Keeping up with the mail can be a colossal task. To make sure significant correspondence is answered swiftly but carefully, $6.8-million Measurement Specialties Inc. has a two-step system, says Donald Weiss, CEO of the Fairfield, N.J., manufacturer of measurement devices.

First, within 24 hours a short note goes out to the party saying the letter was received and to expect further correspondence by a specified date -- usually within a week. Next, the person in charge of the project that the letter concerns drafts a follow-up letter and lets it sit for a day before sending it around the office for others to read. In the case of proposal writing, the CFO might review the document for overhead expenses, a secretary for grammar, and an engineer for technical specifications.

"Too many companies dash off a reply," says Weiss. "Our customers are prepped for a timely response. And we avoid shooting from the hip."