2015 CAE Recipient Profile - National Optics Institute (INO)


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National Optics Institute (INO)

INO is a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs of Canadian industry with a healthy and creative work environment characterized by excellence, communication, and commitment to customer service.

INO is Canada’s leading provider of optics and photonics solutions and a driving force in the knowledge economy. Founded in Quebec City in 1985 and in operation since 1988, INO specializes in developing custom high-tech solutions to enhance the competitiveness of businesses of all sizes in areas as diverse as manufacturing, biomedicine, defense and aerospace. INO has over 200 employees.

A culture of continuous improvement and quality
INO’s path to excellence started in the 90s with the implementation of a new quality assurance approach to meet the needs of a specific contract. In 2000, our ongoing efforts paid off when we obtained ISO 9001 certification, still in effect today. At INO, clients help guide our work processes. That’s why we began conducting official surveys in 2003 to consistently and accurately measure client satisfaction. The results were positive, but there’s always room for improvement so a major organizational development project was launched in 2005 to improve our standards. In 2009, we introduced a process-based management system known as SPI. In 2012, we followed up by implementing a continuous improvement program called PEP, modeled on the LEAN system. And in 2015, we received ISO 13485 certification for our work in medical device R&D and production.

Adapting our work processes to client needs
SPI is an integrated management system that generates value for our clients. SPI controls 100% of INO’s activities through 18 processes, in three areas:

  • Management processes (3 processes)
  • Production processes (4 value-added processes)
  • Support processes (11 processes)

SPI is a cornerstone of effective management and smooth daily operations at INO. It helps control and improve INO activities through tools such as monthly, quarterly, and yearly performance reviews. SPI is continually being refined and improved. It embodies INO’s values and puts the client first.

Our employees and equipment—prized assets
Our employees are our most valuable asset and excel at delivering innovative, top quality R&D and short-run production solutions. We’re home to creative scientists and technologists with a passion for applied research, strong engineering teams with wide-ranging expertise and know-how, managers who explore new avenues beyond traditional markets, experienced project managers and administrative teams that stand out for their skill and professionalism.

Men and women from across the globe make up our culturally diverse scientific team. Their talents and the values they share underpin INO’s contributions to modern-day Canadian society.
Our state-of-the-art labs are tailored to industry needs and the requirements of short-run production.

Our leadership, our results, our pride
Recognized in Canada and abroad for its leadership, INO has delivered standout performance over its 27-year-history, surpassing a number of its goals:

  • Creating 30 spinoff companies that employ over 1,000 people
  • Performing 59 technology transfers
  • Developing 5,000 custom solutions
  • Obtaining 217 patents with many more pending

According to a recent Deloitte study, INO activities in 2014 generated:

  • $344 million in wealth—a 1:10 leverage effect, taking into account INO’s operating budget
  • 4,000 jobs (created or maintained)

INO consistently obtains outstanding results in areas such as self-financing rates, overall yearly revenues per employee, total external revenues, employee training, customer satisfaction and employee retention rates. Our efforts have resulted in many awards and honors, including these proud recent achievements:

  • March 2014, Western Canada: A study commissioned by the Saskatchewan Research Council recognized INO in two areas. INO ranks first among Canadian research facilities for its ability to produce readily commercializable innovations, and our Quebec labs are ranked third for research excellence.
  • May 2014, Ontario: INO won the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance’s Celestica Award. The award recognizes the efforts of technology companies that have successfully commercialized products using advanced manufacturing techniques and incorporating innovative electronics.
  • October 2014, Quebec: INO won the Grand Prix québécois de la qualité, the highest honor for quality that an organization can receive from the Quebec Government.

We are extremely honored to receive the Canada Award for Excellence - Quality. As an innovative company serving Canadian businesses, we will continue to improve our business practices and our processes to further strengthen our clients’ competitiveness both at home and abroad.

We succeed when our clients succeed.