If your organisation has people, assets and facilities to manage, chances are you need a solution for facility management. The acronyms are many and growing by the day – CMMS, CAFM, IMMP, you name it. Each one has its usage, and we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about CAFM.
What is Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM)?
CAFM stands for Computer-Aided Facilities Management. To the interested layman, one could simply say that is a software to manage assets, tools, and processes. It simplifies facility management and otherwise time-consuming tasks.
Human actions are prone to mistakes, a lot more than computer ones. If a given organisation is still using paper forms to track assets, tasks and service orders, not only it wastes a gigatonne of paper but it also falls short of compliance, efficiency, and analysis.
Differences between CAFM and CMMS
Ok, you got it, computerised management is better than pencil and paper. In all likelihood, you already know that and are proudly using a CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System). What you might not know is that a CMMS is basically Ned Stark from Game of Thrones – it seemed like a big deal when it first appeared but ultimately was just a secondary character that everyone talked about for the whole show without an important role to play.
In other words, CMMS was huge in the 1980s but nowadays is nothing more than a good idea that paved the way for a much more capable system, such as CAFM.
A CMMS is a software that manages and logs work orders or maintenance requests. In our very own CMMS ultimate guide, we tell you how it is just a system of records in its essence. Meaning, CAFM is a system focused on Facility Management as a whole, whereas CMMS is a more maintenance-oriented solution. The truth is both are valid, it just depends on the nature of your business and operations.
📝 You may also like: 10 best CMMS software in 2023
Differences between CAFM and IWMS
CAFM and IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System) are both software solutions used in facility management. While there is some overlap in functionality, they have distinct differences. Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between CAFM and IWMS:
Scope and Focus
CAFM systems primarily focus on managing and optimising the physical aspects of facilities. They typically handle tasks like space management, asset management, preventive maintenance, work order management, and basic reporting.
IWMS solutions have a broader scope and encompass a wider range of facility management functions. In addition to the features provided by CAFM, IWMS platforms often include modules for real estate management, lease administration, project management, sustainability management, and workplace analytics. IWMS emphasises a holistic approach to managing facilities and the entire workplace environment.
Integration and data centralisation
CAFM systems are generally standalone applications that focus on specific facility management tasks. They may not integrate seamlessly with other business systems and might require manual data entry or data exchange between systems.
IWMS platforms, on the other hand, are designed to integrate and centralise data from various sources, departments, and systems across the organisation. They facilitate the flow of information between different modules, providing a unified and comprehensive view of facility-related data. IWMS solutions often integrate with other business systems such as HR, finance, and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems.
CAFM software tends to have a tactical or operational focus, addressing day-to-day facility management needs. IWMS solutions offer a strategic perspective on facility management, by providing tools and analytics to support long-term planning, decision-making, and optimisation of resources. IWMS has into consideration organisational goals and space utilisation, enhancing the overall workplace experience.
Complexity and scalability
CAFM systems are typically less complex and more suitable for organisations with relatively straightforward facility management requirements. An IWMS platform is generally more robust, feature-rich, and scalable, designed to handle the complex needs of larger organisations with multiple locations, extensive real estate portfolios, and diverse facility management challenges.
Differences between CAFM and intelligent maintenance management
There’s a word we didn’t mention by now when talking about CAFM: intelligence. That’s because one cannot say that this is a system particularly powered by it. IMMP, on the other hand, means Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform, and it’s the latest technology available to maintenance managers.
Like the name itself suggests, it combines maintenance management with artificial intelligence (AI) to collect equipment data and turn it into valuable insights.
Also, Intelligent Maintenance Management Platforms are exactly that, platforms, and that’s because they can integrate more than just other tools and hardware. It is possible, with a solution like this, to leverage data to automate tasks and provide you with smart insights, time-saving predictions and suggestions.
Instead of a static bubble, we have a vibrant, live maintenance system.
Benefits of CAFM
As a cloud-based software, CAFM allows for higher efficiency in facilities management. Quicker response times, a zoomed-out perspective on issues and status, or the ability to better track your key performance indicators all drive your efficiency up.
A system such as CAFM also standardises a way of doing things, thus improving compliance and the simplification of processes. If you want to go a step further, though, an IMMP such as Infraspeak is the way to go. Here’s why.
Better risk assessment
Risk assessment is a huge part of asset management and maintenance. As a cloud-based, streamlined software, CAFM enables better and quicker decision-making, thus diminishing error margins. Not only is it a time-saving alternative to facility management, but also cost-saving.
Managing many assets, buildings, people and tools is sometimes a daunting task. It gets a lot harder if you’re chasing solutions to problems that arose instead of proactively dodging future problems.
Although reactive maintenance is possible with CAFM (don’t get us wrong, it is totally possible and a huge part of it), proactive maintenance should be a professional’s gold standard.
If you want to know more about it, please check our article on the preventive maintenance issue.
Free your facilities manager to a more strategic role
Your facility manager should play an important strategic role in your organisation. Through the use of CAFM you are empowering them, freeing them to assume a role that has a lot more thinking involved, rather than running and fuming around.
What is CAFM software used for?
CAFM can be applied to any task, organisation or people that can thrive with the aid of a facility operation tool. Regardless of the business area or industry, CAFM might play a huge role in driving your company forward. We’ll cover three cases in which CAFM can be of great use.
CAFM in Hospitality
A cloud-based, 24/7 system fits perfectly the never-ending routine of the hospitality sector. Those are businesses and sites with loads of assets, clients, tasks and workers to organise at all times. In hospitality, CAFM allows for a cost-saving, client-pleasing experience. Meet compliance, manage maintenance requests and extend your assets’ lifetime.
Communication is key in any organisation and it will be boosted through CAFM – repairs in hospitality are routine and CAFM is an integrated solution to manage, communicate and track said repairs.
CAFM in Industry and large buildings
One of the main CAFM advantages is the optimisation and standardisation of workflows. While it may be desired, yet not critical in many business areas, it is rather important in industry. Budgeting management is another aspect that should not be underlooked when choosing a CAFM solution in an industrial setup.
Contingency plans for emergencies and unanticipated scenarios are the bread and butter of a facility manager in a factory and are facilitated through computer-aided management.
The ability to track the condition of each building – or each asset in a building – in a single, easy-to-use database is key when it comes to property management. CAFM software also lets you import CAD files (computer-aided design) which is a big plus when it comes to facility management as you are quickly able to get a visual perspective on your buildings and assets. In organisations that handle large buildings or have a huge real estate portfolio, CAFM enables its management in a single, easily accessible place.