off a document's formatting.

5. Employee experience- Unless employees are dedicated data entry professionals hired specifically for the role, they will likely not enjoy extensive data entry. When employee satisfaction and engagement rates decrease, staff members are more prone to human error.

When the employee experience is consistently negatively impacted, employee turnover rates rise. The financial cost of onboarding and training a new employee is steep, and consequences to the work environment and company culture are immeasurable.

Tips to Improve Manual Data Entry

Once business professionals adequately understand data entry challenges, solutions can be implemented and maintained. Best practice tips to improve the manual data entry process include-

1. Outsourcing data entry- Many businesses choose to outsource their data to a third party company. Analyzing labor costs can help your business determine if the decision to invest in data entry services is right for your specific business needs.

Companies that focus primarily on data entry provide expertise and quality control that may not be realistic to expect from your staff members. Outsourcing has been found to increase work quality while also cutting operational costs by 30-60%.

If you do not choose to outsource your business's data entry, make sure to hire enough qualified staff members for the manual data entry process. Hiring candidates based on their data entry related skill sets and prior experience can help decrease the amount of training and development required.

2. Investing in software solutions- Document management and data management software offer a wide variety of tools and automated processes that decrease turnaround time and entry errors. Systems can quickly identify and amend sources of data inaccuracies to avoid unnecessarily accumulated expenses.

Data capture software including optical character recognition (OCR) and intelligent character recognition (ICR) can help decrease data entry workloads by up to 50%. Tools including data mining even further extend the benefits offered by data management software.

Even if your business invests in software solutions, there is still the potential for entry errors. To avoid errors, regularly update software systems or purchase software that has built in real time updates.


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  • Manual data entry is a time consuming and error-prone business process.
  • Quality control issues arise from various sources, ranging from confusing handwriting to inadequate employee training. Outsourcing data processing or implementing internal checks can greatly decrease issues with quality control. Outsourcing to data entry services can cut operational costs by 30-60% while increasing work quality.
  • Time management is improved with proper data entry, especially when there are sudden spikes in data.
  • Overall employee experience is improved when menial tasks, such as data entry, are outsourced or automated. Negative employee experience can adversely impact your business's financials, company culture, and work environment.
  • Document management and data management software decreases both workload turnaround time and entry errors. Data capture software like OCR and ICR can decrease workloads by up to 50%. Make sure to update systems regularly or purchase software with built in real time updates.

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