Production Lead

Date: 1 Jun 2023

Location: Zeebrugge, West Flanders, BE

Company: Zespri Group Limited

About Zespri


Zespri is the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit with over 800  people in New Zealand and throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.

We  help people, communities and the environment thrive through the goodness of kiwifruit. We sit at the heart of an interconnected industry working with 2,800 growers in New Zealand and 1,500 growers in Italy, France, Greece, South Korea and Japan. We supply the world’s healthiest little superfruits to people in more than 50 countries. We are fruit on a mission.

Our values are at the heart of everything we do. We commit to guardianship; putting people, the community, and the environment first. We are results-driven, challenging ourselves to grow and deliver better value. We cultivate personal connections, listening and acting with empathy and humility – and treating each other better for it.

We are growing quickly, driven by our success in engaging more and more consumers and by offering the world’s best kiwifruit 12 months of the year. We have bold ambitions and aim to grow sales from approximately $3 billion in 2018 to $4.5 billion by 2025.

To achieve our goals, we’re empowering our people to achieve their goals, designing our work for wellbeing, through flexible work practices and self-leadership.

We have bold ambitions for the future and we want all of our people to live and perform at their best.


About The Role


The Production Lead provides leadership and management of the day-to-day production operations in Zespri’s Zeebrugge 3PL (Third-party logistics) hub, with the additional responsibility to share best practices across the other European hubs, as applicable. The role reports to the Operations & Logistics Manager and leads the Packhouse Officer to ensure that the production operations in the Zeebrugge 3PL hub, runs consistently, transparently, and efficiently.

Ultimately the Production Lead strives to ensure Zeebrugge is best in class and seamlessly moves our kiwifruit to our customers and consumers.



Lead the European Production team within Supply Chain Operations:


  • Provide leadership, mentorship and influence for the Production team based in Zeebrugge, Belgium, including direct report 
  • Build a sustainable, embedded health and safety culture in Zeebrugge.  Share best practise across the European 3PL hubs and the wider European business, as applicable.  Ensuring both compliance, structure, and personal accountability.
  • Responsible for building a strong collaborative relationship with our 3PL partner in Zeebrugge in such a way that it drives continuous improvement and performance to targets. 
  • This role should be actively present ‘on the shop floor’ to build connections with the workers, as part of the collaborative relationship building.
  • Owner of the Operational costs of the Zeebrugge 3PL hub.  Driving for transparency and efficiency with our 3PL partner. 
  • Ownership of the maintenance budgets and management in Zeebrugge.
  • Ensure production line efficiency and transparency in the packhouse in Zeebrugge.  Driving efficiencies in personal, process, machine and material.
  • Act as a partner toward the Production Scheduler and IBP to maximise utilisation and output.
  • Keep the overview of packaging material management.
  • Be an advocate for GEMBA in the Zeebrugge production facility, owning the daily process and driving accountability in our 3PL partner.
  • Support the Fruit Optimization team to ensure the right fruit is prioritized in terms of production planning.


Contribute positively as the leader of Production within the European Supply Chain team:


  • Provide leadership and positively influence, including making decisions, relating to the operational, strategic and people aspects of the European Production Team.
  • Contribute openly as a member of the European Supply Chain team, and provide support at a Senior Level to the Operations & Logistics Manager for operational, strategic and people related matters through engagement, decision making, and communication. 
  • Be a driver of continuous improvement and Best Practise in Zeebrugge and across the Zespri Europe 3PL hubs, as applicable.
  • Grow, develop, and empower the European Production Team, ensuring that foundational Industry knowledge is cemented in the team while also providing a culture of challenging the norm and seeking new and better ways of working.
  • Responsible for people management aspects including performance management/reviews, coaching, development, fair allocation of work, leave management, delegation, establishing team communication process, recruitment etc.
  • Lead by example and create a sense of team/develop a team culture that is aligned with the “way we work behaviours” and will contribute positively to the wider Supply Chain Team.


Qualifications & Experience


  • Qualification in Engineering, Logistics, Operations
  • Lean Six Sigma qualification.
  • Leadership/supervisor experience is a must.
  • Knowledge of the English language, and Dutch is a plus.
  • Available to travel nationally and within Europe.
  • Sound understanding of product (preferably fruit/fresh produce/FMCG) handling and storage practices.
  • Professional experience in a production environment.  Experience in FMCG or fresh produce would be a plus.
  • Practical experience with production line efficiency and line balancing.
  • Good knowledge of Microsoft suite – Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Able to develop and maintain good working relationships.
  • Sound and consistent decision-making promtly
  • Able to understand information and data and use this to make decisions.
  • High standard of personal integrity.
  • Be a trained Prevention Advisor

What's In It For You

  • Competitive overall remuneration package, including a Short-Term Incentive scheme opportunity.
  • FlexWELL flexible work ethos
  • Additional paid annual leave day per year (Zespri Day).
  • Additional paid volunteer day to volunteer within your community (Volunteer Time).
  • Global Life and Permanent Disability Insurance.
  • Group Medical Insurance benefits.



Zespri will not accept applications or contact from any temporary staffing agency, placement service or professional recruiter for this vacancy (“Agency”).


Where Zespri requires the support of an agency to fulfil a vacancy, we will proactively seek this support from our network of Agencies.  We respectfully ask that you do not contact Zespri or any of its affiliates/employees regarding vacancies, and reserve the right not to reply.


Zespri will not be responsible for, and will not pay, any fees, commissions or other payments related to such unsolicited resumes.