What is CAFM?

CAFM diagram

Computer-aided facility management is software that helps facility leaders ensure their buildings are in excellent working condition so that occupants are kept comfortable and space is utilized for maximum efficiency.

CAFM software offers these key benefits:

  • Manage assets and equipment
  • Improve communication
  • Automate routine processes and maintenance workflows
  • Improve time management
  • Reduce space and maintenance costs

Why use CAFM software?

CAFM software schedule request screenshot

Automate routine processes and maintenance workflows

With CAFM software, you can set up work orders, event and schedule requests, and more to route to the appropriate person automatically. This increases efficiency and declutters requesters’ inboxes.

Improve time management

A CAFM system helps you prioritize tasks and assign work orders to your team based on their availability and the work order's level of importance. Storing information in the system regarding how something was fixed in the past also decreases time spent on work orders. This keeps your team on track, ensures that need-to-have request items are being worked on first, and decreases overall work order resolution time.

CAFM equipment benefits

Manage assets and equipment

CAFM software ensures your equipment and assets are running as efficiently as possible. Time-based and meter-based preventive maintenance reminds your team when it’s time to service equipment at a frequency of your choosing to keep downtime to a minimum.

Reduce space and maintenance costs

Reports and dashboards allow your team to track labor hours, maintenance costs, equipment downtime, space management costs, and more. Analyzing these reports allows you to make data-driven decisions regarding new equipment purchases, labor allocation, and space planning to increase productivity and cut costs.

CAFM mobile work order request form

Improve customer & occupant satisfaction

Those who work, visit, or occupy your buildings expect the facilities to be comfortable, clean, and in tip-top shape. Using a CAFM system ensures everything is in operating order, which increases satisfaction.

Reduce energy-related expenses

A CAFM system allows you to turn equipment, lights, and HVAC systems on and off based on your needs. This reduces your facilities’ "uptime" and ultimately decreases energy consumption and costs.

CAFM software

Improve communication

CAFM software allows you to respond proactively with requesters and allows requesters to respond to you. This open line of communication increases transparency, keeps requesters in-the-loop on their work orders, and creates a record of the conversation for future reference.

Improve vendor and contract management

Vendors and contractors can be added to CAFM software and see the same information that employees can see. This creates transparency, and allows an open line of communication between your in-house team and your contractors.

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Features and benefits of computer-aided facility management

Work Order Management

Work order management streamlines maintenance processes, which ultimately decreases maintenance response and resolution times, equipment downtime, and costs for your organization. Facilities management software automatically assigns requests to the appropriate technician and creates dashboards to measure your most important metrics so that you can focus more on performing maintenance and less on managing it.

Asset & Equipment Management

Asset and equipment management ensures that your assets are properly maintained to minimize breakdowns and increase efficiency. Items that fall under this category range from sinks, HVAC systems, lighting, and security systems to manufacturing equipment. Managing assets and equipment keeps your occupants, employees, and visitors comfortable and safe.

Space Management

Space management optimizes the use of physical space within facilities. By managing your space, you are able to fill it as effectively as possible for organizational operations, tenants and occupants, and people who visits your facilities.

Preventive & Scheduled Maintenance

If you have assets or equipment that need serviced on a regular basis, a CAFM solution can set up recurring tasks to occur at time-based or meter-based intervals of your choosing. You can also set up other facilities tasks that occur on a regular basis.

Parts Inventory Management

Inventory management ensures that the right parts and pieces are available whenever and wherever they are needed, which ultimately decreases equipment downtime, stockouts, and storage costs. A successful system will allow you to “use” inventory items when working on maintenance tasks, so that your inventory levels are kept up-to-date in real time, and alert you when an item is reaching its reorder point.

Facility Scheduling

If your facility is often used for community events, you can use CAFM software as your reservation and billing platform. The software detects conflicting events, allows requesters to detail necessary inventory for their event, and immediately notifies your team of any updates.

Which industries use CAFM software?

Differences between CAFM and CMMS

CAFM software and CMMSs have similar purposes, but each has its own set of unique capabilities.

CAFM solutions give leaders an overall look into how their facilities are running and ways to optimize them. Typical functions of facilities management software include scheduling equipment repairs, proactively planning preventive maintenance initiatives, managing inventory, and scheduling rooms and resources for events.

