Becoming more profitable

Manufacturing diversification all packaged up 

In this case study we look at Packserv – the challenges faced in pivoting, success achieved and remarkable growth in the height of a pandemic. 

Being in the packaging industry for more than 25 years was not the be all and end all for one Sydney-based entrepreneur. Innovative technology and new ways of thinking beckoned a desire to transition from a solid equipment rental service to a next generation manufacturing model. One which would allow the company to come full circle in returning to the family tradition of manufacturing packaging machinery.

SERVING CHANGE 

Over the years, Packserv has grown to be Australia’s largest packaging equipment hire and service business. With this growth, so has the demand for machinery, custom parts, and technical services. The evolution into a full-service machine shop with tailored solutions and machine parts for clients was a natural progression. However with change comes a raft of challenges and different ways of operating, as managing director Nathan Wardell discovered.

In order to put plans into action, in depth knowledge of manufacturing and developing capability was necessary. Experience in servicing manufacturing environments was simply not enough. It took two years of research and development, hours of trials and large sums of money to create the machinery onshore for direct supply to the Australian market. 

Another major challenge was the need to relocate to a larger premises to support the planned growth. With the help of the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme delivered in partnership with Business Australia, Nathan was able to access a $20,000 Business Growth Grant which was a great cash injection to assist the relocation plan.

Are you looking for practical support to drive business growth? 

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme delivers advice and grants to enable high-potential businesses and businesses impacted by the summer bushfires to strengthen, grow, innovate and
commercialise nationally and globally. 

ENTREPRENEURS' PROGRAMME

With the assistance of the program, Nathan was connected to a growth facilitator for a thorough business evaluation. This not only allowed the business to achieve its objectives but much more than envisaged. Packserv was awarded Australian Trusted Trader status by Australian Border Control and Immigration, introduced to NSW government contracts, and given the opportunity to sponsor a joint research program with the University of Wollongong.

“The formulation of our Business Evaluation Action Plan was crucial to the rate of growth that we have enjoyed, and the introductions and networking opportunities have opened our eyes to possibilities that we had no idea existed,” said Nathan.

Bottling success

With the shift to the manufacturing model, Packserv has delivered 29 new packaging machine designs with plans to increase this fivefold in 2021. The business has doubled its team in the last year and experienced more than 30% growth in 2020.

Packserv was in a unique position to rise to the challenge of the pandemic. With the heightened need for food, beverage, hygiene and sanitiser products, Packserv’s filling solutions were in high demand.  By manufacturing automated packaging machines that fill and cap containers right here in Australia, businesses from FMCG, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries were able to source locally manufactured custom-build machines relatively quickly. In doing so, they could meet the supply demands of their own markets.

Continuous improvement

Packserv is actively involved in the ongoing development of next generation packaging equipment. Exposure to research and like-minded companies has allowed greater awareness of new materials and manufacturing processes.

This is also evident in their collaborative work with the Engineering Faculty at the University of Wollongong – investigating ‘Connectivity’ issues around SME sized packaging machinery and the adoption of new technologies. The advantages for users will mean considerable savings and efficiency. This will ultimately lead to increased profitability, the potential for growth and job creation to help boost the Australian economy.

Packserv’s dedication to investing in new technology and smart initiatives is a catalyst for continuous improvement. 

Jenny Dikranian

Content Writer, Business Australia

Jenny Dikranian is a content writer passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation in inspiring business success.

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