Originally a manufacturer of simple bottle washing and filling equipment for the pharmaceutical industry, the Adelphi Group of Companies (Adelphi) has grown both organically and strategically through acquisitions to become a global business, exporting equipment to over 90 countries around the world.
Today, it is an ISO 9001:2015 certified, award-winning manufacturer and supplier of packing machinery and equipment, and offers a comprehensive portfolio of innovative solutions to its global customer base. The business comprises Adelphi Masterfil to provide semi and fully automated filling machines and turnkey production lines; Adelphi Manufacturing, offering entry-level automation equipment for filling, closing, and inspection; Adelphi Pharma Hygiene Products, which produces stainless steel cleanroom equipment and bespoke hygienic mixing solutions; and Adelphi Healthcare Packing to supply pharmaceutical primary packaging.
We hear from a few key members of the leadership team at Adelphi to learn about the inner workings of the business, and how it continues to be an excellent competitor in the industry. Rachel Birrell-Gray, the Marketing Manager, starts us off with an explanation as to why the company’s strategy has allowed it to maintain success since its inception in 1937. “Our consultative approach gives customers the benefit of our extensive experience and industry insights. We are proud that many of our customer relationships span decades, and we’ve been there every step of the way, providing support and solutions from the earliest origins of their business through their growth to large scale production,” she says.
To make this expansion possible, the business relies on an impressive operational footprint, according to Satal Thethy, Director of Operations. “Adelphi currently houses two manufacturing halls totaling 1260 square-meters that provide assembly space for our three engineering companies: Adelphi Masterfil, Adelphi Manufacturing and Adelphi Pharma Hygiene Products.
“Our internal mechanical and electrical technicians are trained to possess the complete skillset to build and test each piece of equipment, from our smaller tabletop units, subassemblies, and complete packing lines to infeed tables through fillers, cappers and third-party OEM like labelers, printers, cartoners and sealers. With each design team in the same building, we maintain a very close relationship between design engineers and technicians, working within the structure of ISO9001 to support production and optimize our existing range – all this while feeding into R&D for the future! Some machines are capable of significantly exceeding our own accuracy guarantees tenfold.
“Furthermore, our in-house welding and machine shops manufacture parts in-house, from simpler single axis turned items to more complex milled work or pharmaceutical spec welded vessels and pipework. Although we value our relationships and continue to support local manufacturing suppliers, these internal facilities can contribute to lower costs of finished parts, faster turnaround for production support or customer spares orders, and make Adelphi a one-stop shop for customers who wish to maintain an experienced market leader as a single point of sale,” Satal expresses.
Over the years, Adelphi has put a great focus on its R&D and innovation, having spent well over seven figures on R&D in the last five years alone. This has allowed the company to be flexible, agile and grow its teams and systems to support its innovation processes. “Today we are proud to employ four full time dedicated R&D engineers, which represents 44 percent of our design engineering staff,” adds Satal.
Alongside R&D and innovation of brand-new products, Adelphi as a group of companies is extremely customer driven, and it works on customizable solutions for specific applications, as Francisco Neto, the R&D Director accounts. “A recent example included a full clean-in-place system, with over six stages of cleaning phases, including caustic and acid washes. This took its design team nearly ten weeks to create and will be used on a beverage production line for an international beverages manufacturer,” he says.
Moving onto the company culture and the core values that drive the business forward, Ellen Holroyd, the Group Culture Director, explains that Adelphi is determined ‘to support the local economy and the natural environment, operate with integrity, deliver on our commitments, nurture the next generation, appreciate our colleagues, reward excellence and to be honorable and trusted by customers and suppliers.’
“Adelphi is a family-owned and managed company, with two generations of family currently actively involved in the business,” she says. “We pride ourselves on our personal touch with our staff and our customers. Staff are encouraged to suggest and take up further qualifications, training, or study programs, to help them realize their full potential and progress further within the company. All staff are made aware that they have access to full financial and emotional support from Adelphi,” Ellen shares.
