A123 Systems Reviews | Glassdoor

A123 Systems Reviews

Updated October 6, 2016
31 reviews

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Jason Forcier
6 Ratings

31 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Fast paced atmosphere, high-tech, great people (in 8 reviews)

  • Very nice and smart people to work with on a day-day basis (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance out the window if the execs are going to miss the bonus rounds (in 4 reviews)

  • A challenge associated with working in the R&D organization is finding work-life balance (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Worst company to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Newton, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at A123 Systems (More than a year)

    Pros

    None None technology and maybe some colleagues

    Cons

    Intimidating and wastage of money and resources.

    Advice to Management

    none


  2. "Manufacturing"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manufacturing in Livonia, MI
    Former Employee - Manufacturing in Livonia, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at A123 Systems full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great product, fast paced environment. There are a lot of very smart dedicated professionals accomplishing the impossible every day. Operators to Mid/Upper Level Managers are great people, friendly, and foster teamwork and genuinely want to do a good job for the right reasons.

    Cons

    New upper manager in operations does not understand the principles of TPS, namely Respect: "We respect others, make every effort to understand each other, take responsibility and do our best to build mutual trust" The lack of respect by this individual is causing a lot of good people to look for greener pastures. I would not have thought it possible to turn a 5 star job into a 0.05 so quickly.

    Advice to Management

    Need to fix the problem before it's too late and there is no one left. If the last 4 1/2 months are any indicator, the future does not look very bright, and will diminish the last 6 years of effort to get where you are.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Stay Away"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Waltham, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Waltham, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at A123 Systems full-time

    Pros

    Working with the technical (non-management) team. It used to be a fantastic place to work up until about 2014. The intelligence, energy, devotion of the team was inspiring. We created something new and exciting and built a company out of technology from MIT. We built plants in China and Michigan and became a world-wide player in the battery world. We went through an IPO and became a public company.

    Cons

    Where do I begin? The newer management has destroyed the morale of A123. A123 is a shell of its former self. Current management here in Waltham is atrocious and mean spirited. HR is lazy and completely useless and always sides with management (as expected). Management has let go or forced out loyal and talented long-term people (with no severance) who knew the technology inside and out and replaced them with low wage Chinese nationals. This may be orders from the new Chinese ownership who bought the company during the bankruptcy. The benefits are horrible. No matching 401k in the 14 year history of the company and the health benefits are far worse than what they were before bankruptcy. Other than a paycheck I am not sure why anyone would want to work here at A123. There is a very negative atmosphere and everyone talks about wanting to leave. The talented, hard working people who are here should look elsewhere if they are not already. There are much better places to work.

    Advice to Management

    For management in Waltham: Stop creating complaint files and instead, focus on the company, listen to your employees concerns and treat them better.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Good working people, poor management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Livonia, MI
    Current Employee - Engineer in Livonia, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at A123 Systems full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good pay, good benefits. Smart and supportive crew, juicy technology.

    Cons

    BS management. Yielded to Wall street pressure and ramped up the mass production prematurely which led to the bankruptcy. Yet the failed management let go many engineers and got a promotion for themselves thanks to the endless wit of the new clueless Chinese owner.

    Advice to Management

    None. Management wouldn't listen anyway.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "A-247 is sweat shop driven by questionable management."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Livonia, MI
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Livonia, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    At first it was fun to work there and they had allot of momentum and funding. The company had some great technology and in the beginning it was exciting to work there. Our government gave A123 hundreds of millions of dollars to build a plant and develop the technology in order to provide lower cost batteries at a reasonable cost. At the time, we did not mind working 60 to 70 hours a week because we really thought we were going to make a difference. Then the company went public and the Wall street pressure started to build.

    Cons

    Unfortunately Executive management thought they were a software company and could solve there quality problems with a software patch sent over the internet. That strategy led them to a $60 million recall and eventually bankruptcy. The executive team gave themselves raises and hefty bonuses with golden parachutes before they announced their quality problems and they proceeded to go through bankruptcy. The company got sold to the Chinese and in their infinite wisdom they kept majority of the executives that drove them into bankruptcy. With that said expect to be driven hard with little reward or recognition. The good old boys club thrives at this company and if your not in the inner circle you wont.

