Greif : The Full Package

Phoebe Harper
Phoebe Harper - Editor

Greif is a global force when it comes to packaging solutions. Patrick Mullaney – Group President of Global Industrial Packaging at Greif – shares what makes the company stand out from its competitors; an unyielding commitment to meeting market needs and delivering outstanding customer service as they strive for sustainability through their circular economy approach.

Almost every product in the world relies on some form of packaging to reach its final destination. At the vanguard of industrial packaging solutions, Greif stands out as a world leader.

Since its inception in Delaware, Ohio 145 years ago, Greif’s vast footprint has grown to encompass over 12,500 employees spread across 37 countries and over 222 operations. Its business is split into two areas – Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) and Paper Packaging Services (PPS). While PPS is founded exclusively on paper-based products, GIP covers an expansive variety of packaging solutions, including steel drums, corrugated sheets, and intermediate bulk containers (IBC). 

As Group President of GIP, Patrick Mullaney oversees a side of business which is far more global in its outreach compared to the North America-centric PPS. 

“Greif is entirely driven by our market’s needs,” he opens. “We use the needs and demands of our markets as input into how we structure our business.”

For Mullaney, Greif’s vast and wide-ranging selection of products across all segments of the business and the markets that it serves, are testament to its entirely market-led approach. These markets range from food and beverage packaging to commodity chemicals, health and beauty, to waste and nuclear. 

“Whatever we decide to do must have a positive impact in meeting those market needs,” he continues. 

Through this versatility and receptiveness to offering the packaging solutions that enable companies to meet their needs, Greif maintains a close and astute connection to the market. For Mullaney, this is one of the three overarching tenets guiding Greif forwards.

“Our operations are led by number one – safety, number two – quality, and thirdly, by the market.”


Greif retains the people-centric heritage of its strong family background, after it was founded by the Dempseys over a century ago.

Today, the company preserves a close and communicative connection both with the people behind the business, and of course, with its customers. 

“We are always keeping in touch with customers. We undertake frequent surveys and we are currently on the 12th review of our net promoter score (NPS),” shares Mullaney. 

As a key metric in determining the reliability of a certain company and the customer loyalty that it attracts, an NPS of 55 is considered a best-in-class result. At Greif’s latest review, the company scored 65.

“We are extremely well connected, to ensure we’re never underperforming, and always communicating and delivering. Listening to the customer is one thing, and doing is another,” he says. 

This commitment is embodied by the company’s vision – to be the best performing customer service company in the world. Previously, this gambit included ‘within industrial packaging’, but this was soon dropped as part of Greif’s ambition to simply be the best customer service company, period.

 “We have a huge emphasis on customer service in our organization, which feeds into our product range and how we go about serving our markets,” expands Mullaney.

“Within our PPS business in North America, we’re not quite on the Amazon scale, but we have a vast footprint of locations, collection points and distribution points. You’re never too far away from a great PPS!”

However for Greif, the true backbone of this enterprise are the world-class technical experts and high-performing customer service team behind the operations, with the NPS representing the ultimate barometer of its successes in this area. 


Greif leverages its combined strengths to continually advance a sustainability commitment centered on ‘packaging sustainably together’.

“Recycling is obviously a hot topic these days and it’s getting more profile now than ever before,” observes Mullaney. 

“We place significant focus on protecting the planet, and we’re looking to grow within the circular economy.”

This is an area that Greif continues to develop in collaboration with various stakeholders, in order to divert used packaging from landfills, preserve resources and reduce the use of virgin materials.

Across both GIP and PPS, recycling is an integral component and a major focus of future development. 

“We recover a lot of paper-based packaging from the market. For instance, if you throw out the packaging from your Amazon transit, it gets bailed up, and put at the end of sidewalks across the US. We collect that and transport it to our collection centers to be recycled into the next iteration of the packaging,” Mullaney explains. 

Within GIP, multi-use IBCs and steel drums are great examples of formerly single-use products that are now being re-used. In addition, the company uses recycled plastic in its drums. 

“Sustainability is the hardest issue in the market right now, since I think people need to realize that there is always a cost associated with it. But at Greif, we focus on looking at the long-term,” he adds. 


Looking to the years ahead, Greif has a robust acquisition pipeline that will fuel future growth. 

“We will continue to invest and build out our footprints. We’re doing that both organically, through acquisitions and also through joint ventures (JVs),” outlines Mullaney. 

In the wake of COVID-19, when packaging needs rose to the fore along with pressing supply chain issues, Greif’s robust and reliable supply chain reach will continue to prove indispensable. 

For Mullaney, Greif’s priorities are encapsulated by a four-pillar pipeline, founded on developing thriving communities where staff feel safe and engaged, building legendary customer service, protecting its future through innovation in sustainability, and finally, by ensuring financial strength. 

“If you have those first three core commitments in place, the fourth one has a strong chance of success. You have got to be operating in the right markets and focusing on serving the customer’s needs,” he concludes.Led by these solid priorities, Greif is guaranteed a competitive and prosperous future on the global stage of industrial packaging. 

REPUBLISHED ON:Manufacturing Outlook
PUBLISHED BY:Outlook Publishing
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