Day in the Life of a Laser Systems Field Engineer

Gary Smith of Coherent is a UK Field Engineer with 11 years’ service working on a diverse list of laser systems. He has shared his typical day.

Gary Smith – Laser Systems Field Engineer for Coherent

Typical day as a Laser Systems Field Engineer

The day to day job is extremely varied. I work mostly within the UK mainland but occasionally travel outside of the UK reacting to service related calls. These calls can include installations, routine preventative maintenance, and breakdowns. In addition training on a wide range of products for a varied cliental base. With the industry we work in being extremely fast moving, no two days are the same. However, I will try to give an overview of how we work & react to a customer request for assistance.

laser machine

Handling a customer request as a laser systems field engineer

A request will come into our office either by a phone call or an email asking for assistance. This in turn will generate a case. Once our Technical Support team have processed the case and if they are unable to resolve the issue remotely then they allocate the case to one of the Field Service Engineers of which I am one.
We the engineers generally first know the case is allocated to us via an email.

There is also a message which is automatically generated at the point the case is assigned to us through our electronic case handling software. At this point we have access electronically via our Field Service app on our phones to all the information we need prior to attending the customer’s site. The information we have access to via the app will include a number of things. It will include the date that has been agreed for us to attend the customers site, the customer’s contact details and address, In addition, there will be case information about the issue with the system. Lastly, it will detail any parts that have been allocated. We may have to collect from our UK office prior to the visit if they have not been shipped direct to site already.

The day prior to a site visit I will normally check the case details once more. As well, I will do a little research into the system fault. So that means, I have a basic idea of what I am looking at once I arrive. I will also check the approximate travel time to site. This will give me an idea of what time I will need to set off on the morning of the visit.

laser cutting metal

The day of the site visit as a laser systems field engineer

On the day of the visit I will always aim to leave allowing enough time. This is so that I arrive at the customer’s site before 10am. Of course, unless the customer has requested a specific time for me to be on site.
On arrival at site it is possible to be presented with a varied selection of different processes to go through so that we can gain access. These may be a simple as knock on a door and be let straight in. Or it can involve having to sign in, present risk assessments, complete health & safety inductions and be briefed on any Covid/Site restrictions that apply to that customer’s location.
Once access has been gained and before I start any work on their system I will always spend a few minutes talking to the system operator. If they are available and my site contact if different to the operator then I gain a little more information about the issues that they are experiencing. I always find this very useful. That is because, they often give me small helpful snippets of information that are not contained in the case notes. This interaction can also help to build or reinforce the customer relationship experience. As a result it can make them feel more valued. It also makes the chance of being offered a cup of coffee more likely too.
Now at this point the specific task we have been sent in to do may take anything from 2 hours for a simple routine preventative maintenance upwards with some jobs taking over 3 days for complex installations with customer system training. Breakdowns can vary too and can be caused by mechanical, electrical or optical issues.

The paperwork

Once the task has been completed I then fill out some information on our Field Service app. This information details timings, parts that have been fitted, and parts that are being returned due to not being required, It also details what has been done. This may also include any outstanding actions we need to follow up on. I then ask a member of the customer’s staff to sign the electronic service sheet. This is then emailed to the customer. Then, I then mark the case as Completed or Cannot Complete on the app.
Once the electronic service sheet has been completed I then send a customer satisfaction survey to the customer. This gives them the opportunity to give us feedback on our performance relating to their case. Finally after I have left site and usually once I have access to an internet connection I also complete a Data Collection Spreadsheet. This is designed to capture some system specifics relating to the case for our records.

Coherent careers

Further reading

A day in the life of a Field Engineer in Life Sciences

3D laser used by laser systems field engineer

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