Diane Chaîné (DC), president of Progi, Canada’s leading company providing digital solutions for auto recycling operations, speaks to Auto Recycling World (ARW) about her role and thoughts on the auto salvage industry, and the effects of the roles played by stakeholders.
Leadership comes in all shapes and forms. In this case, it is Progi’s president – an entrepreneur female, a rare thing in our industry.
Progi is a software company well-invested in the Canadian salvage industry landscape. They provide management systems for auto recyclers; they manage a salvaged vehicle auction and a digital market where collision shops across the country buy auto parts.
Progi was founded in 1990, and Diane has run the company for the past 12 years with her mighty ‘Progicians’, the moniker her team gives to its members. From 18 Progicians in the early 2010s, they are now just over one hundred members strong, which is an accomplishment by itself.
ARW: Progi describes itself as a solution-finding company; what makes Progi unique in terms of customer engagement and innovation?
DC: It’s not only to listen to a specific partner, but we must pay attention to the noise in the industry. For example, we saw signs of the rise of salvage vehicle exportation – so we thought, how, as a company, could we benefit and make our partners benefit as well? Of course, we had to open the auction door to vehicle exporters, but how could local recyclers and insurers be relevant in that new reality?
We returned to our roots, and we value the recycled (green) parts. The insurers are good buyers of these parts, which is the bread and butter for many auto recyclers.
Now, when recyclers bid at the auction, we can bid a little lower by promising parts to insurers and win anyway against a competitor with deeper pockets. I believe it’s a win for everybody.
If you ask what kind of solution I want to offer to the market, our Reserve project on ProgiPix Auto Auction is exactly the kind of project I want to develop in the future.
ARW: With the vehicle recycling industry progressing rapidly, what have been the most significant changes in the last 5 to 10 years, and what advantages do you think it has brought to the auto recycling sector?
DC: Indeed, what we see is a consolidation of recyclers into bigger businesses. The traditional ‘mom and pop shops’ are clearly threatened in a mature market by the lack of entrepreneurial succession and the shortage of manpower. Existing business tends to be bigger and bigger. An advantage is that bigger businesses need more structure to stay efficient. Software is undoubtedly an answer to accommodate those bigger businesses. The market is evolving, and businesses must also evolve if they want to stay relevant; otherwise, some will be left behind.
With regard to change over the past several years, car technology is impressive but certainly challenging when it’s time to salvage it. We see different kinds of auto recyclers that specialize in electric vehicles. There is a risk attached to this, and we see vehicle manufacturers taking more and more control by creating technology that is more difficult to salvage to drive OEM sales. I can see their point, but I also believe there is a world in which auto recyclers could partner with OEM manufacturers to build the auto fleet of tomorrow.
ARW: Referring to the insurance sector, repair centres and recyclers present to you, how do you balance each sector’s demands in this chain?
DC: At Progi, we have something that we call the ‘Nexus’- it’s basically us in the middle of each process and beside each partner. Working this way allows us, we hope, to evolve at the market rate.
We work with insurers, collision networks, repairers, and all kinds of auto parts sellers. While some could find it uncomfortable, we believe we are on target because all of our partners can benefit from the reflex to develop for the whole market. This attitude is certainly at the service of all the links in the supply chain. We are very proud of that.
Meeting Diane was a pleasure. It is always very interesting to understand the perspective of a leader in the industry.
Find out more from Progi at www.progi.com