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This year, Zeus Packaging marked a significant milestone by hosting an invigorating conference for its sales and commercial leaders from around the world. Held in the historic environs of the 13th-century Barberstown Castle, this event not only celebrated 25 years of success but also paved the way for future ambitions, focusing on a strategic vision aimed at continued excellence and growth.

Introductions at Zeus

As colleagues and suppliers from across Europe converged at Zeus Packaging’s headquarters in Rathcoole, Dublin, the prelude to the main event provided a valuable opportunity for personal introductions, many meeting face-to-face for the first time. The day was filled with guided tours of the office, strategic customer meetings, and visits to other nearby Zeus facilities, all aimed at maximising engagement and collaboration.

The afternoon transitioned into a dynamic mini expo held in the Zeus warehouse. Here, suppliers showcased their products at stands constructed entirely from corrugated board, expertly designed, printed, and assembled by the team at Swanline, owned by Zeus. This setting facilitated in-depth discussions about product innovations and company philosophies, further enriching the collaborative atmosphere.

Additionally, the Zeus sustainable stand, recently featured at the NEC Packaging Innovations and crafted entirely from 100% plastic-free materials by Swanline, was erected. This allowed those who missed the exhibition to witness first-hand the impressive and sustainable design achievements and capabilities of Zeus.

After a day of fruitful exchanges and immersive experiences, the team and suppliers made their way to the historic Barberstown Castle, ready to rest and recharge in anticipation of the significant conference day that awaited them.

A Confluence of Culture and Strategy

Under the theme “Culture… Our Core,” the conference delved deep into the values that constitute the bedrock of Zeus Packaging. The gathering kicked off with a warm welcome from CEO Keith Ockenden, who set the tone for a day of insightful discussions and visionary plans.

The event featured a keynote address on Culture & Teamwork by Michael Caulfield from Brentford FC, highlighting the parallels between sports and business in fostering team spirit and achieving common goals. This was followed by presentations from key customer partners like Dennis Spiegel, Senior Responsible Sourcing Manager Lidl Ireland and Brendan Keeley and Anthony Quinn from Jeldwen, who provided valuable insights into adapting to the evolving needs of customers in retail and industrial manufacturing insights.

Strategic Insights and Future Roadmaps

The conference agenda was meticulously structured to cover various aspects of business development, from aligning solutions to customer needs to detailed discussions on specialty sectors. Peter Ahern and Andrew Cooper presented on Industrial and Transit Packaging, Dermot Hanrahan and Dorina Anghel led us through Food and Retail Packaging, followed up by Kerry Kirby discussing Speciality Packaging, Print and Display.

A major highlight was the introduction of GENISIS – a visionary project from inception to consumption led by Keith Ockenden, who wants to turn ideas into reality with GENISIS. Explaining that Zeus recognise the significance of customised solutions that elevate businesses and drives customer profitability. GENISIS encompasses a suite of services designed to materialise business concepts into tangible reality.

GENISIS seamlessly integrates a range of service pillars into businesses packaging needs, ensuring unmatched value delivery to Zeus clients and client collaboration is the cornerstone of this approach. Zeus foster genuine partnerships, evaluating and assessing business needs, tailoring credible solutions to specific requirements.

Further, Stephen Nolan and Declan Breen introduced the Zeus Sustain Carbon Mapping Software, emphasising sustainability and the critical importance of scope 3 emissions in contemporary business practices.

Interactive Workshops and Collaborative Growth

Post-lunch, the conference featured an engaging workshop titled ‘Changing the Way We Think’. In this session, delegates were divided into teams to create detailed business plans aimed at generating significant growth for their assigned supplier partners. This exercise not only stimulated creative and strategic thinking but also emphasised the importance of collaboration across different segments of the business.

Each team’s business plan focused on sales growth strategies, marketing initiatives, and supply chain optimisation, showcasing the comprehensive capabilities of the Zeus organisation.

Three of the ten teams were asked to present on stage with their plan for £3million growth for their chosen supplier, which they put together in under an hour.

Driving Forward with a Collective Commitment

As the conference neared its conclusion, the future direction of Zeus Packaging was outlined with a clear goal—reaching €1 billion in revenue. The final word from Brian O’Sullivan encapsulated the day’s discussions and urged everyone to stay committed to the shared vision of excellence and market leadership. Brian inspired and motivated the ranks that were there that day and thanked them for their determination and hunger that has made Zeus into what it is today and what it will become in the future.

Key Takeaways and Continued Excellence

The conference was not just a celebratory event but a reaffirmation of Zeus Packaging’s core values—teamwork, customer focus, and strategic growth. It emphasised key messages such as leveraging group product and service capabilities, putting the customer first, and embracing a collaborative approach across all facets of the business.

Participants left the conference inspired and reinvigorated, carrying with them the key messages to share across the organisation, ensuring that the spirit of the conference translates into actionable strategies that drive Zeus Packaging towards its ambitious goals.

Special Acknowledgements

Zeus Packaging extended its gratitude to all the supplier partners who played a crucial role in the conference, including Faerch, ROP, Tork, Diversey, Cambay, Sabert, Armando Alvarez, FilmTec, Nice Pack, and Unipaknile, whose contributions were instrumental in making the event a success.

This conference not only celebrated past achievements but also set a dynamic course for the future, ensuring that Zeus Packaging remains at the forefront of the packaging industry by fostering a culture of innovation, commitment, and shared success.

“We are full of strong impressions and positive energy and we can’t wait to pass it onto our colleagues.  Brian can be extremely proud of the community he has built around him, because we are also proud to be part of that community. Thank you to everyone who participated in this event in any way, because everything was more than perfect. From Monday, we continue out journey towards new challenges and victories.” – Kazimir Sviben, Zeus Petruzalek Croatia

I was invited to address the conference, and I really didn’t know what to expect as I arrived from the world of professional sport.  However, it proved to be the most uplifting experience, as it was impossible not to get caught up in the raw enthusiasm and passion for working at Zeus.  I had not witnessed anything like it before in the world of business, and like everyone else who attended the conference, I left inspired.  This is truly a remarkable company, and their success thus far, is only the beginning.” – Michael Caulfield, Sports Psychology Consultant – Guest Speaker

“Thank you, Zeus Colleagues and friends for your time, interaction and welcome over the last few days, it has been a breath of fresh air. I love the enthusiasm, both Natacha and I and the wider global Diversey team look forward to working with you in the days, weeks, months and years to come, have a lovely weekend and remember if you can walk on it, it’s an opportunity to clean it!” – Maria Buckley, Diversey – Supplier

“I feel very fortunate to have experienced this event so early in my Zeus Journey. A wonderful induction to a truly exciting adventure. Thank you Keith for an inspiring agenda, great speakers and an opportunity to make meaningful connections. Thank you to Brian and the whole team for passion and hunger – I feel privileged to be part of the pack!” – Rebecca Louvre, Zeus UK

“The supplier workshop sparked engaging discussions on team dynamics and supplier strategies, showcasing the valuable collaboration between Suppliers and Zeus Group. The workshop underscored the importance of growth, cross-company opportunities, and sustainability, perfectly aligning with the conference’s theme. Despite time constraints, our focused and vibrant presentation left a lasting impact, capturing the essence of partnership and potential for shared growth across markets.” – Andrew Dorney, Zeus Food