From Montréal to Markham, Progima is Right in the Middle of it All

Apr 09, 2024

Since 1990, Progima has contributed to the economic growth of companies in the manufacturing and distribution sectors by providing expert guidance to improve their manufacturing capacity, profitability and competitiveness.

Founded in Montreal over 30 years ago, the company was acquired by Benoit Chouinard and Marie-Claude Dussault in 2015 with the goal of becoming the go-to industrial engineering firm in Canada. Reaching that goal meant having a dedicated presence in Ontario.

“If you want to be the go-to industrial engineering firm in Canada, you need to be in the GTA. You don’t need much of a market study—just take the 401 and look around,” Chouinard said.

When it was time to choose a location, the partners decided that expanding through an acquisition would be the best path forward. The Progima team acquired Markham-based CADMech Design in 2022 and now serves customers from its offices in Markham and Montreal. The acquisition allows Progima to provide not only industrial engineering services but also product design services.

“We're looking at becoming the Canadian reference in terms of industrial engineering and product design, specifically for global OEM—companies that are designing and manufacturing their own products,” Chouinard said.

Progima’s clients are companies that design and manufacture their own products and are looking to introduce a new feature or develop an entirely new product line. The Progima team provides expert product design support, but that’s only the beginning of the process.

“Having a nice design is just the first step. You still need to manufacture it. We help our clients introduce new production lines and distribution centers, expand factories, and add new equipment or automation. We help them get to market faster, and manufacture their products in a way that they're making the most money out of every product that's coming out of the factory,” Chouinard said.

Automation is a core part of what is called Industry 4.0, where technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and digital simulations, are used to transform manufacturing processes. Progima has partnered with Siemens to help drive these transformative technologies with its clients across Canada and the U.S.

Supply chain challenges and rising demand are forcing manufacturers to look at every part of their process to find ways to increase production while keeping costs down.

“When your product volumes are tripling or quadrupling, and you have five times the amount of products to produce, you need to think differently. You need to set a new way of doing things so that you will be more efficient and introduce leaner, more efficient, less labour-intensive methodologies,” Chouinard said. “You need to use the right methods, processes, and equipment to get there.”

Progima continues to grow its team in Markham to support its growing client base. The firm has grown from six people in 2015 to nearly 70 across its operations in Montreal, Quebec City, and Markham. Chouinard added that Progima is committed to bringing its industrial engineering knowledge to Markham and its product design expertise to its offices in Quebec.

Chouinard said Progima will use this cross-pollination of skills to help grow its business, too. Today, Progima’s clients are primarily located in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada.

“We're going to move west and south. Obviously, Toronto is well located in terms of the manufacturing ecosystem. The Midwest is for sure the biggest industrial area of the Americas—and Markham is right in the middle of it.”