Digital inventory management systems for recyclers were a scarce commodity during this period and those offered on the market did not meet the needs of Pièces d’Auto Turcotte. The Trois-Rivières’ recycling centre hired a firm to develop its own software. The fellow recyclers of Pièces d’Auto Turcotte showed a particular interest in this new initiative.
1990 - Foundation of ProgiPac*
The firm that was developing the software for Pièces d’Auto Turcotte’s software was bought out and the new owner decided to abandon the project’s development. Eight shareholders, either partner at Pièces d’Auto Turcotte or close to the company, got together to buy the code. I was the creation of a new corporation named ProgiPac. Among the new business partners were legends of the organization such as Gilles Héon, the visionary, François Paprosky, the technology pro, and Francine Dupont, the manager. At its beginnings, ProgiPac occupied a desk corner at Pièces d’Auto Turcotte but quickly took up more space so the young start-up moved to Francine’s basement while Pièces d’Auto Turcotte continued to test drive the new parts inventory software. The new associates were convinced that recycling centres would be very interested in their new inventory management system.
At the ProgiPlex, Progi’s headquarters, one of the meeting rooms is named Audeo. It represents the audacity and entrepreneurial spirit of Progicians such as Gilles Héon, François Paprosky and Francine Dupont. They were the first in a long line of important people who played a fundamental role at Progi.
At the very beginning, Progi was named after its star product of the time, ProgiPAC. Its name stems from the contraction of the word “progiciel” (software package, in French) and the acronym for “pièces d’autos et de camions” (parts for cars and trucks).
1992 - First Victories In The Recycling World
The first official sale of Progi-PAC with Pièces d’Autos Hamel being the first official client. Not long after, other Quebec recyclers bought the software to help manage their inventory.
1995 – Separation and ProgiCom
It’s the end of the road for four of the initial shareholders. This left the most active shareholders at the reins of Progi-Pac. The start-up already enjoyed modest but significant success. Enough for Francois Paprosky and Gilles Héon to leave their day jobs to dedicate themselves entirely to the business with Francine Dupont.
Back then, it was difficult to make it possible for recyclers to share their inventories with each other easily. ProgiPac tried to respond to this industry’s needs with different solutions that struggled to take off in the technological context of the time. Francine, then a university student, had an idea when a professor explained that databases were the future of computing. This idea was ProgiCom (initially named Progi-Comm). The first iteration, an electronic board, didn’t really work, but the integration with ProgiPac was a success.
1998/1999 - PhautoPak AKA ProgiPix
Inspired by the large-scale commercialization of the first digital cameras, by the internet revolution, and by the insurance company’s need to increase the value of their total loss units, ProgiPac created Phauto-Pak (later renamed ProgiPix). This project symbolized an idea. Progi is more than software, it’s also a network of partners creating value by exchanging data and services. The success of ProgiPix rests not only on Progi but also on its recycling and insurance partners who have made it possible for this solution to exist.
At Progi, we are really proud of the business relations we maintain with our partners. It is why a conference room at the ProgiPlex is dedicated to them. Progi pulls its strength from its influential business networks. Today, it’s thanks to these networks, in particular its network of keepers, that ProgiPix is so successful.
2005 - Death Of Gilles Héon
In 2005, Gilles Héon died of an illness, which took clients and employees by surprise. Insurers and recyclers, not to mention the team, were deeply affected by his departure. Management and all employees rallied together to propel Progi into a new era.
2006 - AOS VISION AKA ProgiParts
ProgiPac designed a new system inspired by its partnership with ARPAC.comm, part of ARPAC (Quebec’s auto parts recycler association). This new project would allow collision shops to purchase all types of parts from suppliers while respecting the needs of its insurance partners.
2007 - Progi Up For Sale
Francine Dupont was questioning herself and decided to prepare for retirement, which meant the sale of ProgiPac. The sale was entrusted to a seasoned accountant: Diane Chaîné, who had known the organization for a few years.
Francine was ready to sell but not at any price. Of course, there were financial stakes but even more so, there were human stakes. She wanted to sell her business to someone who would ensure the continuity of the employees, products, business networks, and also keep ProgiPac in Trois-Rivières, Québec. There were many potential buyers but none that met Francine Dupont’s expectations.
2009 – ProgiLog
ProgiPac developed an online solution for collision shops to follow up on repairs with their clients, with email or SMS notifications.
2010 - New Ownership
Diane Chaîné was still working hard to find a buyer for ProgiPac. Francine Dupont’s criteria were hard to meet and Diane was saddened to know that one day, Francine might sell the business under probably unfavourable conditions. One evening, while Diane was taking a walk with her husband, he advised her to buy the business if she believed so much in its potential. This conversation was the first step of a series that led Diane Chaîné to Progi’s presidency.
Diane called Francine and told her she may have found a buyer. They met at a restaurant to discuss it. Diane had Francine repeat her sales objectives. At the end of the interview, Diane revealed the buyer: herself!
The transaction became official on November 1, 2010.
2011 – Changes
On a cold January morning in 2011, the ProgiPac employees were getting ready for an outdoor activity among colleagues. When they arrived to board the bus that was to take them to the outdoor resort, they witnessed that the office was burning. It was a horrible trial for Francine Dupont and François Paprosky who saw two decades of history go up in smoke. Diane was adamant about relocating immediately. During the weekend, Diane and Francine’s husbands found and rented a commercial space on the des Forges street, and servers were running on Monday, so clients didn’t miss a beat. Progicians received messages during the weekend: “Bring your phones, chairs, and pencils to the new office, everyone comes in on Monday, don’t worry, ProgiPac is fine.” Since there were no service interruptions, clients learned about the fire through a memo.
This temporary space was not perfect and at the end of August 2011, ProgiPac moved to a 7,000-square-foot space at Carrefour Phillips.
ProgiPac reviewed its brand image and became Progi. The name of the products also changed. ProgiPac remained ProgiPac. Phauto-Pak became ProgiPix and AOS Vision became ProgiParts.
At Progi, one of the meeting rooms is named Phoenix. It’s a nod to the fire of 2011 and pays tribute to the organization’s resilience and adaptability to change.
2013 – ProgiSync
A star is born. Canadian collision shops’ most popular appointment booking product is released. One day, Diane came into the office with her mind set on creating ProgiSync Appointments. A month later, the first version of the solution was ready to sell.
2016 – ProgiPlex And New Products
On October 31, 2016, Progi moved to the ProgiPlex. The project’s first phase included a new 10,000 sq foot floor and a rooftop terrace. It’s also in 2016 that the term Progician appeared to designate Progi team members.
On June 7, 2017, the ProgiPlex was officially inaugurated with employees, family, and clients. This date later became Progi’s anniversary date.
The business launched ProgiSync Feedback and began the ProgiSync Planning adventure, a collision shop capacity management tool.
2017 – First Public Appearance Of ProgiMan
2018 – Growth
A new 10,000 sq feet level is finished to accomodate Progi’s constant growth.
Many Progicians have fun titles such as Happiness Engineer, Solutions Rockstar, Cultural Barista, Innovation Preacher and even Magician!