The continued improvement of labour conditions, environmental sustainability, ethical compliance through the value chain, and adherence to best practice in agriculture are all factors that the best farmers and producers in South Africa strive to achieve – and reaching these standards of excellence is reachable through participation in The Sustainability Initiative of South Africa, or SIZA.

SIZA is a non-profit organisation that provides a platform for producers “to self-assess their progress, with labour, trade and environmental programmes that monitor, evaluate and report on ethical and environmental compliance throughout the value chain,” says Werner Van Dyk, audit manager of SIZA. The programmes consist of an audit process that is followed up by independent third-party audits.

“The audit process goes beyond a single pass or fail approach – it incorporates a longer-term vision of attaining a better and more sustainable industry,” says Van Dyk.

While the uptake from producers was increasing, the challenge the NPO found itself facing was its legacy system had become outdated, expensive, and difficult to maintain. Together with constant legislation changes, adding an environmental module to the programme, and software that was no longer compatible with many of the devices utilised by users, the time had come to migrate to a cloud-based solution.

Salesforce Partner CloudSmiths upgraded SIZA’s legacy platform to a customised cloud-based solution called MySIZA, providing an integrated CRM built on Salesforce. “In light of our specific requirements and what we wanted to achieve, we decided to partner with CloudSmiths and implement Salesforce Sales Cloud and Experience Cloud,” says Retha Louw, CEO of SIZA.

The transition to the cloud-based solution has enabled the sharing of vital information between producers, auditors, buyers, importers and exporters. The organisation works with government, labour and civil society, producers, exporters, importers, retailers, and other internationally accredited industry bodies across local and global supply chains.

SIZA’s stakeholders can now connect in real-time with their suppliers, while SIZA admins, vital to the audit process, can interact with producers and auditors. MySIZA also enables risk analysis, monitoring of the audit process and the harnessing of data to make informed decisions.

The 12-month migration process saw the introduction of a platform with the functionality to send automated audit information to producers, allowing for corrective actions to be taken against areas of non-compliance. “This encourages improvement from the producer, while assuring transparency and objectivity to buyers and importers. Security features built into the platform assure SIZA’s over 3,500 members that their privacy and information is protected, with the security, integrity, and safety of all data maintained,” says Jason Timm, CEO, CloudSmiths. In addition, CloudSmiths delivers maintenance and support that is critical to SIZA’s fast-changing timelines, working across different time zones and quick turnaround times.

The project is now into its second phase, which incorporates digital monitoring related to water management, carbon footprints, and other environmental issues around producer sustainability. Also on the horizon is the development of an API (Application Programming Interface) that will allow MySIZA to link to international platforms in the UK, Europe, and other regions – delivering global alignment and scalability.

Timm concludes by saying: “Salesforce Experience Cloud enables businesses to interact with customers across channels, building stronger relationships through personalised content. This is a fast, trusted platform that allows access to a broad ecosystem of tools and world-class applications.”