Among the many new forms of enterprise software making their way onto markets, computer-aided facility management software, or CAFM software, is one of the most mysterious, and one of the most complex. For some executives, it’s confusing to try to figure out what CAFM is and what it does. This isn’t exactly helped by the fact that CAFM also goes by the general terms facilities management software, facility management software and FM, and is sometimes used interchangeably with CMMS, which stands for computerized maintenance management system. So what does CAFM technology do for businesses?
On the most general level, computer-aided facility management software is designed to help plan everything for a building or facility, including almost every aspect of day-to-day operations. It can be helpful to think of computer-aided facility management as a comprehensive commercial facility or building maintenance tool, with many different facets and functions.
Physical Building Administration
One of the most popular and most impressive core systems of a computer-aided facility management system is its resource for handling the actual infrastructure inside the facility. For example, many CAFM systems are linked to HVAC equipment, lights and other infrastructure within the building. Some of these allow for remote management, where facility managers can set thermostats or turn window and door locks on and off remotely.
Although these are some of the most popular features of these systems, many descriptions of the systems by the vendors themselves don’t specifically point out how these types of functionality can help a company. Too often, they hide these essential features in jargon like “property management services and energy consumption features,” instead of spelling out that CAFM solutions actually help with day-to-day planning in these real and practical ways. But when customers figure out that CAFM systems can come with this type of functionality, it’s often adopted with enthusiasm for its labor-saving and time-saving potential.
Floor Plans and Space Management
Many other parts of CAFM tools are designed to help with space management and resource allocation. Some of these affect where various assets are placed in a facility. Other aspects look at how to utilize the space within each room, or how to lay out commercial or industrial processes within a facility. Some of these involve workforce management. Generally speaking, facility managers tag a space for a particular use, and use the CAFM to orchestrate that use in detail.
Leasing and Property Maintenance
Other aspects of computer-aided facility management look at property management, including leasing, to optimize the business use of commercial real estate. Other specific segments of CAFM tools utilize data, specifically real-time data, to aid in various types of maintenance. For example, it can promote comprehensive maintenance, such as engaging preventive maintenance, work orders and routine operational maintenance goals to optimize asset management. This is where computer-aided facility management gets used in conjunction with CMMS, as CMMS systems are generally built for the evaluation of various maintenance needs.
Some features of CAFM systems help decision makers consider long-term needs, for example, planning for capital improvements. The idea is that since the CAFM platform covers not only the building but everything in it, administrators can use it as a roadmap for all kinds of asset management and predictive planning. This can help save money, making whatever happens in a facility happen more efficiently.
Computer-aided facility management is used in a wide range of industries for many different purposes. Some of the specific tools and functionality depend on the client’s industry and what kinds of assets are working in the facility. Companies in many different fields use computer-aided facility management to effectively control the overall use of a business facility and get serious about improving their asset management.