Precast is the future
A forward-thinking software developer, i-Theses is expanding its offering to the global precast market, having developed modules that can be applied to precast floors, beams, columns, and stairs during the construction process
Led by its mission to penetrate every single segment of the precast concrete industry with its technologically-advanced tools, the specialist in calculating and design software solutions i-Theses has grown steadily in the last three decades. A series of innovations in its product offering, as well as the formation of fruitful business partnerships with like-minded companies have enabled the Belgium-based developer to craft solutions that integrate the complete production process. This means that the i-Theses’ software, known as PrecastOffice, takes care of operations such as project management, design, loads planning, production planning, quality control, stock/stockyard management, and logistics. In addition, the company’s tools are all BIM-integrated (building information modelling), thus facilitating the production process and shortening time to market.
Having demonstrated shrewdness in staying in line with market needs, i-Theses has time and again proven its skills in developing working software solutions that can efficiently tackle existing challenges encountered by precast concrete manufacturers. This, in combination with the company’s continuous drive for improvement and the desire to always introduce more and more ingenious products, has turned i-Theses into a trustworthy partner that never fails to deliver and exceed its promises.
“Historically, we were a long-term Gold Partner of Autodesk, but in May 2018, the i-Theses Autodesk VAR Division was acquired by The Monnoyeur Group and transferred to its software distribution brand,” Rony Verlee, CEO Sales of i-Theses, explains the structural changes that have recently taken place in the company. “This allowed us to focus solely on the precast industry and we are now expanding our portfolio of software applications considerably, reaching out to areas like beams and columns, as well as stairs, as opposed to just the flooring segment.”
Highlighting this approach has been the development of new Planners for production planning for the aforementioned markets, which will be showcased by i-Theses at Europe’s leading specialist concrete exhibition – the UK Concrete Show in Birmingham, in March 2019.
The end of 2018 brought about a new strategic partnership for i-Theses, which joined forces with Trimble – the developer of the structural BIM software Tekla Structures, to simplify fabrication workflows in the precast concrete industry. With both companies declaring their commitment for joint development, it is expected that seamless data flow will be made easier between the two software applications, allowing for more streamlined precast design, detailing, and production workflows for their customers. This, in turn, will reduce manual work and human errors, and improve the efficiency of the said processes. In the early stages of the partnership, Trimble’s Tekla Structures will exchange data in i-Theses’ Floordesk Planning Software applications.
“It is clearly observable that there is a need for easier sharing of information and making it more accessible for the users,” Rony comments on some of the ongoing trends within the industry, and the company’s ideas of how it might take advantage of them. “We are currently developing web-based programmes for capacity planning and project management that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, provided that this device is connected to the Internet. It will benefit our clients who, even when they are on the road, will be able to check what the production capacity will be in the next weeks or months.It is a big move we are making in the planning discipline and our efforts there are going to be one of the major focus areas for the business in the years to come,” he discusses.
When i-Theses first began exploring the possibilities of software development for precast concrete manufacturers in the 1990s, the company concentrated on targeting predominantly its domestic Belgian market. Having risen to and maintained the position of a market leader at home, the business decided to pursue ambitions that would put it under the spotlight of other geographical areas, mainly in Europe and the UK. “We defined our goal to intensify our export activities about seven or eight years ago and one of the very first markets where we managed to establish a footprint in and be really successful, was the UK and Ireland, which also remains our biggest export market to this day,” Rony states.
“To me, the precast floor market in Britain is booming. We were there recently to meet a number of customers and it seems that the opportunities there are endless,” he says, expressing his optimism about the prospects the industry faces in the UK. “Precast is definitely the future. In January this year, The UK government vowed to build 300,000 new homes every year until the mid-2020s, which is a clear indication that a lot of work will be done within the next decade, and our goal is to develop a host of new and innovative software tools to optimise the entire process.”
As much as i-Theses is eager to strengthen its positon in Europe, the company is also trying to gain a foothold in the Middle East – a region it has identified to hold untapped potential, due to the large number of construction schemes that are being launched at the moment in this part of the world. “Looking into the more distant future, one of the biggest objectives for the organisation is to build a presence in areas we have not targeted before,” Rony notes. “Simultaneously, we will continue to enrich our portfolio of solutions with new tools that will enable us to be a leading provider in every section of the precast concrete industry, covering the complete workflow and having it as integrated as possible,” he concludes.
Services: Software solutions for the precast industry