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A look back at the 2021 Excellence Industrielle Forum

01 December 2021

On Thursday, November 25, Ms. Leesa Hodgson, Executive Director of Développement économique Saint-Laurent, opened the forum by announcing the day's program, accompanied by Mr. Yves Dandurand, Co-President of Adfast and Honorary President of the Forum.



On Thursday, November 25, Ms. Leesa Hodgson, Executive Director of Développement économique Saint-Laurent, opened the forum by announcing the day's program, accompanied by Mr. Yves Dandurand, Co-President of Adfast and Honorary President of the Forum.

Développement économique Saint-Laurent becomes Excellence Industrielle Saint-Laurent

Ms. Hodgson took the opportunity to unveil the strategic repositioning of our organization and its new name — Excellence Industrielle Saint-Laurent.


Read the press release (in French only):


Following this announcement, Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec's Minister of Economy and Innovation, reiterated the government's 2022 investment of $ 130M to support Quebec companies in their digital transformation.


The Minister also outlined the 5 areas of priority for Québec’s economic vision, specifically targeting :

  1. Québec local purchasing;
  2. Exports;
  3. Innovation;
  4. Labour shortages;
  5. Green economy.


These 5 priorities are fully aligned with Excellence industrielle Saint-Laurent’s newly expanded and integrated offer of services.

Revolution 4.0 at the heart of data

After the Minister's speech, IVADO President Luc Vinet spoke about the 4th industrial revolution—the data revolution.

He provided an overview of Québec's digital industry, explaining that it is somewhat behind other industries of its kind due to a lack of investment.

Mr. Vinet emphasized the urgency of automating, robotizing and digitizing Quebec's manufacturing companies to ensure they can maintain their competitiveness.

Interestingly, thanks its dynamic nature, Montréal is now second only to Toronto in terms of start-up creation.


Lumen, an example of a successful digital shift

Following this, we were given the opportunity to visit Lumen, the largest distributor of electrical and automation equipment in Québec. This company is a great example of a factory that has automated its assembly lines and successfully made the digital shift. This virtual visit was commented live from the IEC MTL by Luc Poirier, Director of Development for Major Industrial Accounts and Gilles Motard, Vice President of Operations at Lumen.


Business cases, technological possibilities and digital issues

We then discussed the acceleration of digital transformation among manufacturers, focusing specifically on the technological possibilities and the actual advancements currently used in three different Québec companies.



4.0 technologies: basic tools

Your digital transformation is more advanced than you think!

Hany Moustapha, Professor, Director, INNOVATION 4.0 NETWORK

Guy Gagné, Director of Innovations – Marketing, PRODEN


  • CASE 2 / NITA

LEAN and digital continuity

Reducing the main sources of non-value

Georges Abdul-Nour, Professor, UQTR – Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Normand Lord, President and CEO, NITA


  • CASE 3 / Adfast


Shared financial risk, increased technological agility Michel Rioux, Professor, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)

Cindy Dandurand, Co-President, Adfast


Importance of human issues in digital transformation

At 11:00 a.m., we attended an interesting panel on the organizational challenges and human issues related to digital transformation, moderated by Michel Langelier, President and CEO of AIoT Canada.


Did you know that 1 out of 2 companies in Québec are not currently interested in innovating?

Most companies are not equipped for their digital transformation.

Above and beyond the technologies themselves, we must take into consideration the people behind digital transformations and the potential for internal upheaval.


Change management is essential, especially if we want to retain talent in times of labour shortages.


Four manufacturing companies spoke about their realities and the solutions they have implemented.

  • CASE 1: BOMBARDIER by Lucie Francoeur, Eng., Director, Aerostructures Strategy
  • CASE 2: DÉCOUPAGE MPS with President, Cory Dell'Olio
  • CASE 3: GROUPE MECACHROME with General Manager, Dany Dumont
  • CASE 4: LETICO Inc. represented by its President, Bruno Omann


During the lunch break, we were invited to attend a conference and discussion on best practices in artificial intelligence for SMEs with Olivier Blais, Founder of Moov AI.


IEC MTL and REAI: two key partners for 4.0 success

Carl Fugère, General Manager of REAI—Regroupement des entreprises en automatisation industrielle —presented L'Usine Bleue, which is essentially a referral, matching and automation platform powered by REAI. Its mission: to foster collaboration among innovative companies in order to create value through automation.


Isabelle de la Barrière, the new Director of the Centre d'expertise industrielle de Montréal (IEC MTL), introduced us to this meeting place for manufacturing companies, powered by Développement économique Saint-Laurent. Our innovation commissioners provide support to managers for their digital transformation and promote networking among SMEs and all of the stakeholders within the ecosystem.

Panel discussions: digital continuity and technological cohesion

In the afternoon, two Excellence Industrielle round tables were held (simultaneously):



Excellence industrielle forum - The ECOSYSTEM TABLE, moderated by Christophe Danjou, Polytechnique Montréal



What support measures would most help the digital continuity of SMEs?

Global competition and the pandemic’s impact on industry have resulted in a more sustained pace of digital transformation.

The table highlighted priorities for technology investments in SMEs.


The organizations present included: ADRIQ | Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada | AioT Canada | CRIM | ÉTS | Innocentre | Mouvement québécois de la qualité | NGEN | PME MTL | Productique Québec | Prompt | REAI | STIQ | NRC | Canada Economic Development



Excellence industrielle forum - CORPORATE TABLE moderated by Geneviève Lefebvre of Investissement Québec



This meeting between major contractors and small businesses allowed them to discuss the importance of technological cohesion.

What are the expectations of major clients with respect to their suppliers in terms of technological maturity?

Discussions led to a consensus on the trends that SMEs can follow to better integrate into value chains. 


The companies present included: BOMBARDIER | Desjardins | BDC | Lumen Technologies | Hypertec | Pfizer | Adfast | PRODEN | Waterax | Moov AI | YUL Technologies



At 3:30 p.m., Stéphane Drouin from Investissement Québec closed the forum with a conference on buying locally in Québec, one of the 5 priorities within Québec’s economic vision announced by the government. Stéphane's role is to raise awareness and convince Québec companies to re-think their supply chain, to bring certain targeted companies to increase sales in Québec and to encourage companies that have production units abroad to repatriate their production to Quebec.

A guaranteed second edition of the Excellence industrielle forum



The closing remarks were provided by Mr. De Sousa, Mayor of the borough of Saint-Laurent: “The territory of Saint-Laurent, more than 70% of which is dedicated to industrial and commercial activities, is the largest industrial park in Québec. It is essential for our sustainable municipal territory to be able to count on an ally like Excellence industrielle Saint-Laurent which, for the last 25 years, has been accompanying manufacturing companies in their development towards an environmental and digital shift. This forum lays the foundation for a new chapter in the history of our ally, DESTL, as well as the foundation for new and upcoming economic successes in the Saint-Laurent area!”


Excellence industrielle Saint-Laurent would like to thank all the participants and speakers who contributed to this forum, making it a collaborative space through which companies could learn from one another. We look forward to seeing you at the next edition of the forum in 2022. Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you receive the invitation.


To learn more about our strategic repositioning, including our new name and brand image, click here.

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