In the Field: Never think, ‘I cannot do this’
Shaji Athyodan has been a field service engineer for 17 years, but he still gets tremendous satisfaction from working on GE Healthcare x-ray systems. That’s because he knows this equipment is critical to helping doctors successfully treat patients.
Shaji, 38, is an Advanced Field Service Engineer with GE Healthcare in the UAE. The x-ray equipment he installs, maintains and services includes those used in conventional x-ray, mammography, vascular and surgery. “So some of these systems are being used every minute that a patient is on the table. That’s a lot of responsibility on me, and I love that.”
“When I fix a system, I get satisfaction that the customer is happy. That’s a good feeling,” he says.
Shaji knows what he’s talking about, having been a field service engineer on GE Healthcare equipment since he earned his diploma in electronics engineering 17 years ago. He began as an engineer with a GE Healthcare distributor in India, where for 12 years he aspired to work at GE. Five years ago, “I finally saw that dream come true.”
One of the key lessons he’s learned is to “not look only in one direction for a solution. Think outside the box,” he urges. “If you have an issue and can’t work out the solution, think of multiple other ideas. Keep trying different approaches. Don’t give up. Never think, ‘I cannot do this’.” That means doing research, looking beyond the service manual, talking with colleagues, and brainstorming. His 17 years has shown that there’s always a solution.
Since joining GE Healthcare, his most rewarding repair assignments occurred when a UAE-based hospital’s cath lab needed a repair. Shaji was able to identify the problem, but the spare part wasn’t available in the UAE and normally took two to four days to arrive. Through GE Healthcare’s hard work and some luck, the part was delivered overnight to the UAE, and, with Shaji on the job as soon as the part was brought to the hospital, the equipment up and running by evening of the next day. “We had a lot of appreciation from the hospital and the hospital group it belongs to,” Shaji explained, since every day the machine is out of operation, patients can’t be served and the hospital can’t do its business.
Shaji is one of nine field service engineers from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan region to be selected to participate in GE Healthcare’s Global Field Engineer Olympic Academy. They are among nearly 80 field service engineers from around the world selected to participate in a weeklong learning and development event during May at the GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha, Wisconsin (USA).
The May event in Wisconsin is the second Field Service Engineers Olympics for Shaji, who also participated in a previous Middle East Olympic event.
Read more stories about GE Healthcare’s work to enhance healthcare across the Middle East and North Africa.