Remaining organised and structured is also essential to doing well as a project engineer, as is paying close attention to clients’ needs and details to meet expectations.
Share with us what you do as a project engineer with Philips. Describe a typical day at work.
As part of the Philips Health Systems business, I usually work on projects to set up Philips health systems in hospitals. Specifically, I concentrate on diagnostic imaging machines used for X-ray, MRI and CT scans.
Day-to-day, I am involved in managing the end-to-end processes of a project, making sure that everything goes smoothly as planned. So, for instance, if I am working on an MRI system project, I will be engaged in two broad phases: project planning and project implementation.
Project planning comprises understanding the clients’ requirements for MRI diagnostic equipment and interpreting it as a project proposal. During this time, site visits are vital so I can not only gain insights into the clients’ needs as well as workflow of the hospital, but also ensure we design the right equipment layout to fit the site.
From there, I will move on to project implementation, where it is critical to partner various stakeholders in turning out the MRI system in the hospital. This includes working with doctors to make sure the hospital is ready for the MRI, overseeing and ascertaining the engineers are installing the MRI properly on-site, and organising training sessions concerning product usage for end-users to ensure a smooth and timely completion of the project.
Describe a memorable project you have worked on to date with Philips.
An aspect of my work that I thoroughly enjoy is the overseas exposure I get. A few months after I had joined, my boss assigned me a project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and encouraged me to take ownership over it. As I worked on this project, I had the opportunity to travel to Cambodia multiple times to visit my clients and contractors, as well as keep an eye on the planning and implementation of a variety of medical systems.
I had the chance to really expand my horizons on this project. I not only gained insights and understanding into the workflow of hospitals in Cambodia – completely distinct from Singapore’s hospitals – but I also had the opportunity to exchange industry knowledge with my counterparts in Cambodia, come to appreciate their medical culture, get an in-depth look into how they work, and figure out how Philips works around the world.
Moreover, I had the chance to pick up some rudimentary Cambodian to communicate with on-site contractors. All in all, it was a project in which I had to draw on all my skills.
What do you enjoy the most about working in Philips?
The learning journey has been most enjoyable. My academic background is in engineering, and although I was able to apply what I learned in some areas, I struggled in others. I had no technical knowledge of the medical equipment I was working with, for instance, and had no knowledge of project management concepts like Lean Six Sigma, either.
But Philips prioritises self-development, and employees are encouraged to attend classes and workshops designed to grow their skill sets and help them in career advancement. To that end, we even have an online learning platform, Philips University.
I had to work very hard to pick up the necessary knowledge, having turned to Philips University, as well as the internal library. My more experienced colleagues also gave me helping hands that expedited the process too!
What advice would you give graduates looking to join this industry?
If you have an academic background in engineering but are looking to grow in a non-engineering role, I find online e-learning a useful source in picking up the skills you will need.
Remaining organised and structured is also essential to doing well as a project engineer, as is paying close attention to clients’ needs and details to meet expectations. Develop your soft skills as well, and do not be afraid to showcase them during your interview.