A Plain English Guide to Facility & Asset Management Software

The MicroMain Blog is proud to present another edition of our guest blogger series. We’re reaching out to third party industry experts for their take on maintenance management and how it can complement a quality CMMS system. In this guest blog, Ashley Halligan, a software analyst at Software Advice, met with three industry experts to compose a layperson’s guide to Facility & Asset Management software.

The range of software solutions within the maintenance and facility management sectors can be overwhelming. These systems, which have some overlapping functionality, have left some buyers understandably confused.

To help clarify the difference between the types of systems, I interviewed three industry experts: Joseph Valeri, President and COO of Lucernex Technologies; Chris Kluis, Director of Marketing at Mintek; and Andy Fuhrman, VP of Product Development at Bricsnet.

Needless to say, these guys are experts. I, on the other hand–not so much. While all of our experts provided great insight, they also encouraged me to simplify that knowledge, and boil it down so the average person could also understand.

First and foremost, the primary difference between the software systems is their depth of functionality–that is, the number of features they offer and challenges they solve.

So, here are the most common software solutions in the maintenance and facility management markets, and the business challenges they address.

Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM)

Manages space planning, tracks asset location, and oversees move management.

All of our experts agree that current CAFM software is primarily used as space planning tools–with the goal of optimizing the usage of space, while keeping track of physical assets.

Companies have a lot of space, particularly those with several floors or multiple locations. They also have lots of assets–like desks, chairs, computers, and telephones.

CAFM systems keep companies organized by keeping track of how space is being used, who’s using that space, and where the organization’s belongings are currently located. Essentially, these solutions form a relationship between a business’s space, its people, and its stuff.

Because CAFM software has such specialized space planning functions, it’s often used as a building block for the more complex systems discussed below.

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)

Tracks asset maintenance and the cost of the work; monitors equipment location, and keeps detailed records of the equipment’s maintenance history; tracks labor resources.

In addition to the types of physical assets a CAFM oversees, some organizations also have things that need regular maintenance to ensure minimal downtime. Consider high-value assets like: Boeing 747s, MRI machines, and dump trucks.

“CMMS applications provide greater functionality, such as maintaining critical equipment found in health care facilities, data centers, labs and manufacturing,” Fuhrman explains.

Failing to perform routine maintenance tasks on equipment can lead to unnecessary downtime. Furthermore, failing to perform recommended maintenance can lead to unexpected failure–ultimately requiring replacement. Repair is far less costly than an untimely replacement.

Malfunctioning equipment may pose hazardous conditions for employees. So, computerized maintenance management systems also assist in maintaining a safe work environment.

To read the rest of Ashley’s article, including her plain english definitions of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS), click here. More great industry content can be found in The Software Advice Blog.