    Advice to Management

    Taking major risks to meet your short term numbers is not the way to long term success.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Worst Experience of my life."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Production Operator in Romulus, MI
    Current Employee - Production Operator in Romulus, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at A123 Systems full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Its a check..
    - Gave me a job when I didn't have one

    Cons

    - No leadership
    - Company lacks integrity / morals
    - You feel like you are nothing but a number.
    - Required to work endless hours went production demands went up.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees like a people not just a number. Without your employees you wouldn't have a job your self.
    I'm not a disgruntled worker, I just want to send out a warning to people who will work here in the future..... don't get comfortable they will cut the ties from you in a heart beat.... NO LOYALTY TO THEIR EMPLOYEES!!!!!


  8. Helpful (2)

    "great technology bad management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at A123 Systems full-time

    Pros

    great technology. great systems capabilities. smart people in R&D. Great finance organization. crappy board and ownership

    Cons

    poor operational effectiveness. High cost. management biding time looking for next opportunity. place going nowhere

    Advice to Management

    get out while you have a chance


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Dying Business with Unethical Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Electrical Engineer in Livonia, MI
    Former Employee - Electrical Engineer in Livonia, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at A123 Systems (More than a year)

    Pros

    A123 will hire anyone, as they are desperate - they will pay good, just to have warm bodies in the place. Only real requirement is that you have to be willing to train your replacement (who is more than likely Chinese).

    Cons

    A123 will hire anyone, as they are desperate - they will pay good, just to have warm bodies in the place. Only real requirement is that you have to be willing to train your replacement (who is more than likely Chinese). Working here is more of a short-term job, as everything seems to be moving over to China . The management team seems to be clueless and morally bankrupt. Management team does not yet understand the importance of a competent, loyal workforce.

    This place has one of the worst management to employee ratio i have ever seen. Also there are a lot of contract workers with no clue after massive amounts of attrition. Most of the qualified rank and file has already left, and the ones remaining are packing it up. Frustration with CEO, and top management has been bad for awhile and continues to worsen with bad decisions and no true leadership, just BS.

    Advice to Management

    Step aside. The only ones to blame are the ones who are making all the bad business decisions. Let Wanxiang know, that they had been fooled. Let a new team with better understanding of the product and better appreciation of the company's take things to the next level.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Un-enriching Experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at A123 Systems full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Challenging work environment. You will learn a lot because you'll be doing 5 people's jobs at once.

    Cons

    Not what I had hoped for. Very poor benefits as of September 2013. Employees that are left are just "skating" by doing minimal work. Extremely poor attitudes all around. No incentives for current employees to stay and no incentives for new employees to come to A123.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Failed management team that lacks ethics, direction and ability to lead. Continue to lose customers and employees."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at A123 Systems full-time

    Pros

    Technology is new and interesting. Some good employees left, but they are all looking working on exit strategy. Lack of management allows employees to work on resumes during work hours during ultra-flex hours.

    Cons

    Company is in process of transferring technology and manufacturing oversees to China. Attrition has been ongoing before and since bankruptcy with no active plan for retainment. Poor management has accelerated this bleed out, and has produced zero new business, while losing customers in the process. Reduced benefits, zero perks, deteriorating office culture will not attract good employees, if any. This is painfully apparent, as completing projects are increasing more difficult to complete, due to lack of support from other departments.

    Advice to Management

    You have failed in all aspects in your role, despite however you try to spin it. Own up to it, acknowledge your failure and look to the employees to truly support a renewed effort to turn the ship. Alternatively, step aside and allow another team to make something of the company.

    But if you are planning on gutting out the company to transfer IP, technology, manufacturing, profit and jobs to China, by all means, carry on and keep the course steady!



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