Although MEI sub-contracts for many technological specialties,
such as typesetting and printing, we do extensively employ appropriate technologies.
We utilize an array of technologically advanced equipment from
computers to computerized mailing equipment to provide clients with
state-of-the-art communications, administration and reporting.
We use personal computers for their more usual applications
such as word processing, accounting, and small database applications. However,
to meet the unique accounting and meeting/conference registration needs
of associations, we have written our own programs within a relational database
manager. These enable us to access critical data on-line and provide clients
with timely, easily understood reports.
More importantly, we use these computers for telecommunication.
We routinely scan a large electronic database, downloading articles and
news reports for inclusion in newsletters and publications. We download
articles and stories written by clients members and freelance writers.
Regardless of source, including material we write ourselves, we telecommunicate
text for traditional typesetting and page layout, or for further manipulation
by desktop publishing technology, saving the time, cost and inevitable errors of additional keystroking.
We also use computers for membership administration.
But in this case they are located at a computer service bureau. The program
used the Membership Management System (MMS) program was custom-designed
by us for the membership tracking, accounting and reporting needs of associations.
Under the management and guidance of MEI, the service performs all data
entry and provides four levels of security backup of the membership
data at a cost much less than doing it ourselves.
Our telephone system is equipped with a call-accounting
computer enabling us to document, by client, both number and exact cost
of all telephone calls. It uses discounted long distance networks for economy,
for routine calls as well as for teleconferences which reduce travel costs.
And each client has a minimum of two lines reserved exclusively for its
use which are answered in its name.
Routine mailing is performed in-house with the aid of
a computerized mailing machine capable of automatically calculating postage,
based on destination and weight. This machine captures exact postage use
for each client by program function, allowing program by program comparisons
of mailing costs. Alternate carriers such as UPS or Federal Express are
used when appropriate for savings in postage. For mailings of more than
200 individual pieces, we use a mailing service vendor to take advantage
of reduced postage rates and volume efficiency.
A computer controlled copier/duplicator meets day-to-day
copying needs. It tracks the number of copies provided each client by program
function (board meetings, publications, finance, etc.). Unless time is of
the essence, larger copying needs are performed at a local quick print
shop because of the time and cost savings.
We employ a fax machine for world-wide communication
MEI is technologically capable and proficient. But we
dont make the all too easy mistake of viewing technology as an end in and
of itself. Rather, we view technology as a means to an end. We employ technology,
not for its own sake, but as a business tool.