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30 Entrepreneurs Of The Year 2018

In the limelight: OPTEL GROUP, the Canada based leading global provider of traceability systems, aims to build a better, smarter and safer world


OPTEL President, Louis Roy’s vision began with the future of children in mind. In today’s world, the future points to major challenges for them, but Louis also sees the opportunity to help, by creating a road to sustainability that we can take together. Nearly 30 years ago, he acted on this belief and embarked on a journey to build this road to sustainability and make the world a better place through technologies that make a true contribution to humanity. That is how OPTEL was born.

Louis worked relentlessly to learn, improve, challenge and find solutions that ensure a better, safer place for the children of the world, and he continues to do so every day. Over the years, OPTEL has developed and integrated advanced technologies to address complex problems for customers as well as society. Since then, OPTEL has grown into an incredible cross-functional team of 850 talents, dedicated to supporting various industries and helping them achieve compliance and efficiency while fostering corporate social responsibilities.

Getting off the ground

Founded in Quebec City as Optel Vision in 1989, OPTEL began by using its expertise in optics, electronics and computing to develop custom manufacturing solutions for a variety of different customers. Approximately a decade later, the company entered the pharmaceutical market by developing advanced inspection systems that would allow pharmaceutical companies and contract manufacturers to verify the quality of their products and packaging. Since then, the pharma market has been a major part of OPTEL’s business, and the company quickly became a leading provider in the field, particularly after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started adopting serialization compliance regulations to help prevent the distribution of counterfeit medications.

Today, pharma remains a large part of OPTEL’s customer base, but its adaptable traceability solutions, combined with recent complementary acquisitions, have also allowed it to diversify into other industries such as medical devices, healthcare (namely, retail and hospital pharmacies), food and beverage, natural resources, smart manufacturing, and more to come. From a technological standpoint, OPTEL has evolved from the field to the cloud. The company started with vision systems, sensors and printers, developed device control and inspection systems, then middleware solutions and plant controllers, etc. gradually adding more and more connectivity, gathering and exchanging data with national databases and other systems.

The recognized global leader in traceability systems

Today, OPTEL is the leading multinational global provider of traceability systems with a global market share of 23.8% and a wide customer base that includes 8 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world, both brand-name and generic.

Although a large part of OPTEL’s recent success has been in North America, its renowned solutions are deployed around the world and its international market and customer base has been growing steadily. With headquarters in Canada and additional facilities in Ireland, India, USA, and Brazil, as well as 800 employees worldwide, OPTEL caters to a wide variety of customers and industries throughout the world.

Now OPTEL is proud to announce that it is the first company in Quebec City to officially become a Certified B Corporation. This is an important step in OPTEL’s mission to encourage individuals and corporations to initiate or take part in actions that benefit people, business, communities and the planet. OPTEL has also announced that it has been attributed “Silver” status by business sustainability experts, EcoVadis, further reinforcing OPTEL’s position as a supplier of choice, who is mindful of its social and environmental impact. Obtaining this recognition clearly demonstrates OPTEL’s leadership and commitment to corporate social responsibility and is perfectly aligned with the company’s values, as OPTEL has always strived to use its technologies to solve real, concrete problems instead of creating new ones.

Services offered by OPTEL: Optimized and simplified

OPTEL develops inspection, serialization, traceability and engineering solutions and services for various industries for the purpose of solving real, important issues to ultimately help create a better world. Through its traceability solutions, OPTEL’s goal is to make products safer and supply chains less obscure. Beyond complying with legal requirements, the ability to identify and trace products can offer organizations a significant competitive advantage thanks to the actionable data it generates. And this applies to every industry, namely:

  • Pharmaceuticals – Visionary technologies for compliance and efficiency, enabling customers to comply with serialization regulations and beyond to aggregation, efficiency, profitability and sustainability
  • Medical Devices – Custom vision inspection and traceability solutions – Customers can benefit from turnkey, custom-based and cost-effective traceability solutions and support to inspect and serialize medical device production and packaging lines
  • Healthcare – Turnkey verification and decommissioning solutions for hospitals and retail pharmacies – These solutions help meet FMD requirements and ensure the safety of patients at each step of the healthcare supply chain from the manufacturing plant to the patient
  • Food and Beverage – End-to-end traceability – from raw materials to the end user – to track goods and gain complete visibility with blockchain technology for a transparent and intelligent supply chain
  • Natural resources – Geotraceability from production or extraction to the consumer – Customers can track and trace natural resources such as cocoa, coffee, cotton, palm oil, nuts, minerals etc., to enhance supply chain visibility and overall transparency

OPTEL: A class apart

OPTEL is the only company capable of providing end-to-end traceability and creating the Intelligent Supply Chain™.

The convergence of new technologies such as AI, blockchain, cloud computing, and business intelligence is bringing about unprecedented opportunities to create change. Traceability is at the heart of those technologies and OPTEL has the expertise to work with and incorporate all of them. It is the combination of such cutting-edge technologies, OPTEL’s wide variety of technical expertise and key partnerships that is allowing the company to create something new and immensely valuable. Traceability brings all these elements together, making it the driver of smarter supply chains.

Indeed, today’s supply chains are quite ineffective due to the lack of visibility and transparency between each stage. Traceability can solve all these issues, and since supply chains affect every business, this ability can provide a number of efficiency gains and reduce waste at every step, so the potential for significant impact is enormous. As one can see, OPTEL is different in one major way: its commitment to creating solutions that benefit businesses, people, and the planet, in order to ensure the well-being of future generations.

Knowing the man behind OPTEL’s success


Louis Roy firmly believes that intelligent supply chains will contribute to substantial economic growth that is sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly. With this in mind, as part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative, he initiated and is co-presiding SCALE.AI, an industry-led consortium that will shape the new global supply chain platform.

Through product tracking, data acquisition and connectivity, OPTEL’s technologies provide the much-needed visibility and actionable data required to ensure product safety, reduce waste, cut distribution costs, increase productivity, and protect the environment. Since supply chains affect every business, the potential for significant impact is enormous. Through all these actions, Louis Roy wants OPTEL to be a positive-impact corporation, because the business world and children need more positive role models.

“I strongly believe that social responsibility can coexist with profitability and that we all have to play our part and take action so that future generations inherit a better, more sustainable world. Part of my mission is to inspire other business leaders to join this movement, so it’s very important to me that we practice what we preach.”