Adcock Ingram sets the standard for digital transformation

Adcock Ingram is a leading South African pharmaceutical manufacturer listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The Company manufactures, markets, and distributes a wide range of healthcare products and is a leading supplier to both the private and public sectors of the market. Through the recent acquisition of Plush, the Company expanded into the Homecare market.

Adcock Ingram started as a small Krugersdorp pharmacy almost 130 years ago and now ranks as the second-largest local manufacturer in the private pharmaceutical market. Its founders branched out into new product development, manufacturing, distribution, and sales and marketing.

The Challenge  

When Deon Joubert took up the role as engineering manager in 2019 he quickly realised that the way drawings and technical data were being processed was out of date. Processes dealing with changes on the Wadeville plant were time consuming, old paper-based workflows were slow and cumbersome. Understanding the importance of moving the companies drawing management into the digital world to enable automation and more streamlined workflows that will enable the Adcock teams to manage and track changes to the plant better was his main priority. 

The Start of change  

Real Data Systems were brought in to help assess the current processes and workflows. With more than 10 years experience in digital transformation, they were the right team for the job. The assessment highlighted the areas where the team faced their biggest challenges. The main areas were drawing review and the approval process of modifications to the layout of the plant, keeping a record of the changes, and having a comprehensive history of these changes, finding the latest drawing amongst endless little yellow folders on the servers. The plant is a living entity and keeps evolving, managing the changes, keeping track of the changes and knowing what drawing the latest representation is of that specific area had to be priority number 1. 

The Game Plan and Solution  

Adcock’s drawing and engineering departments with the assistance of RDS started by implementing a better drawing numbering system, allowing for digital automation, the number was based on the ISO 19650 standard for managing information. Bluebeam Revu was implemented to bring the whole process together in one single application. RDS created an interactive dashboard of the whole plant, users can click on the area they wish to make changes to, it will then take them to all the relevant information regarding that area. Current drawings, current specs, standard operating documents, etc. 

The next step was to set up a workflow for users to initiate a change proposal and open that change up for discussion and approval by the various departments. There are 14 main departments that must be able to provide input into any changes proposed. Custom toolsets were developed for each department and colour coded. Leveraging the power of Bluebeam’s Studio Sessions, a workflow was set up to allow all departments to enter a collaborative space to communicate the proposed changes. Revision and final approvals are tracked by intelligent stamps that were set up, and a complete history of all communication is created and archived if the need ever arises to revert back to anything. 

This new workflow completely eliminated the old silo workflow and made the whole review and approval process more efficient, ultimately allowing for incredible time savings. 


“Adcock Ingram will cut down around 60% to 80% of their time spent in review and change approvals as a result of the implementation of this workflow and Bluebeam Revu,” stated Nick Erasmus, Technical Director of RDS. “The ease and simplicity of the whole system made for a very low learning curve, even for users that have never used digital markup tools, the adoption was very easy,” said Jan Heijnen, Drawing Office Manager. The support and knowledge proved by Real Data Systems was an invaluable part of the success of this implementation, we look forward to seeing where the system and additional digital workflows can help us in other parts of our business said Deon Joubert.

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