Can a 100-Year Old Business Innovate with IoT Analytics?

Posted October 11, 2019 by Joy King, VP Product & GTM Strategy, Vertica

Restaurant server in uniform with beautiful food dishes

One of my greatest pleasures is dining out at all the amazing restaurants here in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. I am always amazed and so proud of the innovative and authentic ethnic cuisines that have made the Triangle a nationally recognized foodie community. I think about the complexities of the restaurant industry – keeping food fresh, offering continuously changing menus, training staff to deliver the ultimate customer experience, and making sure that foodies like me know about all of this. But one thing I never really thought about was the tablecloths and napkins, the uniforms and staffing supplies, the cleaning products, and all the other essentials that restaurants are expected to deliver and use. And I definitely never considered that sensor data, RFID chips, and geospatial data would be a competitive advantage and industry disrupting driver for companies who supply these items to restaurants.

Meet the Pride of Minnesota, AmeriPride Services

Then I learned about AmeriPride Services, a uniform rental and linen supply company based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, which was founded in 1889 (yes, you read that correctly!). Operating 115 production and service centers in the United States and Canada, AmeriPride delivers all of these items to more than 150,000 customers every week. In 2014, AmeriPride brought Steven John to the leadership team as CIO, and Steven’s prior experience at Workday fundamentally changed the game for AmeriPride.

Ameripride logo

AmeriPride created three data-driven initiatives to:

  • Eliminate unnecessary loss charges from customer claims
  • Test pricing to find an optimal price structure
  • Increase customer renewals

Saving Millions and Staying Green with IoT Analytics

Even after one year, these initiatives produced millions of dollars in savings. RFID chips in every item that AmeriPride delivers to its customers protects both parties against losses, ensures the right items are delivered at the right time, and keeps real time track of inventory.  In addition, geospatial guidance in AmeriPride delivery trucks optimizes delivery routes not just based on what is the most convenient and time-efficient routes for the drivers, but always integrates the delivery times that are necessary for restaurants, so that deliveries do not occur during the busiest times of the day. Handheld devices provide customer-facing employees with significant information about customer routes, contracts, schedules, preferences, feedback, issues, and more. Some of the most interesting insights identified as a result of all the IoT analytics include learning that the greatest margin was from customers within a mile of another customer as well as rebalancing of chemicals and water usage in laundry facilities, helping AmeriPride to be more safe, green, and efficient.

Aramark Acquires AmeriPride for $1B

In January 2018, Aramark, with a market cap of $11B and global revenues exceeding $14B, acquired AmeriPride for approximately $1B. Steven John, who was inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame in 2018 (no surprise!) is leading an effort to expand the IoT analytics strategy that captured the attention of the Aramark leadership team to the broader Aramark Corporation.  So, next time you dine at your favorite restaurant, remember to appreciate the analytics behind that clean tablecloth, those silky napkins and the uniforms and supplies that make your delicious evening possible.


Related Resources:
Press Release – Vertica Analytics Delivers 419% ROI for AmeriPride
Video – AmeriPride improves customer relationships with Vertica Analytics
PDF – AmeriPride Services case study
Video – AmeriPride on theCube
Web page – Vertica Customer – Ameripride
Blog post – Only the Strongest and Boldest Data-Driven Companies Will Survive