“The industry had been using aggressive procurement techniques for the past four decades, and companies were accepting contracts they could not deliver to generate profits to survive,” explains Dewing. “Our objective was to bring about a change by restoring trust in the industry by collaborating with clients to solve problems together and keeping promises that traditional firms have historically failed to keep in the past. We changed the rules by restructuring our operations and adopting a distinct approach from the rest of the industry. This involved creating tamper-proof tech where you can't fix data or numbers - it's all about being open and honest with no hidden agendas or costs.”
This enabled Dewing to go against the grain and become one of the most disruptive FM companies in Europe. They won the Queen's Award for Innovation in 2019 and were named a global leader in IoT-enabled predictive maintenance by Gartner.
“Currently, we have set our sights on addressing climate change using our innovative tech, Mindsett, which is wholly owned by Cloudfm. Through recently teaming up with the University of Essex to test a model for change we've developed technology that goes beyond anything else in the world market which can help all sectors reduce their carbon footprint and achieve Net Zero. The purpose of Mindsett IoT is to make today's world more sustainable by helping prevent the needless waste of energy and resources.”
They sell end-to-end IoT technology solutions and offer behavioural change.
“Our tech encourages people to take practical measures that will have a positive impact on the environment.”
As CEO, Dewing’s no. 1 priority is nurturing a strong company culture that puts people first above all else.
“When people are happy and fulfilled, it leads to successful outcomes for everyone involved,” says Dewing. “I have always believed in challenging the status quo and doing the opposite to create positive meaningful change.”
He left school at just 16, but always had a drive to do this.
“I started my journey as a fridge and air-conditioning engineer working up the ranks, and then in 1990 I quit and founded my first business, Essex Air Conditioning. During this time, I invested in Clacton Town Football Club (a semi-professional non-league club). I loved the five-year journey and creating success the club had not experienced in fifty years, but the reality was the excitement of running a football club distracted me from the firm, eventually contributing to my bankruptcy. I ended up on benefits having just £7.60 in my bank account and a family to feed.”
By 2003, he had remade himself and built a fortune, but lost it all by the age of 39.
“This humbled me and made me resilient. I refused to quit. Instead, I spent that time reworking my priorities. I taught myself coding and spent years thinking about my mistakes and in 2012, I started Cloudfm from my garden shed and within the first couple of years, was turning over £1m. The company's revenue grew to £70m within four years and despite the material impact of COVID-19, decimating my business from April 2020, the company is now projected to reach £250m by 2026.”
Now, Dewing’s mission is to share his knowledge and insights to help as many people as he can.
“This led to me writing my No.1 best-selling book Doing the Opposite, reflecting on my harsh life lessons and analysing why and how my latest business had been so successful and grown rapidly. In addition, I now host a podcast called Doing the Opposite: Business Disrupters. I have the privilege of speaking to inspiring individuals who are pushing boundaries and breaking barriers in their respective fields. Through these conversations, we explore their successes, failures, and the lessons they've learned along the way.”
What are the Net Zero goals businesses need to be aware of?
“The UK government has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which means that businesses need to significantly reduce their carbon footprint in line with this target. So, the sooner they start the better. As I see it, businesses are in a unique position to drive positive climate action, especially since governments have been slow to take action. As businesses are the only trusted institution, business leaders have a responsibility to redesign their organisations to deliver impact and ensure business decisions are aligned with an overarching purpose.
“ESG reporting is becoming more crucial as it allows businesses to understand their major environmental impact and concentrate on ways to reduce it. Essentially, ESG highlights the idea that businesses should contribute to society beyond profit-making. While climate is not the sole factor to consider, it is among the most urgent. This is why Science-Based Net Zero Targets (SBNTs) are important. SBNTs are ambitious targets that require businesses to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, focusing on reducing Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. These targets are aligned with the Paris Agreement's more ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
How can organisations start taking control of their Scope 3 emissions?
“Scope 3 emissions refer to indirect emissions that result from an organisation's activities but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the organisation. These emissions typically account for the most significant share of an organisation's overall carbon footprint, making it crucial to take action to manage them effectively.
“The first step towards managing Scope 3 emissions is to identify and quantify them. This can be done by conducting a thorough analysis of the organisation's supply chain, products, and services.
“Once you've identified your Scope 3 emissions, it's crucial to set targets and a plan to reduce them. Ensure these targets are aligned with the organisation's overall sustainability strategy and continue to evaluate your processes along the way.
