The purpose of this Technical Specification is to define a facing identification mark (FIM), with procedures for its use, which can be used by any postal operator. It is primarily addressed to those postal operators that have not yet implemented the use of FIMs for automated facing and has been designed to minimise conflict with FIM marks that are already in use. Nevertheless, operators with existing FIMs are encouraged to consider support for migration onto this Technical Specification as and when they upgrade or replace facing equipment.
Use of the standard FIM offers the possibility for automated preparation of letters which do not carry a stamp and which arrive, in a postal facility, without being faced. These items can them be included in the domestic and international mechanised streams of mail.
This Technical Specification allows facer-cancellers and culler-facer-cancellers (or other automated equipment supporting the mail preparation function), to detect bar code-type marks enabling those machines to face and cancel items carrying the FIM. Through the incorporation of a coded value, called the FIM-code, this Technical Specification also supports segregation of FIM-marked items into up to 18 separate streams. This capability can be used to facilitate revenue control by allowing items to be segregated according the type of revenue control procedure required. For example, Business Reply items could be separated and allow accounting and cancellation to take place before, rather than after, the items are transported to their delivery office. This would simplify controls designed to prevent the sending of business reply items to addresses in other countries. However, it should be recognized that FIMs have no in-built security and an item may carry an inappropriate FIM code, resulting in it being placed in the wrong processing stream. Hence, in particular, the FIM alone cannot be relied upon as providing evidence of payment.