This year, Precast Software Engineering GmbH based in the state of Salzburg is celebrating even three anniversaries: The team has been developing solutions for the precast concrete industry for 30 years; the company has been part of the Nemetschek Group based on Munich for 15 years; and Werner Maresch has been managing the company for 10 years now. Hence, three good reasons for the BFT editorial staff to talk with the precast pioneer and general manager, Werner Maresch, about the future of the industry. Signs are pointing to success, that much is revealed beforehand.
BFT International: Mr. Maresch, first of all, congratulation on the anniversaries. You and your team have been developing software for the precast concrete industry for 30 years now. How has the industry developed?
Werner Maresch: Thanks a lot! The industry has developed strongly. Nowadays, projects are planned and constructed much faster and in higher quality. We are very pleased that our software innovations could and can make a contribution, and we have much more in mind. The topic of efficiency in planning and implementation becomes more and more important given the lack of skilled labor and the global trend of industrialized construction.
In comparison to other widespread solutions, PLANBAR (note: planning software) and TIM|WORK (software for work preparation) allow for gains in productivity in a high double-digit percentage range. We continuously enhance this leading edge by a 100 percent focusing on precast concrete elements as well as our large development team – but that‘s enough of advertising, let‘s get back to your question: Essentially, we are doing the same as we did 30 years ago – we generate 3D data for robot-supported production systems – now, of course, at a much higher level of quality and efficiency, thanks to many clever minds.
BFT International: What is the reason for your commitment to the industry?
Werner Maresch: We are driven by the fact that we as an industry have the answer to THE challenge of our time: creating liveable rooms for a fast growing world population. According to forecasts of the United Nations, living space will be needed for additional 760 million new human beings in the next ten years. In addition, old buildings, of course, have to be modernized and replaced continuously.
Creating so much living space in an ever higher quality, in a very short time and with regard to sustainability aspects – this is where the precast industry can truly demonstrate its strengths. With the extra benefit of convenient and safe working conditions thanks to prefabrication under a roof. This leads us from the philosophical point of view to the economic aspect for us as an industry: The prospects for the industry remain excellent, throughout the world.
BFT International: What are the perspectives in respect of planning software?
Werner Maresch: Let me briefly consider what the most important trends are: First of all, usability gets more and more important – what brings us back to the lack of skilled labor. Today, the ideal solution is a software that can be used after a few hours of learning. For some fields of work there will be Apps that can be used without any training and instruction at all. Our mTIM is an example: Employees involved in production and planning can use their tablet computer to see exactly the plans they just need. The work progress is also totally transparent with the aid of the application: The workers scan the QR codes on the manufactured or assembled elements, enabling them to record their activities. This also ensures accomplishing invoicing quickly.
The second major topic is the increasing complexity of BIM projects. Ever more teams as well as increasingly international teams and systems must work together and the time pressure is increasing. Solutions to these problems are provided by the BIM approach, collaboration software, open interfaces and data hubs like TIM|FLOW – now, a platform is required managing the information flows among ERP systems, CAD systems, MES systems and other BIM applications intelligently. These networks also lead to many possibilities for automation – manual scheduling and material planning in an elaborate way, for example, are no longer necessary.
The third topic is the „digital twin“. Today‘s planning software and the BIM approach generate digital as-built virtual models of buildings as they were built actually. Therefore, maintenance and refurbishment works can be carried out much more efficiently. You need only think about the innumerable exposures to asbestos in many buildings – with the aid of as-built models, in future, it will be possible to eliminate such hazards as soon as they are identified.
Last but not least, we realize that precast producers and planners are less and less willing to or able to deal with IT. The shortage of manpower requires an absolute concentration on the core tasks – leaving no time for software modifications and IT optimization. Therefore, a lot of our customers outsource these IT issues to us, setting themselves free for productive tasks – we call it Customer Excellence Services, and the demand for these services increased massively in the last two years.
Summing up your question: Many additional and useful software innovations and services, making things easier in the precast concrete industry, will be provided by Precast Software Engineering – and the Nemetschek Group – in the next few years, with focusing on simplification, acceleration and fascination. Ever more people will recognize the advantages of the BIM method and the BIM tools and will make use of them.
BFT International: What is your wish for yourself and the industry?
Werner Maresch: That we continue to work with great enthusiasm to increase quality and productivity even more. That we use BIM in order to simplify and improve the collaboration of all parties involved in projects. That software providers and machinery manufacturers are moving closer and closer together so as to provide perfect results. That we carry out awareness training until every kid knows and appreciates the advantages of industrialized construction – this, of course, also applies to the media (laughing).
BFT International: And lastly, the question that should not be missing in an anniversary interview: What are you most grateful for?
Werner Maresch: I am very glad about the numerous companions, together with whom we have been developing the industry further for 30 years now – in this regard, I am primarily thinking of precast concrete plants, engineering offices, machinery manufacturing companies, consulting firms and the sister companies of the Nemetschek Group, with whom we have jointly created innovations – and, of course, the long-term colleagues and staff members from the very beginning, like Christine Mauser, Peter Kafka, Johannes Eibl, Thomas Wanger, Franz Enzinger, Oliver Scala und many others. Last but not least, I would like to thank you for your questions and your time.
Interview: Silvio Schade, Editor-in-Chief BFT International