Leading service and maintenance provider, JCA, explores how advances in technology are helping to improve the efficiency of facilities management by providing greater transparency, process streamlining and better communication.
Although not a new concept, computer aided facilities management (CAFM), has constantly evolved to become one of the most efficient means of managing and monitoring a building, through a dedicated software application. With many facilities managers now being responsible for a number of business tasks, such as flexible workspace scheduling and health and safety compliance, CAFM has become an indispensable tool for managing a range of activities via a single system.
As a result, the majority of today’s CAFM packages are designed to cover a selection of actions, ranging from basic responsibilities for one individual, through to complex multiple tasks undertaken by a number of employees, who need to input information from different computers. Furthermore, advances in mobile technology now enables CAFM software to be accessed securely from anywhere, allowing employees to monitor and update information when offsite.
Making CAFM ‘mobile’ provides facilities managers with the opportunity to streamline everyday activities such as planned maintenance by making them more efficient. It also encourages a proactive approach thanks to improved communication and responsiveness. Tracking and monitoring facility-related operations via a single CAFM package also helps organisations to gain real-time insights into the performance and regulatory compliance of their buildings.
As buildings become more intelligent in their design and workplace practices such as ‘hot desking’ become the norm, CAFM has also evolved to provide organisations with a smarter, more efficient way of managing their facilities. For example, the integration of CAFM with other applications, such as building management systems (BMS) and accounting software, provides a rich source of ‘real time’ data and therefore a more accurate picture of the health of an organisation’s facilities.
Linking CAFM with building information modelling (BIM) is also gaining momentum as more organisations look to improve the efficiency of buildings. As a result, this presents an opportunity for the facilities industry to impact on a building’s whole life cost by working collaboratively with architects and contractors during the design and build phase.
With the outsourcing of facilities management services becoming standard practice, advanced CAFM packages also enable contractors to provide their clients with a complete compliance solution, as well as service level agreement (SLA) adherence, traceability and transparency. For example, products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, utilised by JCA, integrates asset management, preventative maintenance and work order management, as well as mobile working functionality, collaboration and analytics into a single CAFM platform.
From a contractor’s perspective, utilising CAFM to support asset management is fundamental to ensuring successful contract delivery. As a provider of mechanical and electrical maintenance services, the asset management capability offered by Dynamics 365 is especially valuable to JCA when it comes to delivering planned preventive maintenance (PPM). Dynamics 365 supports this requirement by storing comprehensive asset profiles with granular detail such as manufacturer and warranty information, installation date and condition, as well as operational ratings, health and safety details, remedial summaries and galleries of date-stamped photographs. By doing so, Dynamics 365, supports JCA’s objective of providing clients with meaningful information in real-time, as well as the business intelligence to analyse and share data with clients on the performance of their maintenance operation.
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