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Unlocking FM Insights: A Guide to Important Terms in 2024

Facility Management acronyms and terms you should know in 2024.

Every year, new terms are officially added to global dictionaries, such as the Oxford Dictionary and Merriam-Webster. Sometimes the words are funny and sometimes they’re absurd – but checking them is always a good way to keep up with the times. The same goes for terms and acronyms that change or develop over time in the evolving world of real estate and facility management.

So, let’s have some fun! We’ve collected several frequently used facility management terms and acronyms below. Test your knowledge of facility management lexicon and see how many of these you recognize or are part of your day-to-day vocabulary.

  1. SBS
  2. IWMS
  3. CAD
  4. BIM
  5. CIFM
  6. CAFM
  7. TQM
  8. CMMS
  9. PPM
  10. PM
  11. BMS
  12. ERP
  13. IFM
  14. SaaS
  15. CBM
  16. EMS
  17. EAM

Did you recognize them all? If you didn’t – don’t worry! We’ve got your back. Below you’ll find a short description of each of the terms above. And you can also visit the Planon Glossary pages, where you can find our collection of in-depth explanations and examples to help you bulk up your knowledge of other important real estate and facility management terms.

Answer Key:

SBS - Sick Building Syndrome

Health issues can happen every day, but no organisation wants its employees to get sick because of their work environment. SBS refers to building occupiers getting sick because of poor maintenance, like ventilation, at their workplace.

IWMS - Integrated Workplace Management System

IWMS is a vital solution for real estate and facility management professionals to help them collect, manage, and analyse all their real estate and facilities data within a single source. This tool enables managers to decrease costs and increase business productivity, all at once. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

CAD - Computer-Aided Design

To create successful products, engineers draw digital 2D drawings and 3D models of real products before the manufacturing process begins. Efficient, right? Facility managers use CAD for space management, scenario planning, layout plans and other activities that allow them to make use of their workspace in the best way possible. Read here how that works in practice.

BIM - Building Information Modeling

Imagine all architects, engineers, real estate developers and other professionals involved in the planning, design and construction of a building working together within one 3D model. That's what we call Building Information Modeling.

CIFM - Computer-Integrated Facility Management

CIFM is a system used to measure, manage and analyze everything involved in a facility, from space, furniture and equipment to the building’s drawings. This may sound broad, but they all add up to good building management.

CAFM - Computer Aided Facility Management

What can you use a CAFM system for? CAFM enables facility managers to plan, execute and monitor all activities involved in building maintenance: reactive or planned preventative maintenance, and space and move management. In addition, a CAFM system also keeps an eye on asset management, operational facility services, room reservations and other customer services.

TQM - Total Quality Management

Total quality management involves using strategies and data to monitor the quality of an organization’s product. TQM focuses on both the culture and activities of the organization, ensuring quality across all aspects.

CMMS - Computerized Maintenance Management System

A Computerized Maintenance Management System brings maintenance information into one place and optimizes maintenance operations processes.

PPM - Planned Preventative Maintenance

PPM is an important maintenance management strategy that organizations can implement to stay pro-active in their approach to managing important facilities and assets. Setting preventative maintenance measures helps organizations to keep buildings running and reduces the amount of unexpected equipment or building issues that could occur.

PM - Predictive Maintenance

What is PM in FM? And no, it is not the afternoon time. It is your way of staying ahead of problems. PM uses data analysis to prevent any equipment-related issues from happening. This way, anything that could possibly go wrong is solved before turning into a big problem.

BMS - Building Management System

BMS, or a building superhero? A building management system keeps an eye on every element of the building, from lighting and air conditioning, to green energy and utility meters.

ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning

Who takes care of all your internal processes? An ERP software gives an overview of them and helps manage important aspects of a business. It provides automation and processes that help manage finances, HR, manufacturing, the supply chain and providing general services.

IFM - Integrated Facilities Management

A concept where an organization has one consolidated and unified building management team working together on contracts, managing vendors, office spaces and making sure plans are successful. Teamwork makes the dream work!

SaaS - Software as a Service

You’re likely using SaaS every day. But what does it mean? SaaS is software that is delivered as a service, and hosted in the Cloud. Clients pay a monthly or annual fee for using the online service. A major advantage of SaaS is that the provider also takes care of the application management. With SaaS solutions, organizations no longer have to make their own back-ups, and the maintenance and installation of new versions and updates occurs automatically.

CBM - Condition-Based Maintenance

Condition-based maintenance is a building manager's built-in sixth sense for equipment and assets. Different than scheduled maintenance, CBM keeps an eye on the assets and equipment of a building and alerts managers if there is work to be done by maintenance engineers. This ensures the right repairs are made at just the right time.

EMS - Energy Management System

What if buildings had an energy diary? They can: it’s called an EMS. Energy Management Systems look into how much energy is used throughout a facility. Beyond that, it can also show where building managers might be able to save on energy costs. An Energy Management System helps turn insights into action.

EAM - Enterprise Asset Management

How many assets are there in an enterprise? Many! For lots of organizations, this many assets can be hard to keep track of. But with EAM, all assets are tracked and looked after. From designing to building, from using to fixing, and whether replacing or maintaining equipment, an EAM handles all sorts of assets, regardless of their form or function.

We hope you’ve picked up a few more terms and learned about some solutions available to help your organization cut costs and improve your operations processes. But your learning journey doesn’t have to end today.

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Keely Ferrara

Keely Ferrara

Global Campaign Marketer

Keely Ferrara is a global communications professional with more than 12 years of experience in content creation and B2B marketing. She currently works as a Global Campaign Marketer for Planon, the global leader in real estate and facility management software.

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