As hospitality venues across the UK recover after a tough time in the pandemic, they have the opportunity of a watershed moment to evaluate how they operate sites more efficiently than before.

Many other sectors advanced digital plans through various lockdowns, and management consultancy McKinsey estimates many companies accelerated their digital transformation by seven years. Those businesses are now benefiting from the efficiencies that a technology-enabled operation provides.

The same opportunities are available to the hospitality sector where the use of technology can create a step-change in how businesses operate efficiently, progress toward net zero and improve the customer experience.

Research by Cloudfm into the UK hospitality industry shows it is missing out on savings of £736m* a year due to outdated facilities management practices.

Cloudfm teamed up with the University of Essex to test a model for change. The research included several sites from some of the UK’s largest fast-food operators.

The study found that an average saving of 23% could be secured throughout a facilities management contract, enabling a 65% reduction in reactive visits. The sector needs to urgently embrace new ways of working to realise savings and cut carbon emissions on the journey to net zero.

The conclusions were that efficiencies need to be driven through technology and behavioural change in tandem. The data showed that an internet of things (IoT) predictive solution will help to automate a maintenance regime and maximise the operational efficiency of everything from ovens to air conditioners.

Greater localism in sourcing facilities management engineers could also reduce the carbon footprint of activity through reduced travel. To address this, the model built greater flexibility into the system, using available intelligence to match the right skills to the job at the first visit.

Commenting on the findings, Jeff Dewing, CEO of Cloudfm, said: “Better use of data through the supply chain can create a new era of transparency that allows problems to be fixed faster, first time round. In addition, it will enable pressured staff to focus on delivering a great customer experience while saving money and benefiting the environment.

“Outdated practices are costing the hospitality industry hundreds of millions a year and costing the planet. As we emerge from the pandemic, there is a clear opportunity to reassess the approach to facilities management for the benefit of the environment and the bottom line.”

Cloudfm believes the most successful businesses are also the most informed ones. It has invested in new technology to deliver Mindsett, a full suite of end to end IoT solutions in energy reduction, compliance and risk and predictive maintenance in order to deliver guaranteed outcomes.

Mindsett enables companies to take advantage of real-time visibility of energy costs and local supply networks while inspiring company-wide behavioural change that contributes to net zero targets.

Dr Faiyaz Doctor and Dr Hossein Anisi from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE) co-lead a recent Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership project that developed a system based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning technologies for the predictive maintenance of assets.

Speaking about Mindsett, Dr Hossein Anisi said, “In this project, lightweight and low power IoT modules supported by a reliable and delay-aware wireless communication system continuously monitor the assets behaviours with no human supervision and provide alerts about faulty assets or dangerous situations to reduce operating costs.”

Dr Faiyaz Doctor further added that “AI-driven digital twins have provided a framework for predicting normal and abnormal operating behaviours of assets, which can be visualised and simulated to detect faults or optimise functional efficiencies towards energy-efficient and cost-effective operations for Cloudfm’s clients.”

The road to net zero.

Trade organisation UK Hospitality worked in partnership with the Zero Carbon Forum to set a bold vision for the sector. It set out the actions needed to achieve net zero with an ambition to reach a 90% reduction in operational emissions of 57% – 78% and reductions in supply chain emissions by 2040.

To achieve these targets, a root and branch review of operations will be required and a detailed understanding of how the changes will impact operations.

A predictive maintenance approach, powered by IoT devices and data, will reduce the energy consumption of sites while maintaining operational efficiency with more efficient machines that require fewer repairs.

An essential piece of the puzzle is the need to create behavioural change in teams that will be working in and operating the stores. It is essential to reduce energy usage and reducing waste.

A study with the University of Essex and Cloudfm shows that the employees that are most likely to act positively to reduce energy usage and waste are usually more engaged with their employers and have higher climate risk perceptions.

The pace of change needs to accelerate if targets are to be hit and promises kept. Only by taking a holistic view of the technology, data and behavioural change can net-zero by 2040 be achieved.

Internet of things.

Mindsett is wholly owned by Cloudfm, one of the fastest-growing facilities management companies in the UK, which was named one of the UK’s most innovative property technology creators for 2021 in the BusinessCloud PropTech 50 and a global leader in IoT enabled predictive maintenance by Gartner.

Mindsett turns data into action at site and asset-level, helping retailers to target energy and resources where they have the most impact. The solution combines IoT, AI and machine learning to reduce costs and eliminate waste.

Smart meters only report half-hourly and cannot correlate consumption to space, occupancy, assets or activity. A complete end to end energy solution can support retailers with energy management, measurement, procurement and offsetting.

Mindsett automates manual processes and reduces risk to provide an immediate return on investment. In the hospitality sector, the technology is proven to prevent stock loss with

fluctuations in temperature, providing an early warning of failure on critical equipment such as freezers.

The benefits go wider with a compliance and risk module that allow users to demonstrate the potential savings from asset monitoring and monitor changes in temperature or failures that could cause issues such as legionella or impair emergency lighting.

Mindsett is the first predictive maintenance IoT solution for multi-site organisations that is also designed to reduce the chance of asset failure. By understanding how an asset performs in real-time, its energy usage can be optimised and carbon emissions managed.

Mindsett provides a structured route to net-zero by enabling real-time energy consumption to be measured across the estate. It’s a proven model across multiple industry sectors and backed by academic research.

Highly engaged teams.

Energy-saving motivations at work depend on individual work engagement and perceptions of climate risk. For workers who are highly engaged in their work, daily energy-saving actions can help them to feel good about saving money for the company.

The data shows 84% of retail workers believe the energy-saving app would benefit their workplace, and 72% of employees do not believe their company is currently taking the necessary steps to towards achieving net-zero.

The right employee behaviours are key to helping retailers to make big energy savings, so it is important to understand workers’ motivations, opportunities and capabilities for energy-saving at work and how they can be best engaged to maximise their energy-saving actions over time.

A proven approach.

Cloudfm has extensively researched its solution and listened to front line staff within the hospitality industry. It’s clear that sustainability and the benefit to the environment are as important a factor as the payback period or cost.

The Mindsett platform has evidenced a 90-day payback period in some sectors. While there is also evidence of a fast-food client achieving savings up to £797 a month per site.

Case study

High-street restaurant.

The deployment of Mindsett within the hospitality industry saw significant carbon savings for a popular pizza restaurant.

Across the estate, estimated savings were in excess of 19% of monitored energy consumption. In addition, immediate savings of 27% were seen in air conditioning and 28% in water heating.

The data gave vital insights, such as the need to turn off water heaters overnight to deliver an ‘easy win’ of a 28% of energy consumption saving. Up to 27% of the air conditioning energy

consumption could be saved by shutting off these appliances out of hours.

The power of behavioural change was underlined. If other branches copied the behaviours of the top-performing branch, an immediate energy saving of 14% would be made across the estate with no further investment.

The data shows that while overall energy consumption is positively correlated to the volume of sales and the grade of the store, there is significant variation between outlets in terms of energy consumption performance, which is due to behavioural factors.

A time for radical change.

As the hospitality industry recovers from the pandemic it has a unique opportunity to redefine how it manages its facilities. The technology is available today to enable a radical transformation that will deliver proven cost savings while also meeting net zero commitments.

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