A Message From Iain Graham

CEO at Red Energy

The team at Red Energy was really thrilled to be a part of IE’s biggest ever Silicon Block party, held at our brand new offices in the iconic Bryant and May building.

The Bryant and May building comes with its own history of innovation and business success and so to my mind was the perfect setting for the event.

One hundred years ago the building housed a match-stick factory. But it was like no other factory at that time. During the period of industrial revolution, Bryant and May introduced the concept of continuous improvement, 70 years before William Edwards Deming and the Total Quality Management revolution.

In a wonderful book called The Matchmakers written in the 1913 about Bryant and May you’ll find references to their business philosophies.

On machinery: “it comes from America, England, Sweden, France, Germany, but there are now also quite a number of machines which have been made in Australia, and they are the most ingenious of the lot. These have been designed, made and erected by our own engineers and they are indeed ‘out of the common’. And though the present Machinery is wonderful, it is as nothing with the thousands of pounds worth that we have ‘scrapped’. Everything we do here today is being better done than we used to do it, and there is not a thing we do here today that is not going to be still better done some day.”

A hundred years before Google, management at Bryant and May recognized that innovation and technology needed employee engagement to triumph. Theirs was a workplace of equality and teamwork.

On people: For those we employ there are fewer rules and regulations than any other factory. They are not needed! We employ intelligent and willing workers. We believe that by treating folk as Gentlefolk, we make Gentlefolk of them, no matter how unpromising the material. We have proved it. In this boat, everybody has to pull his weight and there are no passengers.

There’s no doubt in my mind that those wonderful people of Bryant and May were innovators way ahead of their time. And wouldn’t they be proud and excited to think that 100 years later, Richmond is still very much a place of creativity, new ideas, continuous improvement and fun. As demonstrated by the Silicon Block Party!

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