Case Study

From Automotive to Food – Quality plastics and tooling diversifies into new market

With the automotive industry winding down, many companies who supply products to the industry are looking for ways to use their existing skills and knowledge to diversify and remain in business.

That’s exactly what Wingfield based company Quality Plastics and Tooling have done with the creation of their bespoke food packaging products, under the newly established PakPot brand.

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

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

“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 at Quality Plastics and Tooling since 1988, to different products”.

Joe said he originally started thinking about ways to diversify ten years ago and developed a specific diversification strategy five years ago when it was clear the automotive industry was in decline.

“We have invested significantly in research and development in order to successfully apply our company knowledge to new product developments and new 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, the necessary accreditation processes, and we trained our existing staff to ensure they understood the new processes required.

“Our product is unique in that the in-moulding means the label becomes part of the product, making it 100 per cent recyclable, and attractive to potential clients, especially those who want environmentally friendly products with great marketing exposure.

When asked if he had any advice to give others in the same situation, 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 out their issues and what it is 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 out a path for your company’s future.

“The opportunities are there, it’s just a matter of seeing them and understanding them”.

Quality Plastics and Tooling received State Government funding under the Automotive Supplier Diversification Programme (ASDP) which helped them with their journey in to manufacturing food containers.

Once PakPot have completed the ASDP, their production capability will be more than 100 million units per year and the company expects to employ additional staff over the next 12-24 months to meet the additional demand.