What is Computer-aided Facility Management?

young person staring at computer and drinking from a mug- what is a computer aided facility management

Computer-aided facility management (CAFM) is one of the most complicated and complex forms of corporate software that is making its way into the market — but it doesn’t have to be.

Struggling to sort out what CAFM is and how it differs from other forms of maintenance and management systems can be confusing. If you are soliloquising about the acronym CAFM means again, you will find your answers in this article.

What is CAFM – Computer-aided Facility Management?

CAFM stands for Computer-aided facility management. CAFM technology is mostly used around “facilities management software,” “facilities management systems,” and “FM”.

The following are used interchangeably by Facility Managers – Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS), and Enterprise Asset Management Software (EAM).

While CAFM software has some functions with these other types of software, it has evolved into its niche of specialism, with slightly distinct characteristics than CMMS, EAM, or IWMS.

This software group’s fundamental capability is CMMS. It focuses on asset maintenance scheduling and tracking. 

EAM is a long-term planning system that tracks and monitors asset conditions and profitability throughout its useability. The people that work inside the facility are the most important thing to IWMS.

The main concern of computer-assisted facilities management is the facility itself. If any of the above is still confusing, read our top facility management article, where we break down each concept/

What is a Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS)?

A Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is computer software developed to assist in the management of maintenance in a company. 

Maintenance management oversees a company’s various maintenance resources to avoid downtime due to broken or malfunctioning equipment or improper maintenance processes.

Organisations are no longer required to record maintenance data with a pencil and piece of paper. We are well past the days when maintenance was only conducted when a mechanical problem was discovered.

Everything has been moved to computers to keep track of these vital maintenance records and maintain a proper level of control. 

It allows the company to track any work orders it receives, create more accurate reporting techniques, and determine which machines will lead to positive results.

Using a CMMS may boost productivity, extend equipment life, reduce downtime, and remove tedious paperwork.

While computers will never be able to replace a qualified technician, they provide technicians more time to focus their attention and skills on maintenance rather than paperwork.

It is a computer-aided maintenance management solution with various unique features and capabilities that may be used with various systems.

What does CAFM do for businesses?

This software group’s fundamental capability is CMMS. It focuses on asset maintenance scheduling and tracking. EAM is a long-term planning system that tracks and monitors asset conditions and profitability throughout their lives. 

The people that work inside the facility are the most important thing to IWMS. The main concern of computer-assisted facilities management is the facility itself.

Essentially, CAFM technology blends business administration, behavioural science, architecture, and engineering concepts to improve your organisation’s performance. 

Computer-aided facility management can be considered a comprehensive commercial facility or building maintenance tool with various elements and functions.

Maintenance Management

CAFM, like CMMS, allows you to manage your maintenance. Routine maintenance keeps assets working at peak performance, and it is significantly less expensive than emergency repairs or even replacements. 

CAFM systems include asset monitoring modules in addition to maintenance scheduling and assistance, allowing users to maintain a close check on asset conditions.

Other CAFM tool segments use data — particularly real-time data — to assist in various forms of maintenance. 

Maximising asset management can promote comprehensive maintenance by engaging preventative maintenance, work orders, and routine operational maintenance goals. 

Since CMMS systems are typically created to evaluate various maintenance needs, this is where computer-aided facilities management is employed in conjunction with CMMS.

Information and Communication Technology

CAFM is built on the foundation of information. It uses CAD (computer-aided design) features and graphics with alphanumeric data processing, which distinguishes it from prior versions of facilities management.

Business intelligence tools and features that use data collecting and analysis are becoming increasingly popular in CAFM, as they are in many other software fields. 

Managers may use data-driven decision-making to improve every aspect of their firm using this data-centric approach to business.

CAFM makes extensive use of computer-aided design (CAD) technologies. Real estate companies, for example, can use interactive floor plans to tour potential purchasers through properties that haven’t even been completed yet.

Physical Building Administration

The resource for managing the physical infrastructure inside the facility is one of the most popular and outstanding key aspects of a computer-aided facility management system. 

Many CAFM systems, for example, can be linked to HVAC equipment, lighting, and other building infrastructure. These features enable remote management, allowing facility managers to adjust thermostats or turn on and off the window and door locks from afar. 

Others include automated meter reading and energy monitoring, so you’ll be notified straight away if your resource usage varies. It increases safety, saves money, and benefits the environment by reducing energy use.

Although most CAFM systems include these popular capabilities, many vendor descriptions do not precisely state how these functions might benefit a company. 

These crucial characteristics are sometimes hidden behind jargon like “property management services and energy consumption features.” They don’t always go out of their way to explain how CAFM systems may help with day-to-day planning in real-world scenarios.

Customers are typically excited when they learn that CAFM systems may include this type of functionality because of the labour and time savings it can provide. 

Floor Plans and Space Management

As stated by the Designing Buildings Wiki, it defines the function of CAFM as the “support the operational and strategic components of facilities management, including technical, administrative, and infrastructure responsibilities, as well as the strategic processes required for planning and administration”. 

That broad scope may appear unintentional; CAFM’s versatility allows it to be used by a wide range of businesses and organisations.

Your CAFM serves as an organised database for storing facility information. Energy consumption, construction data, a list of floorplans, important contact details, equipment situated within a given facility, fire and safety information, and so on are all included in this data. 

Users can organise this information cleanly within the CAFM, where it can be used and kept, rather than depending on paper files or Excel spreadsheets.

Many CAFM programs have features that aid in space management and resource management. Some of these have an impact on the location of various assets in a facility. 

Other considerations include making the most of the space in each area and organising commercial or industrial processes within a facility. Some of these entail personnel management. 

In general, facilities managers will tag space for a certain use and then utilise the CAFM to organise that usage in great detail.

