MTS Systems Reviews

Updated October 14, 2014
Updated October 14, 2014
30 Reviews
2.5
30 Reviews
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MTS Systems President & CEO Jeffrey A. Graves
Jeffrey A. Graves
14 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Excellent Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Design Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN
    Current Employee - Design Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN

    I have been working at MTS Systems full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    High caliber work force, cutting edge projects

    Cons

    decisions driven by Wall Street

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Put value into your employees

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    I had a great time, learned lots, and enjoyed all of my coworkers, but upper management caused me to leave.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Eden Prairie, MN
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Eden Prairie, MN

    I worked at MTS Systems as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great coworkers. They are truly some of the best and brightest. Always willing to teach you in areas of their expertise. I really enjoyed going to work, it is just the management decisions that made me choose greener pastures. The work schedule is also very lenient, your hours are what you make within reason. Typically 6-8 AM as a starting time for most positions. They also have summer hours where you can work four 10's, or four 9's and a 4 if you want instead of the usual five 8's.

    Cons

    Over my 2.5 years at MTS, I have seen the moral of all workers decline rapidly. It has been because the Jeff Graves has declared that MTS is going to be a $1B company in 5 years, when MTS is not exactly a business that you can do that with. It was built on the idea of creating custom solutions, not standard products. The vacation that you get is used up by mandatory vacations over Christmas and 4th of July to make the books look better. It would be a good job if you want experience, but I would not recommend it if you want job security.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper management, you say you have a speak up culture, but I don't feel as though anything spoken upon is listened to. Plus, most of that has been beaten out, and now it is all about becoming a $1B company. Layoffs need to stop when you have record backlog of orders. It does not make sense to lay off people when you have more work than ever.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    This company sucks! You will be overworked, under-appreciated, disrespected and offended. DO NOT WORK HERE (Cary, NC)!

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

    I have been working at MTS Systems full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Coworkers are great but the oppressive management usually stifles conversation. Management is verbally rude and offensive. Engineering equipment is usually not an issue and some of the best is purchased. This refers to the Cary NC division.

    Cons

    Your work will go unrecognized. Disrespectful, abusive management. No positive awards, just negative. When you interview, just look at the faces of the engineering employees, they are tired and unhappy. DO NOT WORK HERE!
    This refers to the Cary NC division.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recognize extra effort made by employees. Do not punish employees for mistakes while ignoring all the accomplishments. Engineering management treats employees like vending machines, expecting an output. If they get the expected bag of chips, they do nothing. If not then they kick the machine.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    One Billion Dollar Company because Jeff Graves said so

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Field Service
    Current Employee - Field Service

    I have been working at MTS Systems full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good people, fair pay and benefits. Many long time knowledgeable employees still work here, but for how long?

    Cons

    Meglomaniac running the company and employers are nothing more than metrics. No concern for employees family life with the constant push for revenue. Many really knowledgeable employees are leaving for greener pasture elswhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fire Graves and about half of the rest of the managers. This guy shows up and declares we WILL be a one billion dollar company in 5 years. It is written, so shall it be. I think it is nothing more than a way to drive our stock up, which it has. He will leave before the five years are up and we don't succeed taking his golden parachute with him and leaving a once terrific company in shambles.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    July 2014

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at MTS Systems full-time

    Pros

    Interesting products, global business. Large company experiences in a mid cap sized company.

    Cons

    No investment in technological infrastructure to operate the business

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 7 people found this helpful  

    A company that has lost its way...again.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Systems Software Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN
    Former Employee - Systems Software Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN

    I worked at MTS Systems full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The engineer's that have survived are incredibly knowledgeable, kind, and patient. If you're just starting your career, MTS wants you because you do not cost that much. MTS hired a "Compensation Analyst" to help out with "Investment in the Future". My advice: learn as much as you can and move on. Use them as they use you. And calculate your next move. You have to start somewhere. If you plan on staying, stay cheap and do not expect much in terms of salary. The work is interesting and challenging and that will have to be your reward as well as the experience you get.

    There are some good people in management. Sue Knight has always been very kind and friendly to me. Those that are in the trenches and connected with the work MTS does, understand the challenges and are decent to work with.

    Cons

    Morale is very low after this last layoff (beginning of quarter 3, 6% of their workforce, 150 employees including open reqs). Those below management have no faith in those above and are just waiting for the hammer to fall again (more layoffs, reduction in pay). And with good reason. The leadership has stopped listening to customers and those they manage. MTS has been enforcing mandatory week long or more layoffs during Christmas and the 4th of July (3 so far). Another termination layoff occurred just last year. The bottom line is that MTS is desperate to make their EBIT.

