SAFT Reviews | Glassdoor

SAFT Reviews

Updated February 28, 2017
32 reviews

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John Searle
8 Ratings

32 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Program Management Intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Program Management Intern in Cockeysville, MD
    Former Employee - Program Management Intern in Cockeysville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SAFT (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Overall a pretty fun work environment... everyone is friendly and helpful (minus a few employees), work schedule was pretty relaxed (40 hours per week, but daily hours weren't set in stone), and received 1.5 pay for overtime.
    As an intern I learned a lot and witnessed a lot of very cool projects. However, because of the work that Saft does, the tasks for interns tend to be somewhat basic and low risk (which is pretty much expected anywhere).

    Cons

    It is very difficult to get hired unless you know someone in the company. Most of the interns have a parent working there. I was fortunate enough to get the job by knowing a guy who used to work there and he connected me to the current engineering manager.
    Also, I was contacted by Saft for the first time only a week before I started my internship. The hiring process was quick but it felt too rushed for me. On the other hand I wasn't even interviewed before being offered the job, which is guess is a pro.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Production team member"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Team Member in Jacksonville, FL
    Former Employee - Production Team Member in Jacksonville, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at SAFT full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    good pay awesome benefits, nice facilities

    Cons

    Team leads have favorites that can do no wrong, If they don't like you for any reason, personally or professionally, they find a way to get you fired. Most of the supervisors are pretty easy to get along with, you have an idea to help production they will listen and encourage you but as soon as it gets passed on to team leads it becomes a bad idea because they did not come up with it. Managers seemed to be job scared all the time and take shortcuts to accomplish goals in timely manner, constantly changing procedures and always looking to blame someone else. HR is awesome always willing to help the associates out whenever possible. As for associates, they operate on a bully mentality, They become friends with team leads then think they are covered. one team member refuses to wear PPE all the time as required however team lead will not do anything about it as they are smoking buddies. Another team member tried to pick a fit when they were reported for walking off while leaving their operating equipment running unattended but again Team Lead covered his smoking buddies. One operator refuses to train people assign to them for training resulting in the new member getting let go because they are not learning fast enough.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of bullies, ensure team leads do there job or get rid of them, get engineers that listen to the production members when they have issues or possible solutions.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "mismanaged"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer in Jacksonville, FL
    Former Employee - Engineer in Jacksonville, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SAFT full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    decent salary, decent benefit, workers are hardworking, knowledgeable, qualified

    Cons

    management levels do not communicate with each other; lack of product testing before production leading to failures, blaming the lower level employees, no accountability, too many great employees cut to manage 'budget'

    Advice to Management

    learn what each department is supposed to be doing, respect the employees in those departments, and hire a new top manager who knows how to manage from the top down, no micro managers and have accountability....those at the bottom are only as good as those at the top...


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  5. Helpful (5)

    "Don't Drink The Saft Kool-Aid - This Plant Will Be Closing Soon"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Manufacturing Engineer in Jacksonville, FL
    Former Employee - Manufacturing Engineer in Jacksonville, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at SAFT full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The pant is clean and safe.
    Most of the staff level associates were helpful and professional
    Decent wages and benefits

    Cons

    I worked at Saft Jacksonville for 2-1/2 years and as a Manufacturing Engineer I came there with over 25 years of experience in fast paced high-tech businesses. I will only comment on the cell manufacturing areas of the plant, which is the heart of the plant where I worked daily. Without reliable cell manufacturing the rest of the plant quickly comes to a grinding halt.

    Although I had some good experiences and felt like I accomplished many things while at Saft, I have also read many reviews and basically agree with the negative reviews that exist for the Saft Jacksonville plant on Glassdoor. They are written from many different perspectives but all carry a common theme. These reviews are written to try and help prevent you from making a future bad career choice (short lived employment) that can haunt you for many years when you have to look for a new job.
    I will also state that there were many skilled, talented, knowledgeable, and cooperative people in every department at Saft who I worked with daily. However many times there was too much “smart people outsmarting each other in the conference room” and relying on modern text book problem solving methodologies and not enough “what can I do to physically (actual work) to help you identify and solve this problem” when it came to identifying and executing a problem solving plan. Structured problem solving has its place and is very useful when you have time, resources, management commitment and participation, and a realistic plan, but it was a worn out theme that certain managers defaulted to far too often in an effort to feel like they were “spearheading the charge” to solve the issue. Many times it only hindered and even destroyed the spirit or will for the staff to take on extra responsibility because of the time required to jump thru all of the hoops, and check off the boxes just to make a simple and controlled change that carried little to no risk.

