R/€ = 14.19
R/$ = 10.56
Au 1304.96 $/oz
Pt 1488.50 $/oz
Feb 17, 2006
Engineering firm rides the waves of technological progressBack
Engineering|Pretoria|Africa|Defence|Energy|General Electric|Industrial|IST|IST Holdings|IST Telecom|Nuclear|Africa|Europe|North America|South Africa|Chemical And Metallurgical Engineers|Energy|High-tech Products|Technology Wave|Turnkey Solutions|Consulting Engineers|Derrick|Harry Coetzee
© Reuse this This is truly an intellectual-capitalcompany,” enthuses IST group chiefexecutive Harry Coetzee.
“We see intellectual capital as the ability to generate one’s own intellectual property (IP) or to put other people’s IP to good use through the employment of highly-skilled people,” he explains.
“As the demand for different engineeringsolutions arises in the economy, whatever they may be, IST will adopt them, master them, and offer them to the market,” heassures.
“We are first and foremost an engineering company – we are led by engineers,the majority of our staff are engineers,supported by other disciplines,” heelucidates.
IST’s primary skills sets are electricalengineering, electronic engineering,computer engineering and software, and then mechanical engineering – it hassome work which requires chemical and metallurgical engineers.
“There is no other company in SouthAfrica that has the breadth of engineering,the depth of skills, and the breadth and depth of experience that we have, under one roof,” he maintains.
The phrase ‘under one-roof’ is almostliterally true; except for IST Industrial,located in Centurion, in the Tshwane Metro, south of Pretoria, all IST’s otherdivisions are located in a single building in Menlyn, eastern Pretoria. “It is important to stress that we are not consulting engineers; rather, we deliver turnkey solutions – we don’t do just advice; we dodesign and delivery; and our investment ineffort has always been on getting a continualinflux of new, skilled people from universitiesand technikons, and on the continuous acquisition of new, high-tech products and solutions,” he affirms.
Technologies have always changed over time; once those time periods could bemeasured in centuries then in decades and now in years.
The company does not seek merely to keep up with these changes; it seeks to ride the crest of the technology wave and bring the latest to the South African market.
The company is able to do this because its diversified nature means that, while onedivision is spending money and time onabsorbing and mastering new technology, it can, if need be, be kept afloat by the profits generated by the other divisions.
“This allows us to take on new technologiesin their early gestation phase: we are committed to supplying leading-edge technologiesat the front of the learning curve and we do so with a blend of our own IP and imported IP which we adapt to local conditions,” points out Coetzee.
That also means that the group is constantly evolving and adapting. Founded 25 years ago, today’s IST bears little resemblance to theoriginal company, except in spirit.
“IST started as a defence company; if ithad remained a defence company, it would not have survived – but it adapted; by its nature it continues to adapt, and it will always adapt,” he states.
“In a smaller company like ours, whichhas a flat managerial structure, a culture offrugality, and an egalitarian ethos, instilled by IST founder Derrick du Toit, you have theadvantage of quicker decision-making, and a more entrepreneurial approach,” he highlights.
These factors, plus one more, also explain how the company can survive, in fact thrive, in the face of competition by giant multinationals.
That extra factor is location.
IST is not a global player – it is an African player; it does some work outside Africa but its core markets are South Africa and Africa: the company’s skills base is here, and not in Europe or North America, and that gives IST its competitive edge, as its clients do not have to wait for its people to fly in from across the world.
Further, the company has established a strong relationship with one of the biggest and most powerful of the world’s great technology companies: General Electric.
“I think we have ample evidence that this strategy is a good one,” he affirms.
Today, the IST group comprises IST Holdings, which controls the group; three branches or wings; and eight divisions orcompanies.
The three branches are: Electronics, Intellectual Property and Development (IPD), and Industrial.
Electronics comprises IST Data, IST Energy, IST Otokon, and IST Telecom.
IPD comprises IST Dynamics and IST Nuclear.
Industrial is now composed of IST Industrial and IST Technik.
“Provided we continue to build our skills set, which we are committed to doing, this company has a fantastic future,” concludes Coetzee.
Edited by: Keith Campbell© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Construction News
Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago Delta International has embarked on a programme that would see the recently reverse-listed property fund potentially acquire $250-million of assets across Africa. The Africa-focused group raised more than $87-million through a private placement to kick-start its...
Updated 3 hours ago Already home to the No 1 and No 2 Silo developments, the final phase of the Cape Town-based V&A Waterfront’s Silo district – which would see the addition of the No 3, No 4, No 5 and No 6 Silo projects – was on track for an early 2017 completion, after receiving...
Updated 7 hours ago Construction, mining, development and engineering group Basil Read on Monday announced the appointment of Neville Nicolau as CEO and executive director of the company as from September 1. Nicolau, a former CEO of Anglo American Platinum and a former COO and executive...
Updated 24 minutes ago According to forecasts, electricity demand is expected to increase significantly over the evening peak on Monday owing to cold weather, with “no cushioning” should anything unexpected occur, energy utility Eskom has cautioned. “We urge customers to reduce their...
Updated 49 minutes ago The South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) would contact the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to raise concerns relating to the issuing of water use licences and the risk the current issuing process posed to development activity. In a statement on...
Updated 1 hour 11 minutes ago Despite the continued reconfiguration of the new Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS), “things are not going to fall through the cracks”, DTPS director-general Rosey Sekese has assured Parliament. Presenting the department’s strategic...
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
The uncertainties around the remediation of affected areas as addressed in the Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will possibly spark litigation and disputes between landowners and businesses, contractors...
South Africa is currently the largest component of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) active portfolio in Southern Africa, comprising 62.5% of the bank’s $7.9-billion exposure to the 12-country region – the second largest beneficiary is Mauritius, which...