    The current strategy of the company is that a web application and service (high margins and looks good on paper) are going to double the size of the company in 5 years (already almost 2 years in). That's not happening (last quarter they were down 23% alone in comparison with last year). Middle management is in fear of rocking the boat and just "follows orders" and reorganizes and promotes themselves. Slogans that Human Resources has put up on the wall: "Ethics, Transparency, Investment in the Future.." mean nothing.

    The head of the test division was phased out of the company and replaced with a "yes"-man. The former head of test has sold all of his shares in the company. That gives you an idea where the confidence level is currently at. There are about 12 people at the company that represent the core of the knowledge base at MTS. Most are nearing retirement age. MTS is doing very little to retain this knowledge and pass it to the next generation. The only thought is next quarter, next quarter....

    The real issue is that MTS has already been down this road before. The prior CEO (Laura Hamilton) laid out a strategy to commoditize services and systems and this strategy led to attrition and nearly running the company into the ground. During this period, MTS was also held in violation of a written contract with the U.S. Military as was fined 7 million dollars. To the credit of the current C-suite, they were handled a very challenging set of issues.

    The current CEO Dr. Jeff Graves comes from an engineering background. Morale was boosting with his announcement among the entier company until the cracks started to show. Over his 2 year reign it has become apparent that he does not value engineering or innovation and he does not listen to the market or those around him. His largest internal initiative has been to get employees to invest in the United Way. How that contributes to the bottom line is beyond me or most at the company. Badgering and pestering your employees to place their hard earned dollars where they don't want to does not seem like a reasonable place to put his efforts. It only makes sense that this would boost his CEO "rating".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'd recommend reading "The Innovator's Dilemma" and "The Innovator's Solution" by Clayton M. Christensen. Innovation takes time. Slashing your R&D budget and engineering staff shows just how much leadership misunderstands the brand and core of the company.

    To the board and C-suite: If you're going to pick a number out of thin air (1 billion) be smart enough to do the research and find out where it's going to come from and realistically in what time frame. Proto labs CEO also chose to target the 1 billion dollar mark (nice round number). The difference...the time frame has not yet been announced because to their credit the due diligence is still being conducted to find out what a realistic time frame is.

    With that in mind, get to know what made MTS great in the first place. Cast out the Wormtongues that whisper in your ear for their own benefit. You are not Google. You are not Apple. You are MTS, a once great company that can still be great.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 11 people found this helpful  

    Company becoming inefficient as upper mgmt drives the company into the ground with a quarter to quarter outlook.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN

    I have been working at MTS Systems full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Some consider MTS to be an engineer's playground. Great work life balance - able to work core 9-3hours and have flexibility and no micromanaging. Salary used to be excellent within TE and SAM structures. Now extremely hard to become a senior engineer due to poor employee valuation and promotion growth strategy. Good travel locations for customers - Europe, China, Japan, and USA. Great employees at the bottom, most supervisors are good. Extremely competent staff and friendly employees (a few bad apples do spoil us and prevent efficiency).

    Cons

    Little room for growth as of 2011. Little training for engineers after 3years. Understaffed in all engineering areas. Overstaffed in middle and upper management. Not enough floor space at EP facility. Many barriers and between groups for efficient project flow.

    Many new and high tech/glamorous technologies: the flash of formula 1 racing systems, automotive car testing equipment, airplane component testing, and other impactful engineering projects are sold. However, dysfunctional new management is changing the culture of the company into a widget factory mentality, but not having success in the process thus far and dim outlook.

    MTS has a history of solving complex engineering issues and being able to charge accordingly for the knowledge. Now however, most projects are delivered late, are understaffed and underscoped, and in a constant scramble for resources to complete. Only through the "good" of the employees is MTS able to keep delivering systems to customers. Sadly, this is slowly fading as morale drops. Management is in yes-mode currently, only looking upwards so their own job isn't slashed. Top heavy organization with too many directors, VPs, and middle management who cannot make a decision to save their life, even if for the good of the organization. This is why MTS will suffer in the 2014-2018 years unless change is made. Get Bill Murray back. Jeff is a chest beating-sweet talker with no strategy and ineffective minions driving the company south. The ones at the bottom are keeping the organization afloat, but a strategy of "the boats have been burned" and "investments have been made" is not panning out.

