What Is Facilities Management Software?
Facilities Management Software - or Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM Software) - enables property owners and facility managers to track, manage, and analyse building operations data in one system. This allows users to:
- Plan and schedule work orders
- Track assets within buildings and between sites
- Log jobs and schedule proactive maintenance
- Efficiently plan and manage space
- Meet health and safety compliance
- Manage in-house/outsourced workforce and contractors
- Track energy consumption and meet sustainability goals
Facilities Management Software is primarily designed to store your FM and building data in a more organised and accessible system. This allows landlords and building owners to oversee all activities to help improve decision-making. A CAFM system is particularly useful when it comes to managing multiple properties, with over 80% of Comparesoft users being responsible for more than 1 site.
Ultimately, building management tools are utilised to sustain and improve the well-being of occupants - alongside improving employee productivity and implementing a cost-efficient facility strategy. They are deployed in schools, hospitals, warehouses, commercial and office buildings, manufacturing plants, real estate property, and retail stores.
Although some landlords and FMs may choose to manage their building operations using spreadsheets or notepads, they risk being left behind when leveraging technology to improve the facility management process as a whole.
What Are the Benefits of Using Facilities Management Software?
Paperless Work Order Assignment & Planning
Facility managers receive multiple work order requests throughout a single day, which can be overwhelming when working with spreadsheets or notepads. With access to a CAFM system, however, work order management becomes a lot easier. Particularly when assigning, planning, and scheduling work orders.
A CAFM system provides FMs with maintenance data, contractor and technician information, and real-time job-tracking capabilities to help carry out planned maintenance, inspections, safety checks, and equipment repairs as efficiently as possible. From one dashboard, they can:
- Priotirise maintenance jobs
- See what labour and workforces are available
- Assign the right skilled professionals
- Allocate work to field engineers and external contractors
- Schedule regular tasks such as cleaning and landscaping
Keep Track of Your Facility Assets
From schools and hospitals to offices and manufacturing plants, building spaces are packed full of valuable, moveable, and physical assets. Facilities Management Software has the asset tracking capabilities to ensure greater visibility when it comes to managing assets. Facility assets come in the form of common appliances, desks, printers, computers, tools, safety equipment, mobile devices, keys, and vehicles.
As well as tracking physical assets through the use of IoT devices and tagging options (such as Barcodes, RFID tags, and GPS trackers), asset tracking functions enable FMs to create an asset register that tracks the asset life cycle, maintenance, and depreciation values of each asset.
Track & Log Jobs in Real-Time
Modern CAFM systems come with built-in job-tracking capabilities. This allows facility managers to log and track jobs in real-time to improve their workforce management - whether in-house or outsourced. This allows FMs to:
- Log new maintenance jobs
- Get real-time reporting
- Track job statuses
- Produce digital checklists for engineers
Schedule Planned Preventive Maintenance
Facilities Management Software makes it easy for FMs to plan and schedule a building’s maintenance activities. By collecting and reporting on maintenance and usage data, facility managers can report on when maintenance is required, how much it will cost, and how long it will be down. This streamlined approach allows for a planned preventative approach to maintenance - also known as PPM.
Preventive maintenance strategies can considerably reduce repair and breakdown costs and help avoid downtime of assets. In particular, equipment that promotes a good workplace environment such as HVAC units, elevators, and waste systems. Equipment downtime costs facilities between 5% and 20% of their productive capacity.Discover the benefits of a PPM strategy
Ensure Health & Safety In the Workplace
Health and safety protocols are in place to protect the well-being of employees and ensure the workplace is safe. Facilities Management Software makes it easier to conduct regular risk assessments of a building that focus on top health and safety challenges such as fire safety, electrical and gas, access to drinking water, and asbestos. Routine safety inspections can also be logged to ensure the safety of occupants.
Connecting & Leveraging IoT With Facilities Management Software
CAFM systems have the functionality to store data that has been collected from IoT devices situated around a facility. Each system can link to temperature and vibration sensors, security RIFD tags, smart energy metres, space monitoring tools, and more. This makes it ideal for implementing condition-based or preventative maintenance strategies. As well as ensuring occupier well-being targets are being met when it comes to space management and design.
Carefully Plan, Design, & Manage Space
Effectively managing facility space requires multiple actions and data collecting. Including occupancy tracking, room scheduling, and space management. With Facilities Management Software, data is stored in one accessible system, allowing facility managers to organise, plan, and supervise physical spaces. With the goal to improve occupant productivity and well-being.
Video: Head of Workspace Solutions, Laura Wright, talks about the importance of prioritising space planning to reduce silos and bring office employees together in communal areas.
Space management capabilities are particularly handy for real estate and commercial properties such as office workplaces and self-storage facilities. Effective space management means large spaces don’t go unused, resulting in reduced costs. A CAFM system also provides an easy way to identify floor layouts for occupants and equipment to see when a room is over-occupied or underutilised.
Track Energy Consumption
Building owners are faced with unpredictable and often volatile energy consumption costs, with fuel bills increasing by 54% between 2021 and 2022. Depending on the size, a business’s annual energy bill ranges from £4,837 to £14,124. The best way to get a handle on energy usage and costs is by tracking consumption in a facility management system.
