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The Way Forward

CAFM

10/12/20 | Rebecca Drewett

The pandemic has opened many eyes to the significance of the work that goes on behind the scenes, and subsequently the power and potential of computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) systems, explains James Fanthorpe, FSI Business Development Manager, in an article for Tomorrow's FM.

There’s no doubt the post-pandemic world will be noticeably different than what came before it, though what that looks like remains to be seen. There are few places this is more apparent than in the FM industry.

Managing and reassuring workforces

COVID-19 has shone a light on the safety and sanitisation of workspaces. Awareness of how clean buildings are and of where people are on site is at an all-time high – workforces will look for reassurance over their wellbeing when we return to some form of normality.

CAFM can deliver that certainty to a post-pandemic landscape. As well as enable FMs to seamlessly track and log cleaning tasks, this technology provides a digital, visual indicator of cleaning work being conducted across facilities. This will encourage employees about the safety of their environment when perception of this is greater than ever before.

Applications such as FSI’s Cleaning Now will also be crucial in displaying safe, secure routes for cleaning teams to conduct their work while maintaining social distancing requirements. Plus, as the frequency of cleaning work increases, CAFM systems will be vital in teams working as efficiently as possible.

CAFM also supports the growing emphasis on contactless workplaces. Solutions like FSI GO empower mobile engineers to complete tasks without coming face-to-face with others and provide progress updates remotely. Not only does this streamline their day-to-day work, but it reassures workforces that their environments are looked after securely and responsibly.

FSI’s Contractor module takes this even further – when third-party contractors are brought in, this digital display allows FMs to seamlessly manage where they go and what they interact with, so they’re never at risk of entering crowded workspaces or using in-house equipment without permission. This delivers a greater layer of security in a post-pandemic environment.

Organising space

Workplaces worldwide are undergoing an unparalleled shift in how space is configured and managed. While face-to-face interaction in workplaces will never disappear entirely, COVID-19 has compelled many businesses to engage with virtual and digital alternatives.

Whether this is a greater degree of remote working, or staggered business hours to manage numbers in a building at any given time, this means space management will need to be more fluid than in prior years.

CAFM plays a major role here. By consistently capturing spatial data throughout their facilities, FMs can better identify what spaces can be repurposed or redeployed in-line with their changing business practices, so they can run these as efficiently as possible.

Harnessing IoT

Similarly, sensor technology that was once considered too expensive or a ‘nice-to-have’ pre-pandemic will be relied on more prominently in the future.

By connecting these to CAFM technology, FMs can better organise their workspaces based on occupancy levels; lighting, heating, ventilation, machinery and more can be automatically adapted based on who is on site at any given time.

This enables facilities to conserve energy and run cost-effectively, while always delivering optimal conditions when areas are occupied.

Furthermore, by harnessing IoT and the boundless data generated by business systems, FMs can use this information to drive decisions that optimise workspaces. CAFM platforms like FSI’s Intuitive BI platform will be critical in giving teams quick, unimpeded access to data in an easy-to-digest visual display, so they can act to enhance the efficiency of their environments.

A CAFM-driven future Amid the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, there has been a growing desire among FM professionals to understand the scope of what CAFM can do to make life post-pandemic easier, safer and smarter.

At FSI, we hope that the lessons learned from this period will translate into more people tapping into the full potential of CAFM systems to meet the needs of workforces as we approach this new normal.