“Our team ran a Benefits Fair earlier this year, at which staff were given the opportunity to ask questions about their pension and other benefits on offer from the company. We contribute to gym memberships and are signed up to the Cycle to Work scheme. We also offer yoga lessons once a week on site and provide a box of fresh fruit every week. Furthermore, staff complete an organizational satisfaction survey each year, the results of which are analyzed by the leadership team and shared with all staff. We have an active charity committee dedicated to fundraising, and an annual charity partner of the year, which is proposed and selected by staff.
“Supporting our local community is extremely important to the Adelphi Group of Companies. We provide affordable housing for local residents in public service roles. We sponsor and contribute to local events and activities. We heavily invest in the community; for example, within the last year we have rebuilt a local vehicle repair shop (with the build achieving the highest level A+ rating) and let this to the business owner at reduced rent; we have almost rebuilt a music school, The Rok Skool, which we will then let to the business at reduced rent; and we have substantially funded the local rugby club’s new club house for which planning permission has been granted,” Ellen expresses.
Following on from Ellen’s sentiments, the business is also making strides to improve opportunities to younger generations looking to make a career in manufacturing, according to Samantha Oliver, Organizational Systems and Administration Director. “We are proud to nurture the next generation and have an active apprenticeship scheme in place with a local college. We encourage and welcome students to join us for work experience, and one of our directors is involved in a local STEM project.
“One of the Adelphi Group of Companies’ core values is to ‘nurture the next generation.’ With this in mind, we have an active apprenticeship scheme, linking with local colleges and training providers, to provide apprentices, at the start of their careers, with opportunities to develop workplace and personal skills. A shining example of this scheme is Harry Phelps, who joined the Adelphi Group of Companies as an Apprentice Mechanical Fitter in 2014, winning the PPMA’s Apprentice of the Year Award the following year. Harry has continued to prove himself as a valuable asset to the company and has since been promoted to the role of Production Coordinator.
“Back in 2013, Adelphi’s Chairman, Stephen Holroyd, highlighted in his PPMA Lifetime Achievement award acceptance speech the importance of offering apprenticeships within our industry. Adelphi has since employed apprentices in varying roles from welding to the warehouse. Of the 13 apprentices who have completed their apprenticeship at Adelphi, 85 percent of them have been offered a full-time position with the company and, with our companywide focus on staff training and development, the opportunities don’t stop there. Lauren Valente joined the company in 2014, as an Apprentice Sales Administrator, and with support from Adelphi, she has since completed her AAT Levels 2-4, and is now working towards ACCA accreditation, all whilst having been promoted to the role of Senior Finance & Property Management Executive,” says Samantha.
She adds that Adelphi also actively welcomes students to join for work experience during their GCSE years and college placements. “In 2023, we were joined by three students for work experience, one of whom had learned of Adelphi when our Operations Director, Satal Thethy, acted as a STEM Ambassador for her school. The students worked within various Adelphi departments, ranging from controls & automation and mechanical design to machine testing in the workshop.”
With each of these pillars in place, Adelphi’s future looks prosperous. To close the discussion, Chris Wilson, the Managing Director, shares his five-year vision for the business. “I’d like to see the Adelphi Group of Companies becoming the UK market leader for filling and capping solutions. To achieve this, there are a few things we need to make happen. Firstly, we need continued, sustainable growth in sales and margins both domestically and internationally. Secondly, an expansion for our R&D department, both in personnel and in the products we design and manufacture, incorporating the most efficient, cutting edge and productive solutions that our markets desire. Thirdly, expansion of our site to support our capacity to meet demand increases. This will incorporate increased employment investment with a strong focus on our already active and successful apprenticeship schemes in place. And finally, an increased geographical turnover expansion to access new geographical markets that either have not been penetrated so far or will require our product solutions as their industrial output increases.
“Our focus will also continue to be aimed at increasing not only our own, but our suppliers and customers, engagement with the social and environmental responsibilities that we have. I anticipate that this five-year journey will also incorporate the latest tools available such as AI to ensure that customer requirements are met in the most efficient and productive manner to achieve the desired outcome,” Chris concludes.