Tuesday, September 09, 2008

To queue or not to queue

One of the assumptions about electronic recording that I’ve been operating under is that for the system to reach a mature, fully utilized state, we must first have an electronic queuing system that regulates the order of walk-in customers and electronically submitted documents. Now I’m not so sure if that’s necessary. In theory, the queue is a good idea. When a walk-in customer arrives at the registry, he first stops and a registration kiosk and enters his name and the number of documents he has to record after which he is assigned a sequential number representing his place in the queue. Incoming electronic recordings would automatically be assigned numbers in the same queue. Registry recording clerks would process the documents in the order presented by the queue. This would keep electronic recordings that arrived at busy times from being neglected in favor of human beings standing in line with documents to be recorded. While such a queue would prevent e-recordings from being forgotten, there are other ways to accomplish that same task that don’t carry the downside of the queue. What down side? What if a major national lender suddenly sends two dozen mortgages electronically. They would take up 24 places in the queue and all would have to be processed by the registry staff before any customer who subsequently arrived in person could be waited on. That’s not how it works now. Today, a customer with many documents goes to a single recording terminal and we begin entering his documents while the next customers go to other recording terminals without having to wait for the first customer to have all of his documents recording. A queuing system would prevent us from doing even that. What is required is a disciplined approach to processing electronic recordings that handles them quickly but with common sense.