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Times, They Are a’Changing

The essence of Jim Thomas’ Plain Talk column in the March issue of SN, “A Matter of Choice,” is that, with regard to the sources of income for ASTM, matters are to stay as they are and always have been: a model tested and not found wanting.

But “Times, they are a'changing” as the song goes, and ASTM is very busy doing just that: ASTM is going electronic!

Which is of course quick, easy, and efficient!

However, it is nowhere ever mentioned in his article that these electronic procedures would also be extremely cost-effective for ASTM. No more costs for material (paper, envelopes, copier supplies), employee labor (copying, sorting, packaging), and postage for all the ASTM mailings to the membership!

It is the other way ’round: these new electronic media procedures will raise the costs for ASTM’s voluntary work force to come into the possession of the various publications.

The stakeholders/investors (as Mr. Thomas calls ASTM members) will have to get online (need access to a computer and telephone line) to visit the Web site (Internet connection fees), then download the publications (telephone costs and computer space) and print the documents (paper and ink). For it is no secret that this ASTM work is mostly done during the member’s own time at home and not during their company’s working hours.

In summary, it is my opinion that because ASTM’s new electronic procedures are resulting in a substantial decrease in operating costs, ASTM should give some consideration to the possibility of sharing part of this cost reduction with their unpaid workers.

Tony Kylstra-Tissot
Chairman F07.07 on Qualification Testing of Aircraft Cleaning Materials

[We would like to correct a common misconception: 83 percent of ASTM members say they interact with ASTM via e-mail or the web primarily at their workplace, not at home. Almost all ASTM members have e-mail, and most, 98 to 99 percent, have Web access.

ASTM has indeed saved some costs in postage and mailing by posting material on the web, instead of mailing it. As this trend continues, our postal and mailing costs should decrease. But going electronic also entails new costs for ASTM, including html and Web database development; customer and member help desks; and 24/7 operation. If the net effect of this electronic transition is lower overall costs, ASTM members and customers will no doubt be the beneficiaries. —Editor] //

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