A day on the road with... Laurens Callewaert, service technician at Dewulf

A day on the road with... Laurens Callewaert, service technician at Dewulf

Laurens, who was raised in a real farming family, joined Dewulf after his studies and several years of work experience. That was ten years ago, and he has worked as a service technician at the company ever since. Today, he travels the world commissioning and repairing Dewulf machines. On behalf of Hectares Magazine, we had the opportunity to follow along for a day! 

Consultation is key

Out of season, the working days at Dewulf are just as you would expect. Laurens usually begins at 7:30 am and wraps up for the day at 4:15 pm, but there are also exceptions and seasonal peaks. ‘When we have a customer call-out during the season, whether it's in Belgium or one of our neighbouring countries, we try to be there by 8:00 am. When we need to travel to more distant locations, particularly by plane, our schedule is naturally dictated by the transportation arrangements,’ Laurens explains. 

Working at the Dewulf factory also involves being on-call and having to work weekends or evenings. Preferences are communicated in advance, after which a schedule is drawn up in consultation with colleagues. ‘Of course, something may come up occasionally, but it's rarely a problem to swap a day or weekend after discussing it with colleagues and the planning department.’

For several years now, Dewulf has also had someone on-call in the evenings and a helpdesk that customers and dealers can contact by phone and email. ‘This means we can quickly provide technical assistance, worldwide.’

A typical day as a service technician at Dewulf 

Laurens' days start with a meeting at the factory in Roeselare with all the colleagues who work there. Others, such as those who work in Winsum or are travelling, join via Teams. ‘After that, you never quite know what the day will bring,’ he says. ‘Sometimes you spend the day in the shop, repairing a used machine, for example, or improving existing machines with an update from R&D. Certain people from our service team also provide training to our dealers during the winter months.’

‘During the season, we can obviously be found in the field most of the time, for repairs, machine commissionings and monitoring of prototypes. We're so busy that the weeks fly by. Although we talk about there being “a season,” when you have machines in service around the world, it's always “the season” somewhere...’

The job: plenty of challenges, lots of travel and loads of satisfaction 

For Laurens, there are many aspects of the job he enjoys. The challenges, travelling and the satisfaction that comes with solving problems are foremost among them. ‘In our job, the challenges are never-ending, and they have to do with knowledge as well as new developments and technologies. Like figuring out how to fix a problem when you don't have the right tools with you.’ The team shares its real-world experiences with the R&D department, something Laurens also really enjoys about his job. ‘This way, we help optimise our machines, which is a lasting contribution.’ A nice plus is regular travel for work, sometimes to other parts of the world. ‘That means we have the opportunity to get to know other cultures.’ But Laurens finds nothing more satisfying than helping a customer who is having difficulties. ‘The best part of my job is still finding solutions to customer problems. The satisfaction of leaving a happy customer behind is the ultimate reward.’

Whereas other colleagues are only active in the regions directly around where they live, Laurens' territory is virtually unlimited. ‘There are colleagues who only have Belgian, French or Dutch dealers and customers. They are responsible for the country they live in. That's not the case for me; I travel the world for work. It could be that I'm helping a customer near the factory one day and the next I'm on a plane flying half way around the globe to commission a planter, harvester or storage machine.’

Today we caught up with Laurens in Kluisbergen, in the Flanders region of Belgium. The Dewulf Enduro that was harvesting there had to be fitted with some extra lighting in the harvesting channel. After the additional LED lights were installed and the necessary cables pulled, Laurens also updated the harvester's software. Then the contractor was able to get straight back to work harvesting. The service was completed in less than half an hour. Before Laurens heads back to Roeselare, he contacts the planning department. There might be another urgent service call nearby he needs to attend to first…

This article previously appeared in Hectares Magazine.