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An interview with Darren Sayer, our valued, long serving, Senior Estimator

What brought you to Joinery as a career? 

In July this year, I will celebrate 30 years at Denne Joinery. A friend came to work here. He loved his role so much and ultimately managed to get me a foot in the door. I started as a bench joiner in 1994 and haven’t looked back since! 

Can you explain what makes Denne Joinery unique? 

Like many of my colleagues who are still here today, it’s progression. That word definitely sums it up. I started out as a joiner, then progressed to Shop Floor Foreman, Production Manager, and then the estimating team. A big reason we are still here is that we are given opportunities to progress and develop our careers. We have also been treated well and are valued for our experience. 

In fact, our unique level of team experience 100% translates into the quality we deliver time and again – knowing all those steps, what’s involved, the time and detail it takes, and what the team will have to deal with – means we can ensure we’ll deliver the high-quality product customers come to us for. 

I think it is also because of that built-in experience across the company that the business has evolved so much since I have been here. We have greater efficiencies and are more effective across the business, working to streamlined end-to-end operations. 

My drive to progress and to gain such broad experience really underpins the work I do today as Senior Estimator. 

What do you think is essential to success in high-quality joinery? 

The straightforward answer is; getting it right first time. It sounds simple, but this requires excellence at every stage of the process, from site survey to design to production to QA to packing and to site install. 

This comes from that level of experience and the constant learning, as well as the ability to step back, as a leader, and ensure our quality processes are being followed and not rushed, no matter how demanding the turnaround is. The wisdom is, sometimes slower is faster! 

What are you most proud of in your role at Denne Joinery? 

When I was younger, I used to be so proud when we brought a whole interior project together in the workshop. One I remember was a bar for TGI Fridays. I loved how everyone across the team worked on an individual element of the package, and you would see all the parts coming together into the recognisable interior. 

Today, in the position I am in, I am proud of how the team come to me for advice, such as how to make a piece or what finishes will make it exceptional. It gives me real satisfaction that people value my experience. 

What are you passionate about in your role? 

Being the Senior Estimator, I feel that sense of passion when helping secure the work and then passing it over to the team. I can sometimes have over 5-6 estimates in the works at any time, all with a tender period from a week to two weeks, so there is some energy and focus required. 

Similarly, I relish envisioning custom deliverables, designing and specifying something that can be as simple as a square on a drawing to represent a desk, tea point, or storage. Again, using that experience to contribute to the project, in-line with the vision, is incredibly rewarding.  

How do you benefit from partnerships in your role? 

Building rapport with contractors can make an enormous difference. It helps with ensuring we are delivering the value expected and that we will get it right first time. Ultimately, a good partnership leads to greater customer satisfaction. 

Do you have any advice for young people considering a career in joinery? 

As an industry, we need to grow the number of young people starting in joinery as a career choice, which is why we’re driving our ‘Get Into Joinery’ initiative and have a thriving apprenticeship scheme. 

The piece of advice I would impart is to be patient and take small steps as you learn and be focused on being the best at every element of joinery. 

Of course, they need to be 100% sure it’s what they want to do. We offer work experience to help those thinking about it, and it’s terrific to see them around the workshop and office. Hopefully, as I have demonstrated, joinery can be a great and rewarding career with many pathways to long-term progression. 

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