“Given that Scope 3 emissions are largely associated with suppliers and partners, it is essential to engage them in efforts to reduce emissions. This can be done by establishing clear communication, setting expectations, and incentivising suppliers to adopt sustainable practices.
“At Cloudfm, we've devised a reward and rating system, named CloudCoin, that incentivises the engineers in our supply chain to provide high-quality services while reducing their environmental impact. CloudCoin will be promoted throughout the supply chain to tackle indirect emissions, support the supply chain to reach net zero goals, and influence climate-friendly behaviours.”
Tell us about the facilities management industry.
“The facilities management industry is worth around £200bn per annum in the UK alone. One in Seven working adults work in the FM industry.
“The facilities management industry is a sector that provides a wide range of services to businesses, organisations, and individuals. These services may include maintenance, cleaning, security, and other support services for buildings and facilities. The industry has traditionally been criticised for lagging behind other sectors in terms of innovation, efficiency, and quality of service.
“When facilities management is done well, it can drive productivity, minimise risks, and enhance customers' experience. However, when it fails, it can harm businesses and their operations.
“At Cloudfm we're addressing these issues by disrupting traditional FM practices and systems. By changing the rules of the industry, we are restoring trust in a broken sector and constantly striving to improve the quality of service provided to businesses and their customers.”
How can businesses understand and quantify sources of indirect emissions?
“Data is your friend - investigate to identify your direct and indirect emissions and collect data from suppliers and other relevant stakeholders. This involves identifying emissions such as those from employee commutes, supply chain activities, and waste disposal.
“Once businesses have the necessary facts and figures, they can begin to set reduction targets for both direct and indirect emissions. This includes empowering their supply chain partners to assess their emissions and take necessary steps to reduce them.
“To achieve meaningful reductions, businesses need to work closely with their suppliers to identify and implement emission-reducing technologies and practices. This collaborative approach helps to ensure that emission-reducing technology and insight are not gatekept and that everyone is working towards a common goal.”
Tell us about using gamification techniques to educate, mobilise and support the supply chain.
“Gamification is the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, such as education, marketing, or social impact campaigns. It involves applying game mechanics and techniques, such as points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges, to motivate and engage people to achieve certain goals or behaviours. The goal of gamification is to increase participation, engagement, and motivation in non-game contexts by making them more fun and interactive.
“This is where CloudCoin comes in. On the upcoming Freedom 2.0 app, we'll be giving people easy-to-read insights on an app with simple suggestions (ie 'turn off the lights between 10pm - 4am as no one is in the building & it will save you £X' and you'll be rewarded X Cloud coins) making it as easy as possible for employees and the supply chain to behave in a way that's more favourable to the planet. By accumulating CloudCoin, the user can exchange for vouchers in all major retailers.
“I believe that behaviour will change when we can present actionable insights to the very people that can affect change, and then deliver instant gratification for their actions.”
How are you using IoT and AI-powered predictive maintenance technology?
“Mindsett is a platform that transforms how businesses manage their assets. Our PRISM smart device (which requires no sensors) gathers real-time data, which is fed back to users via a dashboard and app, helping users to see which assets are costing the most energy to help them prevent needless waste of energy and resources.
“Using the data gathered from a business's assets, we can offer a predictive maintenance solution within a short period of time. In simple terms, we can tell you when an asset such as a fridge is going to fail before it happens, enabling the customer to call out an engineer to fix the problem before it becomes a bigger issue.”
What do the next 12 months hold for you?
“My focus is on anticipating the next challenge and currently, I am exploring the issue of labour shortage. Offering higher wages to attract talent is not a sustainable solution, as it only shifts the problem rather than solving it.
“To tackle this challenge, we are looking at augmented reality (AR) to provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities to people across our supply chain. By leveraging this technology, we can democratise information sharing and break down physical limitations that hinder learning.
“We're also anticipating our Freedom platform 2.0 later this year which will be an Uber-like service for repairs and maintenance that connects businesses needing engineering services with nearby engineers based on their location, value, and rating. Clients will be able to track the engineer's location on a map and receive updates on their expected wait time. The service will remove the need for contractors to act as middlemen and incentivises engineers with a rating and reward system (CloudCoin). The platform aims to minimise unnecessary carbon footprint and ultimately benefits engineers, clients, and the supply chain.”
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