Asset & Property Management

How CAFM System Can Improve the Asset Management

February 16, 2021

Asset management, especially monitoring inventories, system conditions, warranties, and maintenance can often be very complex and challenging. Fortunately, there is a remedy for this problem, and the solution is the CAFM system (computer-aided facility management) that provides easy access to data to enable a cost-effective method of fully utilizing the asset lifecycle. In this article, we'll explore how CAFM software can make asset management easier and even more streamlined.

What Is Asset Management

Asset Management is nothing more than skilful management of physical assets from the moment of their acquisition to their disposal. We distinguish four phases defining cyclical life of equipment:

1) Acquisition – decision about purchase

2) Operation – management and usage of the asset till its launch

3) Maintenance – asset management during its cyclical life

4) Disposal – end of equipment life cycle

The necessity of cost prediction, which will have to be born due to unplanned works and devices repairs during third and fourth phase, are not a challenge reserved for biggest production companies nowadays. Informatization and automation level present in almost every real estate branch, makes a correct determination of the necessary budget for exploitation (OPEX), based on knowledge of the state of the equipment, also on investments (CAPEX), and ability to monitor and respond quickly; may prove to be necessary in the context of a responsible budgetary policy. We won’t be able to do that without an up-to-date and reliable evaluation of the state and worth of our assets.

Digital Asset Management with CAFM Software

Today, we still rely on manufacturer’s information and recommendations when it comes to trying to determine the life cycle of devices. We don’t take into consideration changes that have occurred since its installation and local conditions, in which the devices are working. A solution that allows monitoring all essential aspects influencing equipment life cycle – its operating and emergency costs, on one hand, and the conscientious nature of the service on the other, are computer-aided facility management (CAFM) systems.

Why Digital Asset Management Is Important

Having such knowledge, we are able not only to monitor the state of our equipment; knowing the state and condition of assets, we can in an undeniably more precise way, define our own needs for the upgrading of specific installations. We can also define the life cycle of devices or clarify requirements on the occasion of tendering procedures, e.g. for facility management services.

This knowledge is especially important for property managers or owners of the real estate portfolio. As it’s going to be proven in the further part of this article, analysis of data gathered by CAFM platforms allows to make dynamic comparisons of the state of the assets within the portfolio, or assess the equipment of specific manufacturers against reliability and running costs.

Knowledge About the Equipment = Control Over the Equipment

Meters reading on the mobile app

Unfortunately, it turns out that it's the equipment that sometimes seems to have control over us – stopping the operation of production lines, making it necessary to close the store, and turning our budgetary plans upside down.  Although regular inspections, checks, and service of equipment are the basis of businesses today, most of them are still based on paper service books. Due to that, access to data is still connected with going through binders to find a report drawn up by technicians or sent by an external service. A complementary and well-implemented CAFM system can come to the rescue. It will allow you not only to organize your service and inspection work but above all will provide a powerful and easily accessible analytical tool.

Centralise or… Pay the Price

Talks about Industry 4.0 and the need to digitalize data, very often focuses on special needs and tools, which are supposed to accommodate them. As a result, we can come across a situation, where at one real estate, separate tools for controlling different processes are used. The most important are:

1) Reactive Maintenance - Incident and response handling of communication with external services

2) Asset & Cost Management - Management of equipment/installations inventory together with control of the costs we incur

3) Planned & Preventive Maintenance - Planning and controlling of check-ups, audits, services and inspections timeliness

Dispersion of these elements and the lack of a tool to exchange information between them results in a lack of holistic view of our assets. At the same time, observing a correlation between the state of a device and incurred service costs is extremely difficult.

What is more, calculation of the residual value of the equipment based on depreciation, rarely shows its true value, and ignoring their failure rate (this, in turn, is due to the lack of quick access to the report costs incurred) exposes the company to losses. That's why it's important to choose a tool that will allow complex inventorying of property easier and provide quick access not only to device information, in form of launch date or end of warranty, but will also gather data, e.g.:

  • How many times the device has been turned off by the user
  • How often do we need to service it
  • Who and when carried out the last service
  • What costs have we incurred as a result of unexpected failures within the selected time

CAFM platforms of the appropriate class, having all of the above attributes and combining all relevant modules, allow a quick "skipping" between them, so that you can access the digital card of your device with its details, service notification card, or check-up; we can gain relevant data for us within seconds.

Thanks to quick access to data and organization of the costs associated with the day-to-day operation of the equipment, as well as investments resulting from the analysis of their life cycle, the owner or property manager can create OPEX and CAPEX budget based on the data, which are much truer than the ones based on the manufacturer's recommendations or our expectations.

What Is IoT and How the IoT Technology Can Streamline Asset Management

A vision of going through vast Excel spreadsheets or photo documentation of data plates to locate the device looms large in many technicians, managers, or administrative workers’ minds. Having to count hundreds or thousands of devices, many of which differ from one another by only one serial number, we face quite a challenge, if we quickly and efficiently want to identify a particular device to update its data. The easiest and also the cheapest solution is to use the Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the form of small NFC tags.

NFC tags paired with equipment within the internal CAFM system, NFC tags allow quick identification of the device, while being on the road. At the same time, you need to scan the NFC tag sticker moving a mobile device, with an installed CAFM platform, compatible with NFC technology closer. Thanks to the integration of IoT sensors with the CAFM software, after you scan the tag placed on the particular device, you will be able not only to identify but also to receive necessary historical data or download files from the previously added device’s card (e.g., service protocols, manuals, etc.).

Using NFC tags is not only limited to giving information about the devices, they can also serve as a control point. Thanks to that we obtain surveillance over daily rounds or device inspections, which the device will walk us through step by step, together with an indication of the tasks that we have to carry out within it.

Equipment Data and What Next

Meticulously gathered and updated equipment data has invaluable analytical value. However, provided that they can be quickly filtered, selected, and visualized. CAFM platforms give the possibility to use dozens of reports already prepared and allow an easy way to configure reports to be „tailor-made”.

The analysis of incurred device costs, failure equipment of a particular brand, the average age of devices at particular real estate… these are several examples of which data can be quickly accessed thanks to the CAFM solutions. Obtained information allows making good decisions when it comes to the cost-effectiveness of the next service, or what devices’ brands to choose based on their failure rate and costs incurred. It’s also important for the platform to provide an intuitive and quick overview of the scheduled maintenance services and devices’ inspections. Thanks to that we can ensure that they are serviced appropriately.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a commercial space of 500 square meters, a shopping mall, or a Logistics park – wherever we rely on devices and technologies, actions within facility management should aim to maximize control of equipment and processes, that occur within real estate. A modern CAFM system integrated with IoT sensors, will benefits Facilities and Estates Managers benefit from:

  • Extension of life cycle of equipment and installations
  • Real opportunity to determine the end of life of devices and installations
  • Possibility to prepare meaningful OPEX and CAPEX budgets
  • Possibility to predict service costs better
  • Transparency increase about the condition of equipment, which can increase the value of the property when it’s sold
  • Possibility of benchmarking equipment of particular manufacturers
  • Costs optimization by using analytical data
  • Process check-up increase and access to data through loT technology

Written by:
Krzysztof Gawliczek
PropTech Expert

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