Digital inventory management systems for recyclers were hard to find at the time, 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. At Pièces d’Auto Turcotte, recycling colleagues took a particular interest in this new initiative.
1990 — Foundation of ProgiPac*
The firm hired to develop the software for Pièces d’Auto Turcotte was bought out and the new owner decided to abandon the project. Eight shareholders, either partner at Pièces d’Auto Turcotte or close to the company, got together to acquire the code. It was the start of a new company, named ProgiPac. Among the new business partners were some of the company legends such as Gilles Héon, the visionary, François Paprosky, the technology pro, and Francine Dupont, the manager. ProgiPac first occupied the corner of a desk at Pièces d’Auto Turcotte, but the young start-up quickly grew and 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 is the contraction of the word “progiciel” (software package) and the acronym for “pièces d’autos et de camions” (auto and truck parts).
1992 — First Victories in the Recycling World
ProgiPac made its first sale! Pièces d’Autos Hamel became the first official client. Soon after, other Quebec recyclers would buy the software to help manage their inventory.
1995 — Separation and ProgiCom
It’s the end of the road for four of the initial shareholders. The most active shareholders remained at the helm of ProgiPac. The company was already considerably successful. Enough for François Paprosky and Gilles Héon to leave their jobs and devote themselves entirely to the company with Francine Dupont.
Back then, it was difficult for recyclers to easily share their inventories with each other. ProgiPac tried to address this industry’s need 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 to her 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 relies not only on Progi but also on its recycling and insurance partners who have made this solution possible.
At Progi, we are very proud of our business relationships with our partners and have therefore named one of our conference rooms to honour that. Progi pulls its strength from its influential business networks. Today, it’s thanks to these networks, especially its network of keepers, that ProgiPix is so successful.
2005 — Saying Good-Bye to 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 based on one of its partnerships within the ARPAC (Quebec’s auto parts recycler association), ARPAC.comm. 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 considering retirement and preparing for it meant selling ProgiPac. The sale was entrusted to a seasoned accountant: Diane Chaîné, who had known the company for a few years.
Francine wanted to sell, but not at any price. Of course, there were financial stakes but even more important were the human stakes. She wanted to sell her business to someone who would ensure the continuity of the employees, products, business networks, and who would keep ProgiPac in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. There were many potential buyers, but none met Francine Dupont’s requirements.
2009 — ProgiLog
ProgiPac developed an online solution that allows collision shops to track 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 Francine might eventually 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 had probably 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 to the outdoor station, they found that the offices were in flames. It was a horrible trial for Francine Dupont and François Paprosky who saw two decades of history go up in smoke. Diane wanted to relocate immediately. During the weekend, Diane and Francine’s spouses found and rented a commercial space on rue des Forges, and the servers were back online by Monday so that customers would not miss anything. 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, most clients learned of the fire through a press release.
This makeshift space was not perfect and in late August 2011, ProgiPac moved to a 7,000-square-foot space at Carrefour Phillips.
ProgiPac was rebranded as Progi. Its products were also renamed. 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. Diane came into the office with the vision of designing ProgiSync. A month later, the first version of the solution was ready for sale.
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 was also in 2016 that the term Progicians appeared to designate Progi team members.
On June 7, 2017, the ProgiPlex was officially inaugurated with employees, family, and clients. This day became Progi’s anniversary date.
The company launched ProgiFeedback, a tool to survey customers to optimize the body shop experience.
2018 — Growth
A new 10,000-square-foot floor is built into the ProgiPlex to accommodate Progi’s continued growth.
2019 — ProgiPlanning
It’s the beginning of the ProgiPlanning adventure, a capacity management software for body shops. After years of research and testing, Progi developed not only a software tool, but also expertise and a philosophy of capacity and productivity management in collision shops. Those that adopt Progi’s process are experiencing phenomenal success.
2020 — 2022 — Pandemic & Recovery
The entire world is hit by a global pandemic and Progi’s growth is temporarily halted. Progi is fortunate to be financially healthy and retains its entire staff.
Although the pandemic is still disrupting society, Progi is resuming its growth that was paused early in the pandemic.