Greif Inc: Global Packaging Solutions with Expertise in Steel Drums

Packaging success together

Greif Inc provides industrial packaging solutions from over 40 countries in the world, and its UK branch, Greif UK, is a leader in the production of customisable steel drums

More than 140 years ago, in 1877, William Greif and Albert Vanderwyst laid the foundations of what is today the global leader in industrial packaging products and services. The two gentlemen opened a cooperage shop, named ‘Vanderwyst and Greif ’ in Cleveland, Ohio. Almost a century and a half later, Greif has 200 sites in more than 40 countries all over the world, and dominates the production of steel, plastic, fibre, flexible, corrugated, and reconditioned containers. Its products serve, among others, the chemicals, lubricants and petrochemicals, food, pharmaceutical, flavours and fragrances, and mining and construction markets worldwide.

The highlights from the 2017 fiscal year for the company reaffirmed the view that Greif is growing continuously. The incorporation reported a net sales increase by $314.6 million to $3,638.2 million, and an increased operating profit to $272.4 million. It also marked the end of the company’s threeyear Transformation Initiative that was created to refocus Greif on the importance of customer service excellence, and re-orient the business strategy towards delivering value improvements over purely volume gains. The initiative was aligned with Greif ’s brand vision, which reads: In industrial packaging, be the best performing customer service company in the world. In order to serve one of its strategic priorities, Greif introduced a new corporate tag line in May 2017: Packaging Success Together, symbolising the commitment of all the 13,000 Greif colleagues around the world to provide excellent customer services.

Naturally, the company’s footprint has reached Britain, and its subsidiary, Greif UK was acquired by the incorporation in 2001 having previously operated under the Van Leer name since the 1920s. The daughter company specialises in the production and supply of steel drums, kegs and pails, and specialty drums. It also offers a collection and reconditioning service for used packaging. Greif UK’s products find strong application in a wide range of industries, such as food, pharmaceutical, coatings, and chemical. The company seeks to create a competitive advantage for its customers by deftly combining its global supply chain with local customer service. It has accommodated its facilities in the way required to produce specialty drums, according to every client’s specific needs.

Greif UK produces drums of different types and sizes. It is capable of manufacturing both large, and small and intermediate steel drums, but its particularly appealing products are the aforementioned specialty drums, such as the stainless steel drum, and the salvage drums. The former represent a high integrity option for the food, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals industries. Their value lies in a specific characteristic of theirs that offers a high level of chemical resistance, providing a pure and sanitary performance. The stainless steel drums are available in capacities from five to 1000 litres, and can be custom-made to the client’s requirements, in batch sizes to suit their needs. Being stainless steel also makes these drums easy to clean, therefore reusable.

The salvage drums are the second kind of specialty drums that has become a prominent product in Greif UK’s portfolio. Like the name suggests, the salvage drums are used for the safe and economic transportation, and storage of damaged drums. They are available in three standard capacity of 300 litres, but just like the stainless drums, they can also be customised to individual specifications.

Another market niche that has proven successful for Greif UK, has been the reconditioning sector. Together with network sites and alliance partners across Europe, and Container Life Cycle Management in North America, the company is part of a joint venture, called EarthMinded Life Cycle Services, which has now become the world’s largest industrial packaging reconditioner. One of the main tasks for the organisation is to reduce its, and its clients’ environmental impact by reintroducing used packaging into the supply chain, also saving costs to customers that generate used industrial packaging, or look for alternatives to the price of new packaging. EarthMinded uses its own webbased technology, Ecotrack, to provide customers with accurate reports detailing the reduced environmental impact of industrial packaging provided by the organisation. Such reports are invaluable to clients who can use them in their own documents and present them as a proof of their efforts to meet the growing demand for transparency and more sustainable packaging. Greif UK contributes to EarthMinded through its facility at the Ellesmere Port Site, where it offers both reconditioned washed steel drums, and washed 1000-litre Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs).

It is also important to mention Greif has been awarded Gold Recognition Level in sustainability performance by EcoVadis, an independent rating agency specialising in the evaluation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), including sustainable development and performance monitoring of suppliers. This achievement places Greif among the top five per cent of all companies evaluated by EcoVadis. Being serious about sustainability is one of the company’s guiding principles outlined in The Greif Way.

Greif UK also offers new GCUBE IBC Shield, the best barrier technology to protect your product against gas permeation through high density polyethylene. It is a revolutionary barrier protection compared to others on the market. Thanks to the use of special additives in coextrusion technology, the outer layer of the GCUBE IBC Elektron has a permanent antistatic surface layer and the discharging valve produced with conductive PE is grounded through the cage and the pallet. GCUBE Elektron uses multi-layer technology approved for EX zones.

Bearing in mind that the manufacturing and processing industries have begun in earnest to search for more cost-effective packaging and transportation solutions, it is safe to assume that there will be lots of new opportunities for Greif UK in the next few years, as it is a domain in which the company has repeatedly proven its competence.

Product: Steel drums, barrels, kegs, pails and specialty packaging solutions