Umfolozi Sugar Mill

“SYSPRO 8 aligns with our vision and fully supports our digital transformation journey, as we are currently exploring moving to a hybrid cloud environment.”

– Bongani Xaba – Management Accountant, Umfolozi Sugar Mill

Company Profile

Based in South Africa’s northern KwaZulu-Natal region, Umfolozi Sugar Mill (USM) was established in 1916 and is a leading producer of Very High Polarity (VHP) brown sugar for local as well as export markets. The company is committed to delivering a high-quality product that satisfies its customers’ needs.

The Business Challenge

USM has been a privately-owned business since 2009, when it was acquired by three private shareholders from Illovo Sugar Ltd., South Africa’s largest sugar producer. At the time, Illovo operated an internal ERP system and USM had the choice of continuing to use it or to search the market for a new solution.

The Solution

A number of ERP systems were considered before SYSPRO was chosen for its strategic vision, superior functionality, ease of use and cost effectiveness. Today, USM has a 24-user license for SYSPRO Version 8.

The Outcome

In 2019, USM upgraded from SYSPRO 6.1 to SYSPRO 8 and is using all the Distribution and Finance modules, from purchase requisitions to procurement, purchase orders, sales orders and dispatch.

Bongani Xaba, Management Accountant of USM and a board member of SYSPRO’s SUGA User Group, says: “The upgrade was an amazing journey because we received positive feedback from our users in terms of their experience on the solution compared to SYSPRO 6.1. SYSPRO 8 aligns with our vision and fully supports our digital transformation journey, as we are currently exploring moving to a hybrid cloud environment.”

An important advantage of migrating from SYSPRO 6.1 to SYSPRO 8 is that USM has reduced its month-end processing times from 2,5 hours to 30 minutes. “We are a 24-hour production plant, so any unavailability of the system means that our trucks have to wait before leaving on deliveries. In addition to making us more productive and enhancing our operational efficiency, this has enabled us to provide better service and turnaround times to our customers,” Xaba says.

These efficiencies enable USM to dispatch higher volumes and meet greater demand which wouldn’t have been possible on SYSPRO 6.1. Searchability across the business, for example to identify a specific supplier, has also improved considerably.

The Sweet Points of SYSPRO 8

Xaba highlights several benefits of using SYSPRO 8, from the increase in field lengths to predictive search, the ease of getting additional reports and faster processing speeds. The company also used the upgrade as an opportunity to explore more functionality and provide additional training to help users get up to speed, making the experience more beneficial, meaningful and easy.

“We learnt that with the right partners, the end result is successful,” he says. “This is largely due to the USM team, which is open to continuous improvement, and to the support we receive from SYSPRO and iOCO, our value-added reseller. We are able to address any issues that arose, find improvements and learn how to use SYSPRO more effectively in our environment.

“We make extensive use of the SYSPRO Learning Channel to continuously expand and enhance our knowledge of the system. It contains a wealth of knowledge and has been extremely useful.”

Looking Ahead

An important milestone on USM’s digital journey will be migrating SYSPRO to the cloud once its exploration of a hybrid cloud environment is complete. The company is also planning to upgrade to a later version of SYSPRO 8.

“We are currently looking at moving some of our infrastructure to the cloud, and retaining some on premise,” Xaba says. “In addition, we have a significant number of mobile employees, so we are looking at implementing SYSPRO Mobile ERP. Plus, more and more of our people are now using SYSPRO, so we will be increasing our user license.”


Umfolozi Sugar Mill


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