Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 25 - Page 51

CASE STUDY T he Royal Swazi Sugar Corporation (RSSC) is a sugar manufacturer based in the north-east corner of Swaziland. Spanning around 20,000 hectares, it has two mills that produce the sugar for the European and SADC markets. However, the global sugar market is struggling against low pricing, which could impact the organisation. “The global sugar market is in a state of over- supply, with pricing being very low – a 30% drop within the last 12 months,” said Rob Coombe, Group IT Manager and CIO of RSSC. “The reason for the over-supply is a combination of a slowdown in the global economy and very good crops in Brazil and India. Europe also changed the sugar regime in 2017, removing quota’s especially for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. This caused both an increase in production in Europe but significant drop in demand for sugar from Africa. Overall there is still an annual growth in global sugar production and this is a commodity we believe that will see the price rise again.” The company identified four business cases for IoT that would improve on an incremental and strategic level. The first was focused on farmland production, the second on the versatility and usage of strategic water resources, the third was around inbound logistics and the fourth was in the use of machinery. “We had some data and sensors already in place, but they were not part of an integrated solution,” added Coombe. “A small portion of our vehicles had sensors sending live position, speed and some engine data to a website. We also had sensors on the Mbuluzi river system showing the flow rate on the river by observation of the height of the river across a weir and have had historical data on the farm for the last 30 years. “To resolve this, we got together with Britehouse and SAP to deploy the sensors THE DIFFERENT PLATFORMS AND TECHNOLOGY GIVE US AN INDUSTRY ADVANTAGE AND BRITEHOUSE HELPS US KEEP IT. and data more effectively. We used design thinking workshops – a new experience for our farmers and engineers – to flesh out the business case and select the areas that would have the biggest return on investment. We put the sensors into SAP HANA on a Leonardo platform so we could integrate all the data and technology easily with other information.” Coombe said SAP was selected as RSSC’s ERP of choice in 2013, with Britehouse added as a support partner three years later. “They won the tender based on many criteria, but we were very impressed with their leadership team, the commitment to us as a customer and the referrals from other customers of theirs,” he said. The company currently has a variety of pilot projects in play. One uses the data from sensors on the trucks to view where the cane trucks are, what they are delivering to the mill and to assess other data points such as driver behaviour and fuel consumption. The water pilot is currently reviewing the flow of water in the two main rivers to ensure better utilisation and dam storage. The goal is to overcome the impact of the drought while building up reserves around the estate. “Technology is essential in solving these challenges,” said Coombe. “Agriculture is a very scientific business with a lot of analysis, thinking and agronomy. We knew that if we could get the right data in front of the right people at the right time, we could improve our yield by small percentages. The trick has been to look at areas that provide the best returns on our technology investment.” For RSSC, the power of IoT lies in its ability to add value to the business and allow for improved decision making – this is one of the primary reasons it chose to work with Britehouse. “Britehouse brings this capability along with global assistance due to its affiliation with Dimension Data and, thanks to their close relationship with SAP, we had high-level support across the board,” added Coombe. “Now we know the state of the water in the field, crop demand and the cost of getting water to the field. We can look to long term planning far more effectively and make the right decisions. The different platforms and technology give us an industry advantage and Britehouse helps us keep it. From our perspective, IoT is just connecting sources of data with the users in a way that assists them to add value to the organisation. In INTELLIGENTCIO 51