Acronyms with the facilities and maintenance management industry are becoming a more common occurrence, and in this respect the software industry is no different.
Although facilities management systems can be referred to by a few different terms such as FM software, IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System), CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management system), the most commonly used acronym in the UK is CAFM – or Computer-Aided Facilities Management.
What is CAFM?
CAFM is a software programme that can be used to manage the facilities, assets and workspace within your company. Traditionally this took place on paper, or using an Excel spreadsheet. At a time when facilities managers and their stakeholders expect immediate access to accurate, real time data and reporting, the use of spreadsheets for capturing FM information continues to lose impact and relevance in the business world, and FM software has become a tried and trusted way to manage facilities.
Why use a CAFM system?
CAFM software, such as Service Works’ powerful, modular system called QFM, provides facilities managers with information at their fingertips. From keeping track of asset maintenance and managing work requests, to locating engineers in the field using GPS technology, you can choose to implement the elements that are needed within your organisation.
Almost all FM software applications are capable of monitoring and helping with planning in the following areas:
• FM – buildings/people/services/resources/contractors including help desks
• Asset management – buildings/plant/equipment
• Property/space management – rentals, leases, space usage, churn and move management
• Workspace management – conference/meeting room/visitor/car park bookings, including management of associated services (e.g. catering) and cross-charging/invoicing
• Sustainability – environmental management and control
Once information on one of more of these aspects is captured centrally, a facilities manager can use the data to easily monitor and report on performance, cost and service quality, as well as being able to communicate this in a timely manner to managers, engineers and stakeholders.
CAFM also retains a full history of maintenance activities, with all actions time and date stamped. So in addition to accurate data it also creates a reliable audit tool from which facilities managers can use to ensure their compliance to SLAs and key health and safety legislation. And what’s more, transitioning to CAFM doesn’t mean your current data becomes obsolete, it can be imported into the new system to ensure operational continuity.
How easy is it to use CAFM software?
A new FM software system is a powerful tool which can increase the efficiency and ROI of many FM processes. Making the transition from paper or spreadsheets might seem a daunting task but a good software service provider will be able to manage much of the work for you and show you the ropes. Modern systems are designed to be as intuitive as possible, to reduce the amount of training time required and increase staff uptake. For example, QFM’s self-service module boasts a clean graphical interface, meaning users can select from images rather scroll through a list to allow quick job logging, submit time sheets or book a room with minimal difficulty.