With the use of trackers and smart metres, FMs can identify where the most energy is being used and why. This helps to curb usage through a facility and helps promote a greener and more sustainable facility operation.Learn how to manage your energy consumption
Core Facilities Management Software Features
Work Order Assignment/Planning
Energy Management & Tracking
Multiple Operations Have Benefited From Using CAFM Software
Facility Management Software provides the tools that enable office managers to improve and statin the productivity and well-being of office employees. From managing budgets and booking meeting rooms to refilling office supplies and maintaining IT equipment; an office manager can benefit from the use of a CAFM system. 73% of employees said well-managed office spaces helped them perform better.
Warehousing & Logistics
With CAFM Software, warehouse managers can ensure they’re compliant with health and safety measures while also running a more cost-effective operation. A sophisticated building management system is particularly useful for outsourced supply chains, allowing floor managers to plan and schedule cleaning, fire safety, and hygiene solutions.
Residential & Housing
A Facilities Management Software tool can be to landlords, tenants, estate agents, and management companies, allowing for better communication when it comes to managing residential facilities. This allows for greater efficiency over cleaning services, property landscaping, pest control, and maintenance (such as lifts and roof repairs).
Schools & Education Facilities
A digital building management solution provides a better opportunity for schools to perform facilities management within a limited budget. By effectively managing the condition of school buildings and sites, providing teachers with the right teaching equipment, and improving the safety of pupils, the overall teaching environment and level of education can benefit.
Brick & Mortar Retailers
Facilities management goes a long way to improving the customer and POS experience when implemented in retail stores. Shop managers can plan and schedule cleaning and maintenance during out-of-work hours. Ensuring the shop floor is clean and safe for customers while keeping restrooms and amenities available for employees.
Hospitals & Healthcare
The regular scheduling of cleaning and hygiene services is paramount in healthcare settings. Hospital and ward managers can use CAFM Software for work order assignment and planning to ensure clean and safe environments, which contributes to better patient care. Users can also track valuable medical equipment and manage the correct disposal of medical waste.
Video: David Jones talks about the best practices for setting a good FM culture in the healthcare sector and how to drive team appreciation alongside doctors and nurses.
Industrial & Manufacturing Plants
Like most facilities, a Plant Manager will use Facilities Management Software to plan for cleaning and safety services. They must ensure the health and safety of both employees and visitors while also implementing security controls. This helps to keep a plant running at its most efficient and productive.
Decide Who Has Access to Your CAFM System
Facilities Management Software can be as accessible or restricted as you want it to be. Access can be given to dedicated personnel regarding reports, maintenance plans, work order data, and contractor information.
|• Building Owners||• Property Owners|
|• Landlords||• Facility Directors/Managers|
|• Estate Managers||• Tenants|
Back Office Staff
|• Administrators||• Receptionists|
|• Assistants||• Office Managers|
|• Space Managers||• Coordinators|
Field Staff & Contractors
|• Engineers||• Technicians|
|• Electricians||• Plumbers|
|• Cleaners||• Landscapers/Gardeners|
|• Security staff||• Catering teams|
8 Tips For Finding the Best Facilities Management Software
1. Actively Seek Out a Free Trial or Live Demo
Accessing free trials and live demos can make the difference between choosing vendor ‘A’ over vendor ‘B’. Usually, an online demo will be the first interaction with a product and may be accompanied by a salesperson willing to answer your questions. You can use a free trial to highlight a product’s strengths and weaknesses and help to understand if the product will meet your facilities management goals.
2. Consider All Key Areas of Facilities Management Software
Key areas to consider from a CAFM system include:
- A clear user interface that is easy to navigate
- Desired features
- Support team information
- Training (either video tutorials or web-based classes)
- A vendor’s prior experience in the same industry
- GDPR compliance with occupant and personnel data
3. Cross-Check With Your Requirements
You need to be sure that a CAFM product will match your initial requirements. This can be done by cross-checking each requirement and asking questions like;
- Can the product provide the right features to improve workflow and communication?
- Does it offer the right reporting tools to track and reduce ongoing costs?
- Will it provide a notification-style system that alerts staff to work orders?
- Can the system migrate occupant, equipment, and maintenance data?
- Can it work with IoT-enabled devices, such as GPS trackers and smart heating systems, to provide real-time data?
- Is it a cloud-based solution that allows personnel to access data via a mobile device?
4. Ask About Prices, Plans, and Hidden Costs
For a greater return on investment, a product shouldn’t cost more than it can provide. You should seek out pricing plans for each product as well as highlight extra fees for factors such as data storage limits and implementation.
5. Enquire About CAFM Software Deployment Timescales
Deploying Facilities Management Software can be a lengthy process. It requires data to be migrated, employees to be trained, and systems to be updated. Timescales can be extended if it is being deployed across multiple buildings.
6. Know What Employee Training Is Available
Training can be time-consuming, but it’s an important part of deploying a new CAFM tool. To ensure a business is getting the most from its product, all staff need to know how to use it. This not only requires time but can also be an extra expense.
7. Does It Integrate With Other Systems?
Most Facilities Management Software can be integrated with other tools such as CAD and BIM systems, email programs, calendars, and data storage. Integrating a new system can provide various challenges including time constraints and further employee training.
8. Can You Migrate Existing Facilities Data?
A building owner has various amounts of facility management data to hand. Whether that be floor plans, occupant data, or contractor information. Migrating that data to a new system can be time-consuming, especially if existing data is stored in files, on spreadsheets, or on notepads.