Administrative Support

CAFM isn’t solely concerned with the nitty-gritty details of physical assets and facilities. Facilities management software also has administrative support features that can help office personnel work more efficiently.

Users can also use the package, and material monitoring features to keep track of everything that comes in and out of their facility. 

Computer-aided facility management can help you manage it safely and seamlessly, whether it’s purchasing and procurement, audit trails, hazardous materials transfer, or shipping and deliveries.

CAFM can also be used to manage your people resources. Many CAFM systems have a traffic tracking capability that allows you to log visitors and develop form templates for contractors, ensuring that everyone who enters your facility is authorised to be there! 

It offers the added benefit of boosting your organisation’s security without incurring additional costs.

Lifecycle Management

CAFM’s main purpose is to assist managers in ensuring that their company’s assets are managed properly in the most cost-effective manner possible all through the asset lifecycle.

Some characteristics of CAFM systems assist decision-makers in considering long-term needs, such as capital improvement planning. 

Administrators may utilise the CAFM platform as a roadmap for all types of asset management and predictive planning because it encompasses the building and everything in it. 

It can assist save money by increasing the efficiency of facility operations. Computer-aided facility management software is used for a variety of objectives in a variety of sectors. Some of the tools and capabilities are dependent on the client’s industry and the types of assets in the facility. 

Companies in various industries use computer-aided facilities management systems to efficiently regulate the total utilisation of a corporate facility and get proactive about asset management.

Leasing and Real Estate Management

Other components of computer-aided facility management focus on property management, including leasing, to maximise commercial real estate’s business potential. 

The right CAFM software can provide industry-specific property management solutions for anything from daily tasks like room scheduling and conference booking to long-term lease management.

More CAFM Considerations

CAFM systems and solutions and CAFM software can differ in a variety of ways, including design, capabilities, and features. 

It is critical that the company first defines the goals it wants to achieve with a CAFM system and provide representation for the team that will be running the CAFM solution. It’s also critical that all data is entered correctly to prevent inconsistencies or missing data from harming the CAFM system’s effectiveness.

A web-based front end streamlines the CAFM process, allowing the company to communicate real-time data and management information with people in many locations. 

Businesses may also build up CAFM to use the space management features first and later add asset management. As a result, when installing any CAFM system, keeping an eye on the future is critical. The network should be fast enough to carry all of the data without ever jeopardising the database.

It is also possible to restrict data access to the maintenance management system. Access to the maintenance management system can be restricted based on a worker’s specific job role, reducing the chance of corrupted data or other disasters.

The implementation of CAFM software provides a company with several maintenance management benefits that may not be fully realised until the software is fully integrated. 

CAFM solutions must be selected based on the company’s requirements and implemented in a controlled environment to provide thorough training in the processes. Management should also be assigned distinct duties concerning the many responsibilities described when implementing a CAFM solution.

A business that uses a CAFM solution may benefit from improved workplace management, productivity, and efficiency. 

The Most Effective Methods for Implementing a New CAFM System

The fun part begins after you’ve selected the best Facilities Management Software option for managing your building. 

However, all decision-makers and stakeholders must be on board before this can happen. If you work as a facilities manager, landlord, or site owner, this is especially crucial.

You’ll also have to think about the demands of the employees who will be using the equipment, such as maintenance crews and cleaning contractors. You’d need to consider the following questions:

  • Is the software simple to operate?
  • Would employees be required to learn the new system, and how long will this take?
  • Will training be offered if required, or will employees be expected to study on their own?
  • Should staff be familiar with the system’s integrated hardware and equipment, like barcode scanners?
  • Will each department have its own set of responsibilities, such as cleaning and facilities maintenance?

The decision-makers must next provide their permission. When making your argument to an executive management team, keep the following factors in view:

  • Reference to how this technology will work in the best interests of the company.
  • In your presentation, include a lot of numbers and figures, such as ROI estimates and Metrics.
  • Describe how and if existing tools can be incorporated into the project.
  • Provide a thorough plan for deployment and full integration, as well as a timeline.
  • Any dangers that may arise throughout the integration process should be highlighted.

Questions to Ask When Deploying CAFM

There are a few things to think about when developing a detailed integration plan for your new facilities management technology. For example:

What is the CAFM Software Deployment Timeline?

You may have a rough estimate of how long it will take to achieve your objectives once you’ve acquired the item. However, deploying the software can be time-consuming. As a result, make sure to schedule time for any issues you may encounter.

Is it necessary to train employees?

Without the proper training, don’t expect your CAFM tool to improve your facility’s procedures immediately. It will take time and money, so make sure to make a budget for it.

Is it possible to connect it to other systems?

Evaluate the difficulties of integrating the product with other applications such as email, calendars, data storage, and file hosting. Other programs, such as CAD systems, may take even longer to incorporate.

Is it possible to upload existing data, and how long will it take?

You may have amassed a significant quantity of information on the building’s area, maintenance work orders, and tenants. This information will need to be imported into your new structure, which can be a time-consuming task.

Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to help you, you’ll need to factor in the time it will take to accomplish the change.

What is Concept Evolution?

Concept Evolution is a browser-based CAFM/CMMS software solution. It is simple to set up and maintain, with scalability from a single property to a whole enterprise. It is used by several big service providers and direct organisations throughout the world.

Conclusion

For forward-thinking firms that use computer-aided facilities management, there are numerous advantages. Hopefully, you now have a better knowledge of the advantages and features of CAFM software.

Is this article helpful in answering your queries about CAFM (Computer-aided facility management)? What questions do you still have if that’s not the situation? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

For assistance with CAFM, call +2348144000052 or email info@eliezergroup.com. You can also visit our office.

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