Case Study

From automotive to food – Quality plastics and tooling take on food packaging

Many former automotive suppliers are looking for ways to use their existing skills and knowledge to diversify and remain in business. Quality Plastics and Tooling is one that’s succeeded.

The Wingfield based company creates bespoke food-packaging products under the PakPot brand.

General Manager Joe Matto said that after significant time and investment PakPot food containers, which include big brand name dips and yoghurts, are found in about 90 per cent of Australian supermarkets.

“After being a supplier to the automotive industry for many years we saw a need to begin looking at different ways to apply the injection moulding skills and expertise we have developed to a different product,” Joe said.

“Our PakPot products are high quality, low cost, 100 per cent recyclable moulded containers for the food industry. But they’re also applicable to the medical and cosmetics industries or anywhere that a high level of hygiene is required,” Joe said.

Joe said he developed a diversification strategy in 2011 when it was clear the automotive industry was in decline.

“We invested significantly in research and development in order to successfully apply our company knowledge to new products and processes,” Joe said.

“We spent thousands and thousands of hours reworking, re-jigging and changing things, and went through a lot of trial and error to get our product to where it is today.

“To meet strict food safety standards we invested in a clean room and the necessary accreditation processes, and we trained our staff to ensure they understood the new processes required.

Quality Plastics and Tooling received State Government funding under the Automotive Supplier Diversification Programme (ASDP). When the programme is complete, production capability will be more than 100 million units a year, with more staff needed to help meet demand.

Joe said the PakPot products are unique because the label is part of the product, rather than a stick-on addition.

“100 per cent recyclable, which is attractive to clients who want environmentally friendly products with great marketing exposure,” he said.

Joe said it’s important to know exactly what skills and expertise your company has to offer.

“My advice would be to really take the time understanding your company’s strengths and weaknesses,” Joe said.

“You must know the market, and I did this through networking with those in the industry to find their issues and what they needed. It’s essential you have this sort of insight to use to your advantage.

“Once you have a good grasp on what you’re good at, and what the market looks like, you can then map a path for your company’s future.”