DENSO America Reviews

Updated August 5, 2014
Updated August 5, 2014
41 Reviews

3.2
41 Reviews
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Hikaru Sugi
5 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Strong, stable company with a unique culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineering Manager  in  Southfield, MI
    Current Employee - Engineering Manager in Southfield, MI

    I have been working at DENSO America full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Strong, growing company. No layoffs even in bad times. Many opportunities for career growth, especially if you are the type to take initiative. Internal transfers are possible. Strong (albeit) slow trend to localize, with local managers gradually taking over positions previously held by expats. Pay and benefits especially are competitive and it comes with job security most other companies don't offer.(I think the people complaining about pay & benefits don't fully appreciate what they have.) Compensation may not match that of OEMs but if that's a concern for you then go work for Ford or GM instead.

    Work-life balance can be very good but this is very much work-group dependent. Excellent, subsidized on-site cafeteria especially if you like Japanese food options. Very nice tree-lined campus. Generous PTO which can be hard to use up considering that the days between Christmas and New Years are company holidays. Work schedule can be flexible depending on your job (you are free to access work email on your personal phone 24x7 -- sometimes not a good thing). Many modern, supportive policies such as work-at-home and flextime. Generally very good, friendly, competent people across the company.

    Cons

    It's hard to make generalizations because this is a large company with many different work environments but generally speaking...
    Built-in Japanese cultural expectations could be a con for some. For example in Japan, you are expected to do your job. If you don't know what it is, it's your responsibility to ask the right questions and figure it out. Whereas in America you'll hear people make excuses like "I didn't know" or "nobody told me to do that." So there is a fundamental cultural gap built-in that makes the company a poor fit for some. And of course there is a language barrier in some workgroups. Especially there is frequently a gap between expats and local staff simply because a lot the conversation is in Japanese between expats. They are not hiding anything but the information flow that would normally get shared by working side-by-side in an office space doesn't occur. They may not go out of their way to share things that are going on and engineers don't bother to ask.

    Go getters that want to take initiative may get frustrated at the amount of effort and speed to make change happen. It can be done and Management welcomes it but it's not easy.

    Work-life balance can be difficult for some, especially for those that are conscientious. Those that are not conscientious have a great work-life balance because they have no qualms about putting in their 8 hours and leaving, letting their co-workers or the expats clean up their unfinished business.

    Desktop workstation technology is typically behind but for most work that is email or MS Office-based it's fine. Global systems are typically old and behind the times as they are in any big company.
    For those in Japan-related positions there can be intrusions on personal time because you need to talk with Japan either very early or in the middle of evening (but the expats bear the brunt of this).

    As others have mentioned there are some mediocre people here. As a manager I can say that's true. In a tough labor market it's not easy finding good people so it's better to keep those people around rather than somehow hope I'm going to be able to hire better people that will adapt to the corporate culture and stick around. I will say, though, those less-than-stellar people don't get the bonus, merit and promotions that their high-performing peers get.

    The compensation system is too opaque. The reviewer complaining about people getting paid "below average" doesn't understand the system. There are defined salary bands and the fact that many/most people are paid below the midpoint of the band doesn't mean they are paid below average. If you can clearly show you're underpaid, you can get a market adjustment but typically people just say that anecdotically with no real evidence to back it up. As a manager I usually have to look at the wages we are hiring at to tell me if this is really the case. Again, the point being that where you are in the salary band is not particularly relevant.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior Management generally tries to be transparent but they need to put greater effort in this.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Good Company to work for, but not every department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Accounting Specialist  in  Southfield, MI
    Former Employee - Accounting Specialist in Southfield, MI

    I worked at DENSO America full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good amount of PTO
    Flex time
    Location
    on site cafe

    Cons

    Cannot use the PTO without working OT to catch up
    Early risers are not promoted...management likes face time even though there is a flex time policy
    Run real lean and not much room for promotion
    Many times outside recruiters are called on to fill management positions, or someone who has heated the seats for 10 years are promoted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Believe the associate surveys...they are true!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Design Engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Design Engineer I
    Current Employee - Design Engineer I

    I have been working at DENSO America full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Job Security
    - Friendly Co-workers
    - Fair compensation

    Cons

    - To much job security, Denso keeps people on that aren't capable of doing their job making it difficult for otheres

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  5.  

    Poor work life balance, poor management, no transparency at all.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at DENSO America

    Pros

    Stable job, so even during the worst economic downturn the fear of loosing job was very little. Great company to begin your career.

