Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation Leverages SAP Leonardo IoT for Harvesting Logistics

With support from SAP Co-Innovation Lab, long-time SAP partner Britehouse enabled the Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) to digitalize the management of its vehicle fleet using SAP Leonardo Internet of Things.

When sugar cane becomes ready for harvest, it must be burnt on the field before being taken to the sugar mill for further processing. The process of producing the best product yield is time-dependent, hence it is critical to be as efficient as possible. The longer the transport takes, the more sucrose content the sugar cane will lose, so guaranteeing a smooth and swift execution is important. There is also the fact that the sugar mill is run on a 24/7 basis and a continuous supply of cane is required, as it is expensive to stop and re-start the mill if there is a shortage of cane to process.

“RSSC cannot afford idle time because it would take several hours to get the mill running again,” says Deon Du Preez, director of Innovation at Britehouse, a division of Dimension Data. “This is why vehicle fleet management is so important.”

IoT Solution Integrated into SAP Leonardo

SAP Co-Innovation Lab supports partners in solving customers’ problems to their satisfaction, especially when they face challenges like this. Here, teaming up with the Pre-Sales team at SAP Africa proved instrumental for the overall success of the project.

“I’ve been working with SAP Co-Innovation Lab for three years now and it feels like working with friends,” says Du Preez. “And we know them as hands on when it comes to innovative solutions and new technologies.

Indeed, the partnership between SAP and Britehouse goes far back. NTT, the parent company of Dimension Data, is working with the Intelligent Enterprise Ecosystem team from SAP and is part of the SAP Leonardo Partner Medallion Initiative.

“The SAP team worked with Britehouse and RSSC on the opportunity and was able to identify the requirements,” says Mike Friday, vice president and global head of the Intelligent Enterprise Ecosystem team at SAP. “From there we were able to engage with the SAP Co-Innovation Lab team, who provided enablement and support for the partner and an environment for the solutions to be configured and tested. Delivering all these services bundled from a single organization provided tremendous benefits.”

Together, SAP and Britehouse met with RSSC to discuss how their joint know-how could help the customer to streamline its operations and bring agility to its business processes.

“RSSC has been a customer of ours for many years,” says Du Preez. “When we kicked off the project in 2017, they already had precise ideas of what they wanted to do.”

Vehicle fleet management was one of four business cases for the Internet of Things (IoT) and became part of a proof of value to drive cost-saving measures that would help maintain production costs at global standards to enable RSSC to compete with its international competitors. The proof of value also included bulk water management. In February 2018, a first Design Thinking workshop was conducted.

“To do a proof of value for the customer, we needed systems to work on in order to develop the application on, which brought us to SAP Co-Innovation Lab,” Du Preez explains. “Our project was being given an extra high amount of visibility, being sponsored by both the SAP Leonardo Partner Medallion Initiative and SAP Co-Innovation Lab.”

SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Analytics Cloud for Fleet Management

The solution runs on SAP Cloud Platform and includes IoT technology. Each harvesting vehicle is equipped with Geotab vehicle management devices. Assisted by SAP Co-Innovation Lab, software engineers from Britehouse wrote an interface for those IoT devices to provide SAP Leonardo IoT with data on oil pressure, mileage, driver behavior, and others.

A harvest vehicle utilization and driver behavior score function for the vehicles was also added. “It is now possible to monitor each vehicle through IoT sensors and find out in real time whether it’s harvesting or in repair and so on,” explains Du Preez. “Before, the customer didn’t have any tools for fleet management besides Excel. A scheduling function for the vehicles will be added in the future. All the data analytics that has now become available makes the transition to SAP Digital Boardroom an inevitable conclusion for this very successful case study.”

Two operational managers are currently assigned to the dashboard that provides an overview of the 250 vehicles in the fleet. SAP Analytics Cloud allows them to make better-informed business decisions. “The new solution adds a lot more efficiency to RSSC’s vehicle management,” says Du Preez. There is only a certain time period to get the sugar from the field to the sugar mill. Now drivers receive scores for efficiency, which adds a new level of transparency to RSSC’s vehicle fleet.

Partner Enablement for Customer Success

Via Britehouse, a first deal for SAP Leonardo IoT closed at the end of 2018, but as Tshepo Mahloko, co-innovation architect in SAP Co-Innovation Lab, puts it, “This is only the first step. The project continues.”

“It was a very nice problem to solve,” Du Preez sums up his experience working with SAP Co-Innovation Lab for RSSC. “The lab has been a catalyst to empower us as a partner to implement an impactful solution.“

Mahloko emphasizes the meaning of empowerment when it comes to co-innovation with partners: “SAP Co-Innovation Lab works with partners like Britehouse to help produce these innovative solutions and make sure they go to market at reduced risk. We bring them in contact with the right teams at SAP; in this case, the product team for SAP Leonardo IoT. And the great thing is that because we work with multiple partners, it creates a multiplying effect in getting the new solutions to market.”

Du Preez says, “Cooperation with the SAP Co-Innovation Lab has always been instrumental to our success. Together, we discuss how we can help the customer and how we get great new SAP technology to work practically. We end up with a live case study that we can actually talk to customers about. SAP in general and the lab in particular have been very supportive of our project. The result is proof of our solid and positive partnership.”


Top image via the Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation.