Golden State Foods (GSF), Irvine, Calif., teamed up with IBM, North Castle, N.Y., to plug into the power of the Internet of Things (IoT).

GSF, a diversified food processor and distributor, turned to technology advances and IBM IoT as part of an effort to drive operational excellence by using insights from connected things to improve fleet management and driver safety.

Currently, the company is tackling two big opportunities for growth and innovation in the foodservice industry. The first of its pilot programs centers on fleet management. GSF selected IBM’s Watson IoT for Automotive platform to bring cognitive computing and augmented intelligence to its distribution operations.

GSF plans to improve fleet management and driver safety for its approximately 1,000 trucks, which travel more than 55 million miles each year and make over 25,000 deliveries per week. Using Watson IoT for Automotive, which incorporates weather, traffic and telematics data, GSF will be able to optimize and transform food distribution—ensuring reliability and freshness. In addition, by combining wearable IoT devices and predictive analytics, GSF expects to improve driver safety.

For the second pilot, GSF is enabling restaurant insights and real-time business intelligence in the palm of the restaurant owner to improve operational efficiency. The initial proof of concept of IBM’s Connected Restaurant solution focuses on energy, equipment and restaurant-wellness management by collecting real-time data from a set of sensors and combining with predictive analytics and machine learning to drive decisions.

“Innovation in the foodservice industry typically refers to creating new items on the menu, but GSF is taking that same spirit and applying it to the way restaurants can use technology to transform their operations and supply chain,” says Bob Wolpert, corporate senior vice president and president, GSF Logistics. “IBM is giving us greater insights into the finer points of our business, from predicting exceptions to recommending the best course of action. It’s this level of knowledge that will allow us set the new standard for the food service industry.”

GSF envisions a future where restaurant owners use the Connected Restaurant solution to better plan inventory, energy and maintenance management, allowing restaurant employees to shift their time from the back to the front of the restaurant.