Pakko takes on manufacturing gender stereotypes

Working on a manufacturing factory floor has long been perceived as a male-dominated domain, but Brisbane packaging manufacturer and founder of Pakko, Nina Nguyen, wants to challenge that notion.

With International Women’s Day taking place on Monday 8 March, Nguyen is supporting the #ChooseToChallenge movement which highlights the role women play in male-dominated industries, like manufacturing.

“Women are brilliant business leaders, compassionate world leaders and exceptional entrepreneurs who have succeeded across a multitude of
industries,” Nguyen said.

“For International Women’s Day 2021, I choose to challenge the role of gender and employment opportunities within male dominated industries, such as manufacturing in Australia.

“Our society and gender roles are evolving, yet in some areas we lag. Manufacturing roles where women are operating machines or on the factory floor are still perceived as male roles.”

Pakko was founded by Nguyen in 2017 and in 2019 it merged with folding and gluing specialists, Glue4U – a business that was formed by Tanya Watkins.

In 2019 Pakko also installed a new four colour MTEX digital box printer – through Neil Southerington at Graffica – which opened the business up to new revenue streams and allowed it to move being being a traditional box manufacturer.

Tanya Watkins of Glue4u and Nina Nguyen of Pakko after announcing the merger of their businesses

For Nguyen and Glue4U director Tanya Watkins the merger was a symbol of opportunity, possibility and a shared experience of women working together.

“It is a collaboration of talent and teams aimed at allowing customers to reap the benefits, knowledge and manufacturing experience of two high-profile women weaving their way through the male-dominated world of manufacturing,” Nguyen said.

“These two women, at the helm of manufacturing, are on a mission to innovate the industry and deliver sustainable packaging solutions to the world at their one-stop production facility in Geebung, Queensland.”

Gender balance

Pakko has an equal balance of men and women working together in roles varying from managing partners, sales estimators, accounts and machine specialists.

“Our team at Pakko is incredibly supportive of each other. Each of us has a story to tell, whether we are from Australia or arrived here from
another part of the world,” Nguyen said.

“For most of the team, English is a second language. And everything that makes us different; makes us unique, special and keeps us together.

“Our diversity drives us to compete on a global scale, as we strive to innovate the packaging industry right here in Australia.”

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