Tecsys: The Agile Supply Chain Navigator

Peter Brereton, President & CEO, TecsysPeter Brereton, President & CEO Peter Brereton is an avid sailor, a passion that gives him an interesting perspective on both life and business. He’s also at the helm of Montreal-based Tecsys, a Supply Chain Management software provider making waves in the industry for its game-changing technology. As Tecsys President and CEO, Brereton sees striking similarities between building an effective supply chain and setting sail. Just as beginning a sailing expedition requires the crew to chart the course from beginning to end, agile businesses need to set their strategies and goals. They must collaborate at all times to keep making headway despite any unexpected changes, whether in the form of choppy water and bad weather or new customer fulfillment demands and changing regulations. In both scenarios, the crew must do everything it takes to stay on course and adjust as the situation changes—because it always will. It’s all about flexibility, collaboration, and keeping an eye on the destination. For Brereton, this is where Tecsys excels.

Advancing the Industry Standard

Tecsys began in 1983 as a software reseller. By the late 80s, the team recognized that suppliers to big box retailers like Walmart were struggling with changing industry conditions. Walmart, in particular, was forcing new demands on those suppliers every year, and the technology platforms available at the time weren’t built to handle those requirements. Tecsys decided to develop a sophisticated supply chain platform that focused on helping businesses keep up with what Walmart was asking of them.

"We are laser-focused on our segment of the supply chain execution market, and we have optimized every single common business process to make sure that it can be done with maximum efficiency"

The procurement and supply chain marketplace has since expanded to include a wide variety of trading partners, putting new demands on supply chain organizations to get goods to market in an increasingly complex trading environment. A typical Tecsys customer may be buying from both high-end, technology-savvy suppliers and from small, family-owned businesses with unique products.

We bring to market a complete, end-to-end platform that is truly a full enterprise solution with the speed, flexibility, and agility to bridge the gap between monolithic ERP players and warehouse management solutions

As a result, the supply chain that underlies the end-to-end trade route to market has to deal with decades-old technologies that still serve many vendors. However, the bottom line is that supply chain operators need to be able to meet their goals while being cost effective. Accomplishing this efficiently means not having to suffer the legacy constraints of vendors along the way.

The Solution to Bridge All Solutions

With the demand for a fresh approach becoming evident, Tecsys developed a new, comprehensive product that spanned the requirements of the suppliers, industry particulars, and regulations involved. The system operates in real time to capture the changes in the rapidly evolving marketplace. Dashboards support informed decision-making to help businesses detect changes happening with their customers, allowing them to adjust operations as needed.

The Tecsys platform helps leaders across many industries navigate everything from forecasting and demand planning to receipt, warehousing, transportation, the full purchase-to-pay cycle, inventory optimization, and order to cash. It can be as nimble as required on demand, offering full end-to-end solutions, as Tecsys’ capacity extends to handle financials, budgeting, and receivables while continuously reassessing credit and pricing, all with its trademark focus on speed and agility. “We bring to market a complete, end-to-end platform that is truly a full enterprise solution with the speed, flexibility, and agility to bridge the gap between monolithic ERP players and warehouse management solutions,” states Brereton.

For example, a company that launches 20 new products for a given season will find measurable benefit in understanding which items are flying off the shelves, and which are gathering dust. They can fine-tune their supply chain in real time and take advantage of the market opportunity. The combination of optimized business processes and the real-time decision support is really what drives new revenue opportunities and accelerates growth. A product line can typically be set up on the Tecsys platform in less than an hour versus the multiple days required in other solutions.

Demonstrating Honed Expertise

Some industries require the ability to track and trace products as they move from point to point in the supply chain. This regulatory challenge must be managed efficiently—and precisely—as consumer safety is often at stake. As a result, healthcare, hazardous materials, wine and spirits, and pharmaceuticals are all areas where the Tecsyssolution provides clear benefits.

“We are laser-focused on our segment of the supply chain execution market, and we have optimized every single common business process to make sure that it can be done with maximum efficiency,” adds Brereton.

Case in Point: One Tecsys customer, a 3rd-party logistics company on the East Coast, had been experiencing annual growth rates of 80–90 percent for several years. The company was a long-time user of the Tecsys solution, which had supported their success in fulfilling online orders for their end customers. On Black Friday 2017, the company shipped 200,000–300,000 orders per hour using the Tecsys platform. Through the partnership with the 3PL, Tecsys had enabled optimized business processes and given the customer the ability to handle greatly elevated levels of demand, making it possible to deliver on customer promises.


Tecsys is the first company to develop an end-to-end supply chain platform for hospital networks that captures the consumption of products at the point of use through clinically integrated workflows. This gives hospitals full visibility into items used at nursing stations and in procedural areas such as the OR, Cath Lab, and ER, as well as in the pharmacy. With this capability, health systems can significantly reduce costs while ensuring the right supplies are always on hand to treat patients. These changes are possible due to Tecsys’ ability to simplify forecasting, demand planning, purchasing, receiving, and transportation throughout the organization. There is one seamless supply chain with end-to-end visibility.

The secret to this success, which applies to complex distribution as well, is that Tecsys has truly focused on making its applications intuitive to use, which supports strong adoption. This is critical for new hire onboarding due to the high turnover rates for warehouse associates today. Companies need new hires to be able to walk into a warehouse job and start completing tasks like picking, put-away, and receiving immediately, with minimal training. By taking its cues from simple-to-use consumer technology, Tecsys’ handheld units direct workers in warehouses or storage units through their assignments step by step with visual cues. For example, executing a picking operation where the instruction is simply to “pick 1 unit” may lead to confusion. Does the worker think one “unit” is an “each” or a “box?” The Tecsys platform uses images and graphical cues to specify exactly what that “unit” means by displaying the unit on the device in image form as a box or a single item within that box. The result is crystal-clear picking instructions that generate tremendous reductions in errors and lost products.

Beyond Borders and Supply Chains

The strong Tecsys company culture is one of the underpinnings of its success. Collaboration and respect are the rules and not the exception, and individual contributions are highlighted. The company thus maintains high longevity in its ranks, with a turnover of around six percent. Tecsys makes sure that people in R&D actually spend time with operations and in the field, underscoring the value it places on knowledge and learning and reiterating Brereton’s belief that “You can’t build deep knowledge if you don’t keep your people.” Tecsys is currently in North America and Western Europe, where it plans to expand going forward. The company has its sights on enhancing support for e-fulfillment based on customer requests.

- Abhinov Punnakkal
    November 16, 2018