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What is Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM)? Features, Pros, Cons & Costs

Table of Contents
  1. What Is Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM)?
  2. Key Features Of CAFM And The Problems They Solve
  3. What Are The Pros Of Using CAFM?
  4. What Are The Cons Of Using CAFM?
  5. How Much Does CAFM Software Cost?

With so many different day-to-day tasks and processes to keep tabs on, being a facility manager (FM) or property owner is no easy feat. However, Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) is one facility management software that has changed how the industry approaches common challenges.  

As SFG20 has been the industry standard for building maintenance since 1990, we know a thing or two about facilities management software, including Computer-Aided Facility Management.  

In this guide, we’ll help you understand what CAFM is by running through all of its features as well as all the pros and cons you need to know about.  


What is Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM)? 

Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) is a software platform which provides you with a broad overview of all your facilities management processes. This time-saving tool automates many key facilities management functions and allows you to manage your building’s assets, tools, occupants and more, all from one place. 

Instead of referring to complicated spreadsheets and physical documents which are at risk of getting lost, you can use a CAFM to easily log, report and monitor data as well as oversee the day-to-day running of your facility.  


Key Features Of CAFM And The Problems They Solve

From space planning and tracking assets to coordinating maintenance activities and more, a CAFM is a pivotal tool for anyone within a facility management team or department. We’ve outlined all of the core problem-solving features of CAFM systems below.  

  • Space Management 

CAFM systems incorporate CAD (Computer-Aided Design) which can create drawings and floor plans to visualise and analyse space utilisation across facilities, enabling smarter space planning and allocation.  

CAFM software also provides tools to monitor occupancy levels and view how frequently spaces are being used which can help you to identify where and how to expand. 

  • Room Reservations 

CAFM typically includes a room reservation module which allows you and your team to easily book and manage meeting rooms and other shared spaces. This gives you real-time visibility on the availability and occupancy status of the room to prevent double and over-booking.

  • Asset Management Man-fixing-equipment

CAFM software acts as a central hub for assets, compiling important information including specifications, locations and maintenance history. From this, you can easily track and monitor asset conditions and performance over time, helping to ensure that each asset is in working order. 

  • Inventory Tracking 

With a CAFM system, you can monitor stock levels and consumption rates of consumables items such as office supplies and cleaning materials as well as automate restock requests and track inventory movements and locations.  

  • Move Management  

CAFM systems provide move management modules which allow you to efficiently plan, execute and track equipment, furniture, people and other resources when moving from one location to another.  

This module also enables you to create workflows which can be shared with any stakeholders involved in a moving project.  

  • Contractor Management 

You can use a CAFM to oversee and collaborate with external contractors and subcontractors. As the system keeps records of contractor certifications, licenses and insurance details it can help to verify that your chosen contractor is compliant with relevant regulations.

  • Real Estate Management  

CAFMs house and maintain accurate records of lease, rent and tenure agreements and associated data such as critical release dates, terms, renewal options and costs.  

You can also configure your CAFM system to send automated notifications regarding upcoming lease renewals, expirations and other critical information.  

  • Maintenance Management  

Some but not all CAFMs also provide maintenance modules with features such as scheduling and tracking reactive and preventative maintenance tasks.  

They enable you to manage the entire work order lifecycle from creation to assignment and completion as well as track asset maintenance histories and performance data to support proactive maintenance strategies. 


What Are The Pros and Cons Of Using CAFM? 

Pros Of Using CAFM 

By centralising all of the important physical aspects of facility management on one unified platform, a CAFM can provide you with the tools and insights you need to make data-driven decisions, strengthen communication and boost productivity. Below, you’ll find all of the benefits of using a CAFM system in more detail. 

  •  Boosted Productivity And Time Management

With CAFM, there’s no need for manual, menial tasks anymore. A CAFM system can automate many tasks and routine responsibilities such as maintenance scheduling, inventory management, work order tracking and space optimisation. All of this can help to ensure the smooth running of your facility management processes and give you hours of your day back.

  • Cost Savings

CAFM provides great visibility into the underutilisation of areas across your whole facility which can uncover cost-saving opportunities such as lowering energy consumption and resource allocation. You’ll also likely be able to reduce your spending on unnecessary maintenance and repairs of assets. 

  • Strategic Decision-Making

CAFM platforms are built on real-time data and powerful analytics, equipping you with all of the necessary information to make informed decisions. CAFM software can generate management reports to provide valuable insights into various aspects of facility management, allowing you to track key performance indicators and identify areas for improvement.

  • Increased Asset Lifespan

When proactively managed, the longevity of critical assets and equipment can be maximised. Not only can this reduce the need for costly replacements, but it can also minimise downtime.    Group-of-coworkers-talking

  • Improved Employee Wellbeing

The benefits of using a CAFM are not only limited to your facility itself but also the staff who work there. For example, you can control room temperatures to keep staff comfortable and allow employees to easily book meeting rooms and report maintenance issues. By keeping all your facilities and assets well-maintained, you can create a safer, more productive staff environment which benefits employee wellbeing 

  • Improved Communication

CAFM software can give all stakeholders access to the same real-time information about a facility, sending out alerts and notifications for critical events such as upcoming leases or work order completion. 


Cons Of Using CAFM 

When considering a new facilities management tool as broad as a CAFM, it’s important to be aware of any potential challenges that it may offer. Here are the key disadvantages of CAFM solutions to know about. 

  • Complexity

As CAFM offers many features, it can be difficult to set up and may require extensive staff training, especially if your team is used to a specific way of working. 

  • Data Security

CAFM systems store a large amount of sensitive data which can be susceptible to cyber threats if not properly secured.   

  • Long Implementation Time

 Implementing a CAFM system may take a few months which could impact your team’s productivity.  

  • Potential For Errors

Overreliance on CAFM technology can cause errors if the data is not maintained accurately. 

  • Ongoing Maintenance And Updates

CAFM software requires regular maintenance, updates and backups to keep it running effectively, which can require extra time and effort. 


How Much Does CAFM Software Cost? 

The pricing for CAFM software can range from hundreds of pounds per month for basic systems to thousands of pounds for more advanced solutions, with the latter typically being available in the form of a one-time fee. 

CAFM pricing can vary depending on multiple factors including the number of sites, modules required and whether the platform is on-premise or cloud-based.


Is CAFM Software The Right Choice For You? 

So, you’ve learnt that CAFM software can help to streamline facility management operations by centralising data, but how does it compare to its close counterpart, a Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS)?

SFG20 has been raising maintenance standards for over 30 years, and it’s our mission to make sure maintenance professionals are as informed as possible.  

That's why we've created our helpful CMMS vs CAFM guide which gives you an all-out, in-depth comparison to assist you with choosing the best option for you.


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