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Peter Brereton

Communication, technologie & Technologie de l'information, Transport & Entreposage

Montréal

Proudly celebrating its 40th anniversary since its founding in 1983, Tecsys is a global IT solutions provider for business supply chain optimization. Serving healthcare, retail and many complex markets, this industry leader offers dynamic solutions for procurement, order fulfillment, warehouse management, distribution and transportation of goods. Cutting-edge technology helps businesses thrive!

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The genesis...

A family matter

Peter Brereton and his brother Dave are both from Toronto, but Montreal is where they were born professionally.

During a family gathering over the
1983 Holiday season, they discuss their entrepreneurial project. Having a lot in common, both brothers share a passion for computers and technology. With a degree in programming in hand, they decide to found Tecsys, an IT company.

We decided to team up and try something!

Peter works in sales in Toronto, while his brother Dave, also a sales representative
at the time, is based in Montreal where he bought a house. This made it easier for Peter to move to the city.

“My brother is nine years older than me. He had a mortgage to pay while, for my part, the only thing I owned was a Chevy Nova.”

Peter then moves to Montreal to start a company with Dave. He is no stranger to this region, having spent many winter vacations in Quebec with his parents during his childhood.

“I always felt at home in Quebec!”

The two entrepreneurs are eager to meet the multiple challenges awaiting them.

“In 1984, we shared a space in the back of a computer hardware store. In 1985, we worked in Dave’s basement in Pierrefonds until 1987, the year we rented our first offices.”

 

From Toronto to Montreal

Peter and Dave 1999
© Richard Arless, The Gazette

Team

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An idea that has come a long way

Peter and Dave start out as value-added resellers in the Montreal area. They buy products they sell in the United States and others which are translated and sell in Montreal. They implement management software for all types of businesses.

“Dave then sold computers and I installed the software. ”

The company expand and the two entrepreneurs develop their own software specifically designed for importers, who are numerous in Montreal.

We started to develop a software that tracks inventories of goods arriving at the port. A complete software that contains all the solutions for importers.

Tecsys helps many small businesses with its IT solutions for business logistics. In fact, the IT company enables businesses to organise their supply chain management, which makes them highly efficient!

 

Christine Alarie, John Reichert, Jim Moffat and Peter Angione

Peter Brereton

 

Unique

Uncertainty looms

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From the beginning until the middle of the 1990s, the Quebec business world experiences a major slowdown.

There was a lot of uncertainty in the air.

During this period of instability Tecsys decides to take a chance in the USA.

“It wasn’t part of the original plan, but we decided to branch out from the local market. The American market is so big!”

Both partners realize that the software they developed provides the support that perfectly meets the needs of multinational Walmart’s suppliers, who then become their main customers.

That’s when we experienced significant growth.

Life-saving programmers

Tecsys’ team is known as the saviours of the supplier market, as it enables small – and sometimes struggling – companies to structure themselves with regards to logistics, to get better organized and become more efficient.

One such company is a modest Toronto-based retailer and importer of sunglasses. This company is trying unsuccessfully to get Walmart to become one of its clients.

Thanks to the IT solutions offered by Tecsys, this organisation improves its supply chain and Walmart gives them a chance to distribute their products in one of its stores. The experience is a great success!

 

Logistics

Success story

 

The following year, Walmart allows them to distribute their products in several stores. In the third year, they become Walmart’s main sunglasses supplier in North America.

“So, this small company from Toronto went from $8 million in revenue to $100 million in three years.”

Peter observes that when a company collapses, it is often the logistics that go awry, like shipments not being made on time and multinationals charging suppliers for the delays. A downward spiral follows, which sometimes leads to bankruptcy.

Sometimes we are called the saviours of Walmart’s suppliers market. These companies would be disorganized if not for our systems. We help them to manage and plan.

Growth spurts

In 1986, Tecsys’ expansion is such that the company needs outside investors to support it. Several large corporations invest in the organisation: the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Innovatec, Quorum Growth of Toronto.

Montreal is an excellent city to support IT services companies financially. There are reputable agencies, good technology investors.

In 1998, Tecsys goes public during the dot- com bubble phenomenon. Before the Y2K bug, the technology market was booming like never before. “It was absolutely insane! Thousands of companies were rushing to change their systems.” From 1997 to 1999, Tecsys experiences an impressive upswing.

In the early 2000s, many companies get involved in online commerce. The technology market is on the rise on the stock market. It is a successful year for Tecsys, whose share value increases from $2 in 1999 to $50 in 2000.

In 2001, that bubble burst and IT companies experienced difficulties.

Tecsys is not immune to this and the value of its shares drops to 0.60 cents. The company revenue falls by more than a half.

Unfortunately, we had to furlough hundreds of employees!

 

Dot-com bubble

 

Rolling up the sleeves

Dave, who left the company from 1995 to 2001 to focus on running the non-profit organisation Youth Unlimited, comes to lend a hand to his brother during this difficult time. Peter and Dave are the figureheads of Tecsys for about five years. They share the responsibilities of running the company.

They develop new markets and focus on complex general distribution, again to help companies organise their supply chain in an optimal way. The IT services company sells its software to American hospital networks that are lagging behind in terms of logistics.

“Everything was done manually! The stakeholders in the healthcare system were wasting valuable time looking for equipment.”

The Tecsys team is on the rise again and becomes the leader in supply chain solutions for American hospital networks. The company picks up almost all the contracts that require complex logistics in this sector.

The Trinity Health network has just over 90 hospitals that use our management systems.

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Industry leader

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In 2022, Tecsys’ reputation precedes it. The Montreal-based company does business with many multinationals around the world. The platform is available in several languages including English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Arabic.

