Our man in Abu Dhabi

So that we don't stumble over his name, which is very difficult for us, we are allowed to call service technician Praveen Pulickanthottiyil Prathapan simply Praveen. Praveen is on the road for WAS five days a week and sometimes late in the evening to bring WAS service from Abu Dhabi to the entire United Arab Emirates. He makes around 160 customer visits a year with his sprinter for WAS vehicles and rescue vehicles of other brands, which has been converted into a service vehicle. He covers immense distances.

Approximately 600 kilometres lie between the border with Saudi Arabia in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the east of the UAE. One could say that Praveen is responsible for WAS customer service in all emirates of the sparsely populated country on a total area of approx. 83,600 km2. With a total of approx. 250 missions per year – stationary and mobile – a WAS technician must also be a real all-rounder in the UAE. As an ambulance extension combines technology from many trades, such as electrical, heating and air-conditioning technology, electronics, hydraulics, mechanics, vehicle technology and also from carpentry. Praveen knows all these areas.

A good relationship with Germany

Born in India, he has been a member of the WAS team for almost two years and has been in Abu Dhabi for a total of four years. With a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, he first worked in the field of automotive electrics and air conditioning in the technical service department of a large taxi company before being recommended to WAS by a business partner. Many Indians – including cousins and an uncle of Praveen – live and work in the UAE to accumulate savings for the existence of their families in India. With 3.5 million people, they even form the largest population group. With 90% of foreigners, almost all of them migrant workers, it is common for workers in the UAE to spend their holidays in their country of origin. Praveen also flies to his family in India to go on holiday. A colleague from Germany then takes over the on-site service for him. While he’s on vacation the orders are collected in Wietmarschen and a German colleague processes them on a few days in the UAE. Depending on the urgency, the colleagues from Wietmarschen also fly to Abu Dhabi for individual cases.

Most of the time, however, Praveen is the WAS service technician on site in the UAE and takes care of all orders independently. And if he doesn't know what to do, he gets telephone support from Wietmarschen. However, this does not happen very often, because Praveen knows his vehicles and has every conceivable spare part directly in his "mobile workshop". 900 kg weight for parts and tools come together like this: approx. 500 different tools, starting with the simple screwdriver and the mobile air conditioning filling station to the certified WAS in-house development, the oxygen test case.

What you don't have in the car, you have in the garage

What he doesn't have with him he has in stock at the service station in Abu Dhabi. Among other things, these are 472 different spare parts; each part for the various ambulances located in the country at least once. For components where experience has shown that they need to be replaced more frequently, more items are stored. Every week he places an order with WAS to order spare parts.

The WAS Servicemobil was built according to the German model and is equipped in such a way that all services and almost all repair work can be carried out on site at the customer. That's a good thing, because Praveen covers 35,000 km a year with this vehicle. The most distant rescue stations are Ras Al Kaimah, 300 km away, and Sila, 325 km away, on the Saudi Arabian border. Due to the strictly controlled speed limit (max. 120 km/h on the highways), overcoming these distances takes considerably longer in the UAE than in Germany. From the service station via Dubai to Ras Al Kaimah it takes about four hours, and about three hours to the Saudi border. And about two to three times a year it even rains on the way. Otherwise, Praveen has more problems with sand drifts. According to unconfirmed estimates, his "rolling workshop" involuntarily transports about 11 million grains of sand from one end of the desert region to the other. ;-) Praveen is always anxious to achieve the minimum possible response time. Our customers recognise this performance and reward our speed. All the more so, since active after-sales service is otherwise not necessarily one of the uncomplicated services available from most local commercial enterprises.

Jumped into the cold water and broke the ice

But you don't have to make things unnecessarily complicated. That was probably what WAS colleague Gunnar Gering thought when he had his first interview with Praveen. The polite young man answered questions with "yes" or "no", but when he was asked to connect a relay and lamp in a practical task, he was soon in his element and the matter for WAS was clear. The decision to hire Praveen has not been regretted in Wietmarschen since then. The first familiarisation was nevertheless a leap into the cold water, because from as early as the second working day he and the team from Germany had to upgrade four Ford Explorer into first responders in the WAS workshop in Abu Dhabi. After a two-week visit to Germany, during which he not only received technical training but also spent a lot of time with his German colleagues, the ice was finally broken. Praveen has also become accustomed to the comparatively flat hierarchies of German employers and has since become increasingly self-confident. When the colleagues from Wietmarschen come to Arab Health in Dubai, they will be pleased that Praveen supports them and is still there after work. The service technician will soon be visiting the province of Lower Saxony again. On his last visit, he was cooking, eating pizza, skating with his German colleagues and, of course, visiting the neighbouring Netherlands. It will be interesting to see which excursions they come up with for their colleagues this time.


This text was first published in the WAS customer magazine „Safety First“. You can request a free copy of this and many other interesting topics by sending an e-mail to marketing@was-vehicles.com.

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