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Leveraging the capabilities of IoT to transform the sugar industry

Leveraging the capabilities of IoT to transform the sugar industry

AgricultureCase StudiesEnergyGreen TechnologyManufacturingMore NewsRegional News

The Royal Swazi Sugar Corporation (RSSC) is a sugar manufacturer based in the north-east corner of Swaziland. It spans around 20 000 hectares of sugar cane-producing farmland plus two mills that produce the sugar for the European and SADC markets. The organisation turned to SAP solutions and Britehouse, a division of Dimension Data, to streamline efficiencies and adapt to market demands using the capabilities and technologies of the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Currently the global sugar market is struggling against low pricing and we have been aware of the impact this could have on our industry and organisation,” said Rob Coombe, CIO, RSSC.

“We are looking to drive cost savings that will allow us to get to the world price level from a production perspective and have invested into several initiatives to help us do just that.”

RSSC identified four business cases for IoT that would improve the business 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. “To resolve this, we got together with Britehouse and SAP to deploy the sensors 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.”

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 they 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,” concludes 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.”



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