    Cons

    Uses technology from Stone Age. Very poor management, very short sighted vision. No transparency. Local management has no power (including HR) every decision is made in Japan.
    Denso will provide you a laptop and also give a chain and lock to lock it down on your desk.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you want to retain good employees, learn from other companies and improve the work culture.

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    OK place to work, depending on your goals

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Test Engineer  in  Southfield, MI
    Current Employee - Software Test Engineer in Southfield, MI

    I have been working at DENSO America as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Excellent inexpensive authentic Japanese food in the cafeteria.
    The company has some cool projects, but you have to find the right group.
    Very smart people whom you can learn lots from, but you have to actively seek them.

    Cons

    The pay was pretty low (granted, I was a contractor, and fresh out of college). As a tester, I got the feeling that the US office wasn't very important. All the development was done in Japan, and we were just there to support as necessary. Sometimes there were meetings at weird hours, to support Japan

    The structure here is very rigid, in terms of work processes. There is very little room for creativity, and it is not encouraged. I was expected to run specific test procedures and record results. When I came up with modifications to the tests, even though my modified tests uncovered bugs, it was still frowned upon that I deviated from the scripted test plan.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Stable, predictable, slow moving, top-down, below average compensation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer  in  Southfield, MI
    Current Employee - Engineer in Southfield, MI

    I have been working at DENSO America full-time

    Pros

    If you are a full time employee you do not have any fear of losing your job. You have to be a colossal failure to get fired and they did not lay anyone off during the recession. Career path is well defined, if slow moving. Friendly work environment. Small enough to be know most of your co-workers, but still a major company. Good amount of paid time off that can be taken in quarter hour intervals, banked and even drawn negative. Used to be growing fast (some divisions still are) where there was opportunity to get promoted almost by default.

    Cons

    Salary and overall compensation is low. They decide pay by compensation ratio compared to "industry average" data that is behind reality. They then see how you compare to the average. However, almost nobody gets paid above this average. So, most are paid below average. They claim some people are above the average, but I have talked to dozens of people in engineering and none are. You have to get promoted to get any significant raise. Bonuses are small and other monetary incentives are non-existent. Meager 401k match. No overtime. Japanese company that is very top-down and does everything based on Japanese business culture. Slow to change. Uses outdated technology or manual processes where rest of industry uses professional tools.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fix the broken compensation ratio system. If management does not already know most employees are paid below average, audit people's ratios and I'm sure it will prove to be true. Stop being so stingy with technology. You are hindering your employees from being productive. Stop using "DNJP does/doesn't do it" as your excuse for doing/not doing something. We have different culture, different customers and different market here; adapt accordingly.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Easy work, wish it was more challenging

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Quality Engineer
    Current Employee - Quality Engineer

    I have been working at DENSO America full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Easy work, but was doing non-engineering duties. Freedom to complete duties on my own schedule

    Cons

    Peoples skills are outdated and the company is slow to adapt to new technology. Managment was promoted due to longevity, not capabilities. DIrty environment that was not maintained well

  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good place to work at during the day

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer  in  Ann Arbor, MI
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Ann Arbor, MI

    I worked at DENSO America full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Strong security during your career

    Cons

    Low wages compared to others in the area

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good engineers don't always make good managers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales  in  Southfield, MI
    Current Employee - Sales in Southfield, MI

    I have been working at DENSO America full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    They give you a lot to do and its really a great company.

    Cons

    The long hours and structured organization.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Movement

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Temporary assignment at this major subsidiary of the largest Japanese-owned auto parts supplier

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst  in  Long Beach, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Long Beach, CA

    I worked at DENSO America as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    People are, for the most part, highly competent, friendly, and very willing to assist one another regardless of the task, the customer, or the level from which the request comes. Strong community outreach (beach cleanup, for example). More company social events than other firms where I've worked -- Christmas lunch/dinner, inter-company games, etc. Very rewarding "work hard, play hard" atmosphere. Good training opportunities for permanent associates.

    Cons

    (1) Temporary associates are limited to one year.
    (2) Pay is a bit below par, especially in light of premium prices and image of the company's products.
    (3) As of mid-2012, new "non-management" associates are hired in as hourly workers, and have to log in and log out to verify hours worked. (Not very professional, not the way to move forward, regardless of current trends.)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    (1) Allow temporary associates to work beyond one year, and be willing to increase their pay at regular intervals.
    (2) Raise compensation levels, especially for those with advanced degrees, to competitive ranges vs. other major auto parts suppliers, both domestic and foreign auto makers, and other firms with significant numbers of experienced and highly educated associates.

    Recommends

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