Hertfordshire joinery specialist on the quest for future expansion after record year | Manufacturing Growth Programme

Ensuring the level of service matches its unique craftsmanship has helped a Hemel Hempstead joinery specialist almost double its business in the last year.

Quest Joinery, which was formed by Jeremy Theakston and Allan Jackson in 2011, has posted an impressive £4.1m turnover for the last twelve months after securing a number of high-profile contracts in London.

This represents a £1.7m increase and highlights the growing demand for the company’s specialist joinery products and services, including bespoke reception desks, wall panelling and cabinetry, not to mention its ability to incorporate specialist materials including glass, metalwork and upholstery.

It is now tapping into support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MPG) to help it capitalise on the recent expansion by introducing an action plan that maximises recent investment in a new ERP system and creates a five-year business plan that will deliver £10m of annual sales.

“We were both involved in the industry and were being regularly let down by sub-contractors when it came to delivering a good service and completing jobs on time. The end result was ‘let’s do it ourselves’,” explained Jeremy.

“That was how Quest was formed and we haven’t really looked back over the last eight years, with the last two in particular marking our transformation into one of the first names chosen by architects, construction firms and property developers.”

He went on to add: “We are now completing contracts that are worth £2m+ and these include projects at Chelsea Barracks, commercial offices in the City and Clarges, the luxury commercial and residential development in Mayfair.

“Our clients choose us for our unique design, craftsmanship, but, importantly, for the way we project manage the work so that everything is completed on time, to budget and without any inconvenience to the end user.

Quest Joinery has ambitious plans to more than double the size of the company by 2024 and to do this it turned to the Manufacturing Growth Programme to complete a review of the business and look at ways where it could become more efficient whilst helping the ‘scaling-up’ process.

Manufacturing Growth Manager Roy Matthews sat down with the management team to look at potential challenges and market opportunities, which supported the creation of an action plan.

This initially looking at automating certain production processes and giving staff access to real-time data so they can make decisions on job planning, the supply chain and contract lead times.

Over £20,000 has already been saved in administration costs and the company believes the platform it has put in place – combined with the benefits of the ERP systems – will deliver it a 20% productivity boost.

Allan picked up the story: “We were really impressed with MGP and especially the Growth Manager who had lots of industry experience and ‘got’ what we wanted to achieve and where this would take us.

“He suggested some simple improvements and then looked at how we could integrate technology and automation into our factory that manufactures a lot of our products before we fit them on site.”

MGP’s Roy Matthews concluded: “Growing so fast can be a challenging time for a SMEs so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work with Quest Joinery to help it effectively manage its growth and lay the foundations for future expansion.

“It has disrupted a traditional industry through high levels of customer service and the fact it offers the latest 2D, 3D and BIM design technology, as well as expert joinery and fit-out services. The business model is working and generating lots of new opportunities.”

Quest Joinery has invested more than £250,000 on a new CNC router and the ERP system, as well as taking on a further 10 staff.

More details on Quest Joinery can be found at www.questjoinery.co.uk or follow @questjoinery