What Is Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM)?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 27, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to pursue a career in facilities management, learning about the software you may use can be helpful. Companies typically use computer-aided facility management (CAFM) software to stay organised and work more efficiently. Understanding the features, uses, benefits, and challenges of this software can help you impress employers and improve your chances of getting a job in facilities management. In this article, we explain what CAFM software is, discuss its features and capabilities, review the benefits, and read challenges of using this software.

What is computer-aided facility management (CAFM)?

Companies use computer-aided facility management software to plan their day-to-day operations effectively. This software helps businesses plan, execute, and monitor activities like asset management, space and move management, preventative maintenance, operational facility services, customer services, and room reservations. Facility managers are typically responsible for operating this software, automating many parts of their job so they can focus on more specialised tasks. This software can be useful in every industry as it helps any company with physical premises streamline their operations.

Here are some ways companies may use CAFM software:

  • assessing the company's inventory to reorder supplies on time

  • showing employees which board rooms are available to reserve

  • planning building layouts to determine how to use the space effectively

  • seeing the location, history, condition, and value of the company's assets like computers or printers

  • managing work orders from apartment tenants to address them by priority

  • storing third-party contractors' information to contact them easily

Related: What Is CAD? (What Industries Can Benefit from Its Use?)

Features and capabilities of CAFM software

While there are different types of CAFM software, they often share similar features and capabilities, such as:

Space planning and management

Businesses can upload information about their facilities to their CAFM software, like floor plans or equipment location. This allows them to use the software to determine the best layout for their workspaces. Companies can create hypothetical layouts to see how furniture or equipment may look in different places to optimize their space.

CAD drawings

Computer-aided design (CAD) drawings are 2D or 3D graphics. CAFM software can create these drawings to help companies visualize their building's layout more effectively. This helps teams see where equipment, assets, furniture, and safety materials are, which can be useful for creating a building layout. It also makes searching for assets easier.

Related: What Is a Drawing in Engineering? (And How to Create One)

Asset management

Businesses can upload assets their CAFM software, such as computers, laptops, televisions, or tablets. This helps them keep an updated inventory of their assets. It also helps businesses assess how their assets are performing to plan maintenance work when necessary.

Related: Management Tools: Definition, Benefits, and Examples

Leasing and real estate management

Real estate companies can use CAFM software to optimize their properties. CAFM databases can include information about tenants' leases and contract status, making it easy for property managers to assess. Property owners may even give their tenants access to the CAFM software to input their needs, like maintenance requests.

Capital project management

CAFM software helps businesses plan and manage new projects. Companies can easily assess their assets, equipment, and property to plan their project's budget, space constraints, and resource needs. This helps companies start and finish projects more efficiently with minimal errors.

Related: 11 Free Project Management Software Tools and Their Benefits

Energy performance analysis

CAFM software can assess a company's energy usage and performance. Once a company uploads its utility bill, the CAFM software notes its energy use and compares it to other same-sized facilities to assess the company's environmental impact. This helps companies find ways to improve sustainability practices and reduce energy costs.

Maintenance management

As CAFM software monitors how a company's assets are performing, it can determine the best time to conduct maintenance. Companies can use this software to schedule regular maintenance operations to enhance their assets and property. The software may prompt employees to conduct the maintenance by providing detailed instructions. For example, employees may receive a prompt to restart their computer as soon as they turn it on to ensure it receives the necessary software updates.

Related: What Are Maintenance Costs? (With Definition and Examples)

Space reservations

If a company rents out parts of its facility to employees, tenants, or customers, they can use CAFM software to do this effectively. People who want to rent out or reserve the space can access the CAFM software to see what's available. They can then choose a date and time to start their reservation or schedule a viewing. The software can then prompt employees to accept or deny this reservation request.

Vendor management

If a company works with vendors, contractors, or suppliers, it can use CAFM software to manage their data. Companies can upload vendors' contact information or invite them to use the software to communicate more efficiently. Once a company adds their vendors to the system, they can view their progress on upcoming orders or projects.

Related: What Is Vendor Management? (Including Stages and Benefits)

Incident tracking

Companies can use their CAFM software to track incidents, like an employee getting injured on the job. The software may prompt users to complete an incident report that managers or human resources specialists can then view and access at a later time. This helps keep incident tracking organized, ensuring companies are prepared for inspections or audits.

Physical building administration

CAFM software can connect to lock systems, lighting, equipment, and HVAC units within a company's facility. This allows facility managers to operate these systems from anywhere, even outside of the building. Not only is this more convenient than approaching these systems separately, but if any employees or tenants forget to turn equipment off, the facility manager can easily do it for them.

Benefits of CAFM software

Here are some of the benefits of using CAFM software:

Increased safety

CAFM software helps companies manage and maintain their equipment more efficiently. This can reduce the chance of equipment malfunctioning, which can cause employee injuries. This means CAFM software can help make a facility safer, reducing workplace accidents.

Prolonged asset lifespans

CAFM software prompts users to conduct preventative maintenance on companies' assets. This can typically increase the asset's performance, but also its lifespan. Using assets for longer can help companies save money and improve sustainability efforts.

Related: Examples of Assets (With Definition and Valuation Methods)

Cost savings

Companies can save money in a number of ways by using CAFM software. If equipment is breaking down less frequently, companies can spend less money on repairs or replacements. If companies organize their facility using CAFM software, they can minimize excess capacity and capitalize on their space. Finally, if companies use CAFM software to analyze their energy consumption, they can find ways to lower this consumption and save money.

Centralized data

Companies often collect a lot of data about their assets, equipment, facilities, projects, and vendors. Uploading this information to their CAFM software allows companies to access everything in one place. This makes it easier to find the right data and organize it into relevant reports.

Strategic planning

Companies can use CAFM software to plan projects more efficiently before starting them. This can reduce the risk of errors throughout the project, saving time and money. Companies can also strategically plan their workspaces before physically moving furniture or equipment, which can also save time.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning? (With Benefits)

Improved communication

Many companies choose to communicate with employees or vendors using CAFM software. The software sends notifications so teams can address messages quickly. Property managers can also use this software to store tenant information and communicate with them. This makes it easy for tenants to request help or ask questions and allows property managers to answer all their queries in one place.

Challenges of CAFM software

While CAFM software has plenty of benefits, it also has some drawbacks, such as:

  • High initial cost: Purchasing and setting up CAFM software can be expensive initially. This software typically has a high return on investment, as it helps companies save money long term.

  • Implementation can be time-consuming: As CAFM software includes many features, implementing it can be time-consuming. Companies are required to transfer all their relevant data to the software and teach employees or tenants how to use it, which can be time-consuming but only occurs once.

  • Internet is necessary: Most CAFM software is web-based, so companies need the internet to access it. This means if the internet goes out temporarily, companies may not have access to important data.

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