The last few decades have seen the Facilities Management industry go far beyond the mere maintenance and upkeep of buildings and fixed assets. A new outlook and a holistic approach towards FM have increased the dependency of the industry on ready availability of the information it needs to function properly. To achieve this greater information flow, facility managers today are increasingly gravitating towards upcoming and established automation technologies, some of which are already being used extensively by AEC professionals.
Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) has provided the FM industry with the tools that it needs to enhance its planning processes, operational efficiency, monitoring mechanisms and regulatory compliance. It has now become a key business tool for facility managers to accelerate the achievement of their strategic and organizational objectives.
What is CAFM?
CAFM is the creation and deployment of IT-based systems in the design-build environment for the AEC and FM industries. This technology combines Computer Aided Design (CAD) with relational database software which can now be customized to the exact requirements of the FM industry. This helps the facility manager to ensure full utilization of the organization’s assets, and consequently, reduce operational expenses. It also supports both operational and strategic facility management, which encompasses a plethora of activities, including those associated with strategic planning, administration of the building and infrastructural FM tasks.
The Major Benefits of CAFM for FM
CAFM is a technology that not only assists data flow, but also offers information in a flexible and intuitive manner. More complex data can now be stored, retrieved, combined and analyzed within a BIM integrated CAFM system. Through this, CAFM empowers decision making processes throughout the lifecycle of the facility/building. CAFM can be used to analyze data pertaining to floor plans, space utilization, energy consumption, cost efficiency, equipment maintenance and ordering, and other critical FM objectives.
Among its most significant benefits are:
- Centralization of information
- Ability to report data more comprehensively
- Ease of auditing
- Ability to take informed decisions
- Better management of the building’s operational issues
- Efficient identification and allocation of tasks for FM staff
- Better regulatory compliance
- More sustainable operations
An important thing to remember for facility managers is that, although an integrated CAFM system is quite a powerful tool, very high degrees of customization is needed for it be effective for each unique project. It behoves FM managers to gain clarity about the specific demands and priorities of the project, before going CAFM with all guns blazing.