Tecsys’ clients include: Kmart, Australia’s largest retailer, cosmetics giant Sephora in France, Ubisoft and Nissan, who use their platform throughout North America, even in Mexico. Not to mention many hospitals in the United States.

It’s rewarding to have created a platform that is useful worldwide. We work with big companies who trust us and we are proud of it!

 

Universal

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Vision and values...

Inspirational figures

One of Peter Brereton’s first mentors is his father. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, he has always been involved in the business world.

He was vice-president of finance at White Motor. Despite the fact that he passed away when Peter was only 14 years old, he remains an important figure to his son.

“He was a great coach for us as kids. He taught us to play Monopoly. Monopoly is all about cash flow!”

Several authors serve as mentors for Peter, who spends many hours reading despite his busy schedule. As a young entrepreneur, Peter’s mind is positively shaped by

Tom Peters’ The Culture of Excellence, a management literature best-seller. “It reminds us to focus on what we are good at instead of spreading ourselves too thin.” This author is a “key influencer”.

Peter also draws inspiration from timeless marketing concepts captured in Geoffrey
A. Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm. “He wrote a series of books on how to build the software market. It’s very specific to our industry. It’s excellent!”

The president of Tecsys is used to turning to literature in order to get answers to his questions and a wealth of information. When he started out, there were two or three

IT service companies, which limited the possibilities of having access to a mentor.

There were no people to refer to locally!

The Tecsys executive attends The Enterprise Conference, a forum held in California that brings together 100 IT service company presidents each year. “There are a lot of speakers, but you can also meet people who run a company bigger or smaller than your own. We help each other out. This conference has been very beneficial for me!”

Retaining talent

The Tecsys team hires many graduates from Montreal universities, including Concordia, UQAM and Hautes Études Commerciales.

These universities train great talents in the field of computer science and technology.

Multiculturalism and therefore multilingualism make the talent pool even more diverse and rich.

Peter Brereton makes it a point of honour to defend this mission: the well-being of his employees and collaborators. Over the years, he and his team have created a respectful and benevolent work environment.

“If you want to attract talent, you can use recruiting agencies, your website, Zoominfo, all those tools, but at the end of the day, you have to create an environment where people want to work.”

 

Respect and benevolence

 

The research and development (R&D) team at Tecsys sits at about 180 people, 36% of which are women. “That’s not very common in our field !” One of Tecsys’ earliest female employees started back in 1984, and she’s still with the company today.

Swearing is not tolerated within the organisational culture of the company.
The idea is to maintain a harmonious climate that fosters individual and collective respect.

 

 

We worked really hard to create a pleasant environment in which employees feel safe and comfortable.

En coulisse...

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The humanist

 

Peter Brereton
Co-founder and President of Tecsys Computer programmer

 

Peter graduated from high school in Toronto and took intensive programming training
at CDI (Control Data Institute) College. He received a government loan. After graduation, he worked in sales for a year and a half before starting his own company.

As for many start-ups, Peter wore several hats from the inception of Tecsys until he assumed leadership in 1995, when he succeeded his brother Dave.

Peter and Dave served as Presidents of Tecsys from 2001 until 2006. That year, Dave became President of Youth Unlimited, first in Canada and then around the world.

Dave remains a member of the Tecsys Board of Directors. His strengths are complementary to Peter’s.

I’ve always been better with the technology side of things, while Dave was good at managing the cash flow. We’ve always enjoyed problem solving.

 

Ethics

 

Family : a great treasure

With four children and eleven grand children, family is of great importance to Peter. Two of his sons work at Tecsys: one leads the customer service department in Montreal and the other is part of the pre-sales team, where data analysis and sales solutions are developed. His third son is a stay-at-home father with three young children, while his youngest daughter is an assistant head nurse at Lakeshore Hospital in Pointe-Claire.

Peter is a principled businessman for whom authenticity and honesty are core values.

“The one thing I don’t compromise on is ethics. It’s in your interest to be honest with your customers, your employees and your investors. Everything else you can easily earn back. If you lose money, there’s always a way to make it back. If you lose a client, you can find another one. But if you lose your moral credibility, you don’t have much left!”

A natural introvert, Peter is a seasoned reader with an unquenchable thirst for learning.

The day I stop learning, it will be time for me to retire!

 

Supporting students with difficulties

Since the 1990s, Tecsys has financially supported the alternative secondary school Education Plus, which welcomes students who have had difficulties integrating into so-called standard schools.

These students can benefit from guidance and a different pedagogical approach in order to return to school and ultimately obtain their diploma.

Peter is committed to the education of young people with learning or adjustment difficulties.

 

Support

Vision for the future...

One click away from conquering the world

The Tecsys team is eager to significantly increase the number of companies it serves worldwide. In the last five years, the organisation has succeeded in doubling its revenues and plans to do the same over the next four years.

There are no limits as to how big the company can be. The market we are in is huge!

Peter estimates that Tecsys’ revenues may reach one billion dollars in the next decade.

We are in an excellent position to make this happen.

 

 

International

 

We have a real head start on the competition. There is no one offering a supply chain platform that is as comprehensive as ours is for hospitals.

The American hospital sector alone can lead to a revenue of 600-700 million dollars. The executive wants to continue in this vein as the company has very little competition in this sector, which it has made its own.

The Tecsys team is proud to have found its place in a niche market dominated by multinationals. With such great expertise, the future of Tecsys cannot be any brighter!

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Tecsys – English

1, Place Alexis Nihon, suite 800
Montréal (Québec) H3Z 3B8

1 800 922-8649

tecsys.com

Publishing Director : Audrey Dallaire
Author : Evelyne Bilodeau
Translator : Frédérick Poulin
Graphic designer : Liliane Racine
Proofreader (English) : Céline Chabot

© 2023, Memorial Éditions

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