Sugar supply chain overhaul: South Africa

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Understanding and refining South Africa's approach to sugar milling.

The problem:

Sugarcane transport and loading supply systems in South Africa were identified as costly and inefficient. With an underutilisation of equipment for growers and high costs breeding distrust and disunity among all the key players in the industry.


To promote transparency among all entities involved in the harvesting and crushing process, and to help identify weaknesses in the supply chain the South African Cane Growers; Association and South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) sought an all-in-one software solution. 

FREDD was introduced to assist millers, hauliers and growers monitor performance while encouraging productivity as part of the staged introduction to the platform across South African farms. 



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reduction on vehicle delays following the introduction of the FREDD software.  In addition to this, the mills experienced a reduction in the occurrence and duration of mill no-cane stops by as much as 50%. 

In 2006, Malelan Sugar Mill in Mpumalanga South Africa was the first commercial application of FREDD to be introduced in Southern Africa, to assist and improve supply chain management.  Darnall (Tongaat Hulett), Maidstone (Tongaat Hulett) and the Simunye in Swaziland (RSSC Sugar) mills soon followed, building on the successful implementation at Malelan.

Using industry and region-specific platform customisations a number of Agtrix programs were developed to work in addition to the FREDD program to streamline and improve the process, minimising wait times at the mill and calculator optimum crush rates.

Mill operators also found the introduction of FREDD created momentum to address other inefficiencies, as they could be easily identified through the software. 

Key to FREDD‘s success in the region was also its ability to create a level playing field for all operators in the space. 

Previously it was common practice for supply chains to experience underhand practices in an attempt to gain some advantage at the expense of others who were operating legitimately. With FREDD in place these issues are now resolved, as the programs continuously monitor all role-players in real-time relative to each other.

A private haulier and grower reported that within a season they were able to increase their total tonnage hauled from 31,000 tonnes to 67,000 tonnes due to time gained from the quick turnaround. 

“Traditionally and prior to FREDD, if there were less than seven vehicles at the mill, the mill operators would start preparing for boil-off and a no-cane stop,” a Darnall Miller said. 

“Currently, we have got a maximum of five and a minimum of three vehicles at the mill at any given time. Mill operations and best practices had to be changed to accommodate this and the mindset change of all employees had to take place as they constantly wanted to boil-off or ‘bank’ the boilers due to the perceived shortage of trucks,” he said. 

"This year I have transported over 53 000 tonnes with one vehicle. This just would not have been possible without FREDD at our mill.”

Darnall Haulier

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