    Management has signed MTS up for a lofty goal of becoming a $1B organization. Fat chance. MTS could achieve $750-800M annually if it became efficient and speedy. Unfortunately, new processes/procedures with understaffing in engineering has led to projects being slow, disorganized, and lower in margin than the past. Some say there are "Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    MTS can still be a great company if changes are made. Most employees will still tell you they love working here. Here is advice: Promote from within. Eliminate the PMO office. Hire more mechanical and electrical engineers offset by layoffs of middle management. Let engineers make more decisions on business. LISTEN to employees, use more surveys and don't listen to the yes-men managers. Make supply chain accountable to engineering and demand project costs and ROI calculations for all R&D efforts. Utilize the full power of SAP MRP system, and eliminate management by spreadsheet. Return 3% profit sharing 401(k). Don't require set PTO times (i.e. Xmas or 4th of July Shutdowns), but rather use it or lose it amounts per quarter. Make outside sales' pay based on true margin after project complete. Eliminate worthless directors and VPs. Demand accountability and fire under performers. Eliminate Echo. A good test engineer manager will visit the lab and speak with their employees, not stare at a tablet or phone with a false sense of security. Invest in R&D and new products. Become efficient and ask worker-bees what slows their job down or could be improved. Folks at the bottom know what needs to change!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 7 people found this helpful  

    Quarterly Revenue Drive Destroying Company. Won't be around in 20 years.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN

    I have been working at MTS Systems full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Unparalleled opportunities for custom, creative solutions of your own design.
    Drive towards Class A MRP systems has resulted in an ever-improving ECM system.

    Cons

    Quarterly revenue drive is destroying company. Jeff Graves squandered an improved employee morale after Laura Hamilton was pushed out. Had employees ready to turn the tide at MTS. Improved MRP processes had company driving towards more efficient execution of projects. The improved MRP processes are all for naught. Revenue drive add false priority into the mix versus customer delivery and cost. Through Class A MRP out the window every quarter, and go to spreadsheets and backwards execution of projects (engineer easy components first, then difficult ones later to drive revenue). Yet every quarter Jeff Graves is surprised by our overrun of costs and inability to deliver to the customer schedule. Management has no clue. If they had a employee survey they might.

    Employees are beat up over managements failings. Record revenue quarter after quarter with same understaffed engineers translates into layoffs. Work/Life balance is terrible if you try and meet your customer delivery requirements; way understaffed.

    For the past two years there have been shutdowns on the k of July 4th and Christmas/New Years. Extremely little time off of your own choosing. For contractors the result is two unpaid forced vacations a year.

    Every benefit area is being systematically cut. Change to 401K policy this year netted a 3% pay cut for everyone. Always waiting for the next shoe to drop on benefits.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get an employee survey. Use it along with your customer survey and figure out that 1+1=2. Get your mid/upper management under control. You guys have been hiring management like it is going out of style and spending like drunken sailors. Managers don't deliver projects.

    Your workforce is ageing. If you don't get fresh blood in that has time to spend learning, and not just "turning-the-crank", there won't be anyone left in 20 years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 6 people found this helpful  

    Great Company Being Run By Incompetent Management and Ineffective Consultants

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN
    Former Employee - Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN

    I worked at MTS Systems full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    • Great people and a strong sense of community.
    • Flexible hours
    • Compensation is average

    Cons

    • Benefits being cut and Profit sharing cancelled while insider trading exceeds 5 million dollars in last 12 months
    • Forced to use PTO during mandated shutdown to reduce liability from the company's books
    • Incompetent management relied heavily on expensive consultants with no evident efficiencies
    • Instead of cleaning house, new management team kept incompetent managers, thus assuring progress will not occur
    • HR, IT and Service organizations are bloated with managers
    • Revenue push results in creative and questionable behaviors
    • Management is destroying company with the approval of the BoD

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    TIPS to identify the symptoms of megalomania:
    • Delusion of greatness
    • Delusion of importance
    • Lack of empathy
    • Egoistic
    • Self-centered
    • Exaggerations

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 10 people found this helpful  

    Workforce adjustments (layoffs) are never ending.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Systems Integration Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN
    Former Employee - Systems Integration Engineer in Eden Prairie, MN

    I worked at MTS Systems full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Excellent pay and a nice campus.

    Cons

    The organization is ran by the purchasing department, the question the engineers on whether they really need to be using the parts they spec for projects. Scheduling is even worse. Way too many people sticking their noses in your business, especially the TRAVEL department. Employees with 40 + years under their belts have no idea how a truly progressive organisation operates. Also, the company tries to reinvent itself every six months or so. The company ran great up until the first run-in with the Fed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Let the employees do their jobs and pull back on the book reading assignments and meetings. Maybe call back some of the people who actually made a difference, but were marginalized by the exec staff!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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