    So if you work in Accounting, HR, Shipping and Receiving, or some other area of the plant that is not accountable or responsible for the actual daily production of product then maybe your job at Saft is good and rewarding, but you do not have any idea of the countless crippling issues that exist in the cell manufacturing area. Only a person who has spent hundreds of hours investigating, identifying, and trying to resolve poor product design and reliability issues, poor supplier quality issues, unreliable equipment performance issues, equipment capability issues, equipment upkeep and maintenance challenges, and equipment operator performance and compliance related issues knows the real challenges that exist. It is too bad that the CEO decided to fire most all of the experienced manufacturing staff level engineers, managers and some other people in high profile support positions, except for his own son who was recently hired in mid 2016 and is still employed there as an “engineer”, because now there is basically no one left that has the ability to investigate, understand, and lead the effort to correct the countless issues that have plagued this cell manufacturing operation from its inception in 2011.
    No amount of threatening, firing, and re-hiring different people will change the issues. In fact I would consider it industrial suicide to make such sweeping changes in such a short time frame with no real plan to back-fill the positions with more resources. It is a stall tactic to divert attention from the many fundamental underlying issues that are unsolvable in the near term with out a technical and financial commitment that is very expensive and time consuming to implement, both of which are not on Saft’s radar. It will take any person assigned to any of the cell manufacturing areas many months to grasp some of what is going on and even longer to implement and execute a plan to correct some of the issues.
    I am confident the real reason to the termination of so many key people and gut the manufacturing area of skilled people is a result of the recent acquisition of Saft by Total (large French energy company) and the terms and conditions of that deal that were underway for as far back as at least 2014-2015. So current lack of business = no revenue so slow the financial bleeding thru less headcount. Economics 101.

    I have been on the short end of the employment stick when once-thriving and stable manufacturing plants get into financial trouble for various reasons and close for good at my last four consecutive positions going back to 2003 so I speak from experience and I have seen what types of activity occurs before the door is closed for good. In my opinion, Saft Jacksonville is only open to this day to meet the terms and condition that they had to agree to get all of the free land, tax breaks, and local, county, state, and federal monies offered by Obama’s energy incentive plans (we are talking hundreds of million of dollars). The CEO even stated that “Saft was at a low point but needed to meet their obligations to the city of Jacksonville” to a good friend of mine during a brief public encounter and conversation about the state of Saft back in Dec 2016.
    Saft has lost millions for may reasons in the years they have been operational and since Saft’s main customer now is no longer is interested in buying products from them there is no demand for production of cells so why pay the salary of dozens of highly skilled engineers and managers of these areas as well as people in other support roles. They are keeping just enough employees to meet their “obligations” just long enough so they there is no repayment due for not meeting the “terms and conditions” related to all of the free monies and land.
    I am sadly confident once the timeline is reached for compliance to the terms and conditions for all of the hand outs and freebies, there will be some bad news for the people who remain there. If you are at Saft Jacksonville I would state that now is a great time to plan your exit strategy as the terminations continued all the way thru 2016 and there should be no reason to believe that the situation can or will improve in 2017.

    This is a classic example of a company taking advantage of lots of “free” money and “free” land and buying pricey high tech equipment and getting it installed and operational as fast as possible and in this case while also trying to develop and perfect a reliable and successful complicated future high tech energy storage product at the same time. However it did NOT succeed in doing so and at the end of the day they can and will simply close the plant, sell off the assets or move them someplace else, take the tax write off, and take the lessons learned and maybe try again someday at a different plant in a different country (France?) to make a more reliable and manufacturable product.
    As the story goes…
    Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king's horses
    And all the king's men
    Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty
    Together again.

    Not even Donald Trump can save poor “Humpty”

    Advice to Management

    Far too late for advice as the damage has already been done.


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Poor culture, favoritism and corporate bullies. Don't work here."

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

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

    Pros

    None. Unless you like being constantly told you're worthless and devalued, while working 14 hour days, 7 days a week, in a dictator-like culture.

    Cons

    The company overall may be great, but working at Jacksonville location, you'd never know. Even though the building and equipment is modern and glamorous, you'll find yourself shaking your head wondering how you stepped back into the work practices of the 50's.

    If you want "job security" here, keep quiet, follow the CEO's marching orders, brownnose the corporate bullies who sit there, and don't "offend" toxic, gossiping and dramatic employees by trying to help them become better team players and leaders.

    Fair warning, if you are a high performing leader, with a track record of success across companies, and an extensive network of admiring colleagues, don't work here. They'll tell you they need people who can help turn around a plant losing millions, then let you go the minute the CEO, or one of the favored few, doesn't agree with your suggestions for different ways of doing things, like reducing frivolous costs, increasing margins and coaching and empowering all employees. You can't do that here.

    Coincidentally, the CEO, his buddies and favorites, also the ones who have been with the company for years, and/or since the site began, are responsible for a history of failed product designs, cannibalizing margins, poor spending decisions and an energy-draining, stressful culture, causing the site to continuously bleed millions and lose customers. Everyone assumes it's the prior GMs' or Managers' fault, but it still continues...hmmm...could it be the corporate management at the site driving this behavior? Good luck to the new GM and Managers, although those may be someone else next week.