CMMS software is more focused on the maintenance and overall operations of facilities, and is considered a subset of CAFM. It helps maintenance leaders keep track of maintenance costs, inventory, labor costs, and more to provide the foundation for making data driven maintenance management decisions.

CAFM software options to consider

In order for you to gain the most value out of a CAFM system, people need to actually be able to use it, which makes ease-of-use extremely important. When requesters dive into the system, they should be able to intuitively create a work order or reserve a room without any training. A simple interface allows anyone in your organization to submit a request, and then track its progress, for optimal efficiency. The more the system is used, the better the results your department will achieve.

Ensure the vendor you choose has all the functionality you need it to have. A flexible solution is oftentimes the best choice, because workflows that fit your organization’s unique needs can be created. However, if constant workarounds need to be made in order to achieve the functionality you would like, then that vendor is probably not the right fit for you.

A team that is ready to support you as you navigate a new system is crucial to your success. Questions will arise and issues will occur, but if you have a support team that’s ready to help you tackle all of your facility and maintenance goals, you will run into minimal (if any) bumps. When conducting research, ask what happens in the case of an emergency if it’s outside of support hours, what the average response time for a ticket is, and what their customer satisfaction rating is. Answers to these questions will help you choose the solution that puts your needs first.

Ask about the implementation process and what is required of you versus what the vendor is responsible for. If they have an entire guide to walk you through the process and have already identified major roadblocks and how to overcome them, that’s a great foundation for success.

Choosing a cloud-based system opens up a world of benefits for you and your team. Cloud-based systems allow you to work anytime, anywhere, on any device, and they tend to have a cheaper upfront cost than on-premises solutions. In addition, they have very quick implementation times and updates are made available automatically with no installations required.

Choosing CAFM software

CAFM features

1. Determine your facilities management needs and goals

What’s working and what’s not working in your current facilities management processes? Creating a list for these two categories will help you determine what your needs and goals are when choosing a solution. Be sure to define your goals in terms of maintenance management, return on investment, event management, increases in productivity, safety improvements, and any other goals that are important to your organization.

2. Assess user interface and features

With your end goals in mind, you can begin to evaluate vendors. When you’re doing your initial research, make sure the interface is user friendly and that the software has all of the features you need to be successful. You can quickly narrow your choice down to a few vendors based on this preliminary research.

Related: Software Advice CAFM Buyer's Guide

3. Demo and explore

Once you have a handful of vendors who made it past the first round, it’s important to hop on a call with product experts to learn more about each option. Be sure to let them know of the goals you outlined in step 1 as this will help determine whether or not their software is the best solution for you. This is also the time to ask any questions you may have in order to help make your decision.

4. Make the case to decision makers

To make the case for a CAFM solution, you first need to outline the drawbacks of your current system. What’s not working, and why does this warrant a change? If you have an idea of what great looks like, this will motivate decision makers to help you achieve it.

Discuss your favorite vendor and how they will help you reach those goals. Relating this back to the return on investment the system should help your department achieve isn’t a bad idea either. Everyone loves to save a little money!

Top CAFM vendors comparison

The FrontRunners quadrant on Software Advice by Gartner highlights leaders in usability and customer satisfaction in CAFM software.

CAFM Software Gartner quadrant: leaders are eWorkOrders, FMX, MaintainX, Asset Panda, and Facilitron

Source: Current FrontRunners quadrant in the Top Facilities Management Software category, July 2020, Software Advice by Gartner.

According to customer reviews submitted on popular review sites Capterra and Software Advice, this is how top CAFM vendors compare across key categories.

Sources:

  1. 1 Capterra
  2. 2 Software Advice by Gartner
  3. 3 Average score based on both review sources
FMX eMaint UpKeep Dude Fiix
Functionality 2 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.0 4.5
Customer support 1 4.9 4.5 4.8 4.6 4.4
Value for money 2 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.0 4.5
Ease of use 1 4.7 4.2 4.6 4.1 4.4
Overall 3 4.69 4.43 4.66 4.25 4.49

Sources:

  1. 1 Capterra
  2. 2 Software Advice by Gartner
  3. 3 Average score based on both review sources

Learn more about FMXfacilitymanager, the top-rated CAFM solution designed to help you automate routine processes, manage maintenance, improve communication, and more.

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