South Africa's sugar industry is fraught with various complexities, the majority of which can be monitored more effectively with the correct technology and processes in place. The industry is characterised by low-cost producers, commodity cycles, operation in remote areas and across borders, and unpredictable weather patterns; hence presenting some unique IT challenges in the areas of loss and quality.
As with any vertical industry, understanding the specific challenges of the environment is vital. Adapt IT started life as a service provider to the sugar industry over 15 years ago and from there we've grown to become a provider of specialised information technology solutions to sugar producers worldwide.
Looking to diversify
Sugar producers across Africa are looking to diversify and improve their overall margins through the creation of value-added downstream products from raw sugar production. One such product example is ethanol and a reliable robust technology solution is essential to manage this process. The sector has risen well to environmental challenges, including co-generation of electricity and the sustainable production of ethanol, and safety improvement projects are now necessary to address the SHE-Q prerogative holistically.
A specific challenge to the sugar industry is the management of land and farms, with payments to farmers based on quality and the reliable supply of raw materials. This process requires specialised payment systems, as well as the measurement of raw materials through weighbridges and sampling. The weighbridge has long been an area of concern when it comes to losses, often due to inaccurate measurements and pilferage. As part of the weighbridge solution, stringent security systems should ensure accurate weighing procedures while a transparent audit trail is generated through a database ensuring analyses of the recorded data.
Remote areas and multiple countries
Technology can also significantly assist producers with operations in remote areas and multiple countries, with staff speaking different languages and with differing skill levels. Adapt IT has focused for many years on this important sector and it has become one of our key competitive differentiators in a crowded IT sector.