    Hopefully the bigger Saft and Total can quickly see that and removes the bad players, otherwise this site will be up for bid soon to another manufacturing company.

    Advice to Management

    To Saft leadership in France, get rid of the bullies quickly so they can stop protecting themselves by firing the people who could change things.

    To Total, pay attention. This doesn't seem like a culture your company wants. Take it over quickly before it bleeds more money and ruins its reputation in Jacksonville further.

    And finally, some frequent phrases overheard in Jacksonville to change:

    "I don't need anyone. I can run the place myself." - this is demotivating. Try encouraging people instead.

    "I'm not afraid to fire everyone and start over." - that's not working. Let people who are new have time to get acclimated, ensure they are getting direction from one person, not conflicting direction from 3-4, and let them implement the changes that need to be made.

    "I've fired my friends and I'll do it again." - fire them all, particularly the favorites. They aren't as good as you think they are and they're all replaceable. Then, don't make "friends" at work. It's a business. Be a good leader, which also means not fraternizing.

    "If my buddies don't like you, you'll be fired." - the buddies are the ones responsible for the issues. If they don't like someone, that's a good thing. It means that employee is creating necessary change to make the business profitable again.

    "We don't change just to change." - something has to change here. Be willing to listen, try new ideas and move the company into the 21st century. What worked 10, 20, 30 years ago isn't necessarily the best way to do things today. Try something different or continue to get the same results = none.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "What a joke"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Jacksonville, FL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Jacksonville, FL

    I have been working at SAFT full-time

    Pros

    The people who work on the floor are the best part of the plant

    Cons

    The management never listen and think the know what they are talking about. There are program managers who have no clue about batteries and make a fool of them self everyday. This could be a great place but need a back bone to speak up. They say that they are military friendly and promote within... crap.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the people who are doing the work and stop guessing


  8. Helpful (7)

    "Poor Management Ruins a Good Situation"

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

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

    Pros

    Working level folks (both salary and hourly) are knowledgeable and helpful. Good overall atmosphere. Compensation is OK. Lunchtime is honored and you rarely have noon meetings. 7% match of the 401(k) is nice. Fantastic relocation package (when it's offered). Understanding Lithium batteries is always a good resume line item.
    Recently the company was bought by Total, so many changes are potentially on the horizon.

    Cons

    Engineering management lacks direction and vision. Senior management doesn't appear to have a clue on how to run a profitable business. Everyone is left on their own to make decisions and everything is a last minute panic (often requiring domestic or international travel). This leads to a horribly run organization where rumors and emotion trump data and strategy. People mysteriously disappear because they upset someone and they are immediately let go (there is seldom second chances given to people to correct their behavior).
    Relocation package comes with a major hook (2+ years time served or repayment is expected).
    401(k) match doesn't become 25% vested until 2-2.5 years in (and 5-6 years before fully vested).
    No career path. Zero coaching by management. 1.5-2% annual raise is the norm.

    Advice to Management

    There are many talented people in this organization (people with 2 years or less in this organization), but clear that today's management knows nothing about being a leader. There is a major need to hire senior level people whom have been part of successful organizations. Promoting from within clearly isn't working. Treating people like the present regime does, they have, and will continue to have very high employee turnover. No one wants to work in chaos where management doesn't hesitate to cut/fire employees. Good employees leave, and terrible employees do just enough to go on unnoticed.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Chaos"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cockeysville, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cockeysville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at SAFT full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Big company with a small company feel. There are a lot of talented people here and nearly everyone is easy to get along with. There is always something new to learn and the technology is fascinating.

    Cons

    Senior management is incredibly poor at planning. We are in process of a major renovation and expansion and the so called management team has dumped the entire responsibility on a handful of people who are not only responsible for completing but actually doing all of the work. This is a project that most "NORMAL" companies would have hired a real construction company to perform. We routinely purchase equipment that doesn't fit, literally, or is not spec'ed properly to perform the intended purpose. Communication at all levels is just POOR! Planning is all, "SHOOT FROM THE HIP"

    Advice to Management

    Talk to each other, get input from the shop floor, stop the DO FIRST, THINK LATER way of project planning.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Loved the idea of the company. Poorly managed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Jacksonville, FL
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Jacksonville, FL
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SAFT full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The most automated plant I ever worked in. Lots to learn and plenty to grow in new skills and technology.

    Cons

    People are very poorly managed. Knee jerk reactions are the norm and people were put in places that they weren't able to fulfill.

    Advice to Management

    Be unbiased


  11. "VP Sales"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Vice President Sales in Valdosta, GA
    Current Employee - Vice President Sales in Valdosta, GA

    I have been working at SAFT (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good products, strong market position, good sales force

    Cons

    Weak management, poor overall strategy


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