How's TSG?

Discussion in 'UPS Information Technology' started by freeloader, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. freeloader

    freeloader geek

    Hey guys, I've been reading the threads and I'm just curious as to the current state of TSG.

    I worked at UPS for almost 20 years, 7 in TSG. Then about a year ago I was let go. I have to say since then I haven't looked back and even though leaving UPS wasn't on my terms, I don't regret it at all.

    I do believe the future existence of TSG is doubtful. I questioned the future of TSG and I believe that is one of the reasons why I was let go. Being one of the most senior techs and highest paid also was a factor I'm sure.

    Anyways, here are the red flags for me that TSG was being scrutinized. Not that I was aware of them at the time, but hindsight is always 20/20:

    1) Moving from GKB to HDFS was one of the first signs. As much money as they spent on HDFS along with the time and effort spent fine tuning it to their needs, it should have been obvious where things were heading. HDFS tracked everything about a ticket - time spent, miles, expenses, etc.

    2) The next thing that came along was PMT. Nothing more than management's way to micromanage the hell out of everyone without having to get out of their chair. Not to mention taking number chasing to a whole new level. With PMT, being proactive no longer paid off. It was better to be reactive because you so needed the work to fill your day. Proactivity would just hurt you in the long run. I could rant about PMT for days but it's not necessary - I'm sure everyone feels the same way.

    3) Then the TSC's starting shutting down. At that point I started to worry a little bit.

    4) Then the first round of TSG layoff's came but our district was safe. At that point I decided I needed to do something very soon. I started working on my resume and trying to put my experience to paper. Even though I passed the MAPP process I did not want to end up wasting my technical ability in some IE or operations job. I asked by boss about buyouts and said I was willing to take one. Maybe I went out too far on a limb there, but I was trying to get a sense of the future of TSG but they weren't biting at all. I put my resume out and did a few phone interviews but no job offers.

    What I discovered was my TSG experience was nothing in the outside world. The only thing we really had to troubleshoot was hardware. Any software issues were resolved by ... rebuild baby. A set of DS CD's could get you out of any software issue. The only other experience of value was project management and that was a push.

    Guys, the experience you have in TSG means very little to the outside (real) world. So my advice whoever is left in TSG - self develop. Learn as much as you can.

    One of my old managers whom I still respect, told me to put my resume out once a year (he said he did the same thing). Just to see what you are worth. I never did but I wish I had. It would have opened my eyes to my skills at UPS vs the skills in the real technical world.

    I just have a couple questions for anyone still in TSG:

    2005 was A+, 2006 was Network+. What are the certs they are making you get in 2007 and 2008?

    How have the layoffs been going? Is a round of layoffs announced every January?

    How many TSC's are left?

    Just one more thing. This proposed contract for the Teamsters probably will get rejected. This will cause UPS customers to divert to other carriers and begin to hurt the bottom line. Once that happens, UPS will start trimming more and more jobs beginning with non-union administrative/technical.
  2. nerrollus

    nerrollus New Member

    It's worse than it ever has been ... All the guys I work with are fairly certain that TSG will be brought down to 1-2 guys that come in to handle builds and major upgrades. The rest will all be left to the users and the helpdesk(s).

    We haven't had to get any more certifications. They made us get the A+, started to make us get the NET+, but dropped it. Nothing more has come from that.

    They haven't done anymore layoffs that I've heard of, but they're doing their best to run people off and not replace them. Why pay someone to leave, when they can just make their life a living hell and basically force them out? We've lost 2/3rds of our department since all this started and they're still saying we're over staffed. Yet the systems we have to support keep growing... go figure.

    Still just the 1 TSC at Las Vegas. I still think 99% of the people there suffer some kind of brain damage.

    As i said above ... We already think our department will be brought down to only 1, maybe 2 techs if not done away with completely. They're already having IE and the users do upgrades and DISPO equipment. Seems like every few weeks they take away more responsiblity from us and make it harder to do our jobs. I really hope that it comes back to bit them in the ass some day. I truely do ...

    What I wouldn't give to be able to join the union or form one of our own. They act like we're worthless and not needed, but I'd like to see how smooth that place runs when all the tech staff walk out...
  3. freeloader

    freeloader geek

    I had heard of this website a few years ago but I never knew there was a forum for TSG/TSC/IS. This is great because I thought I was alone feeling the way I did. It is great to see that there are others out there that had the same struggle that I had.

    Originally I was a UPS lifer. I planned to stay there until I retired. I encouraged my co-workers to stay if they ever brought up quitting. As PMT, HDFS and automation came along I started to read between the lines. Now I am telling my old co-workers to get the hell out of there. I am not sure what things are like since I left a year ago. I do know that they are assigning TSG managers two districts now and I really wouldn't be surprised if January 2008 brings more cuts. With the contract hanging in the balance UPS will be looking to cut costs.

    Regarding the layoffs and people going to other positions. As a technical person, I wouldn't want to take another position if it wasn't technical. Why would I want to be a driver, operator or whatever when my specialty lies in technology? I would have rather quit (or take the buyout) if I was put in that position.

    Someone mentioned opportunities in corporate IS back in the Summer of 2006. I heard about this and considered doing it. My boss said they were looking to recruit some district TSG to be moved to corporate IS. I decided not to do it because of the cold weather and insane cost of living that exists in NJ. I also was told that the consolidated TSC in Nevada was looking for supervisors. I declined to pursue that as well. I know the new TSC probably needed the staffing and management, but I have always wondered what prompted the corporate IS recruitment to district TSG. I had never seen anything like that offered before and just thought it was very strange - almost too good to be true. Does anyone know what became of that recruitment?
  4. Lazarus

    Lazarus New Member

    I remember the transfer offers but no one here took it.

    I am also conserned by the reduction of WorldShip support logs. It seems that we only get sev 2s at the end of the day 15min before the end of our day and overtime is not an option.

    Management keeps saying we are over staffed. I wonder if some cuts are coming down the pipe in January.

    PMT sucks and in some other districts techs are getting written up for mistakes.
  5. freeloader

    freeloader geek

    There used to be lots of external techs in our district, sometimes 2 per building a few years ago when Worldship first came out. Once they saturated all the shippers with Worldship then the number of techs slowly started dwindling to what it is today. I think there was only 2 techs that ONLY did external work, the rest of the external work (which wasn't very much) was given to the internal techs. The big red flag for that was when UPS stopped giving out hardware and just gave the customers money to buy their own, thus relieving UPS the burden of supporting the hardware anymore.

    PMT was a nightmare in our district. We got the morning emails showing who planned (AKA padded) their 6.5 hours for the day and who didn't. It was a constant number chase throughout the month in order to try to look good on the almighty BSC. I don't think our district ever made the top 10.

    To me PMT was a setup to justify getting rid of people. I do understand that business is business and sometimes that has to happen. But it also has to be understood that the TSG function is not a standard function that justifies its existence by being busy all the time. Being busy means things are broke and we have not done a good job of being proactive. Sitting around admiring how smoothly your network is running means you have done a good job being proactive and are simply reaping the benefits of your hard work. UPS will never realize that simply because they are a company that demands visible productivity all of the time from everyone.
  6. 10thLetter

    10thLetter New Member

    You could not have made a better decision to get out. The real world of IT is a much better place to be. I can only hope that the reign of the "real" 10th Letter ends before he destroys a lot of good people. Get out while you can, there's nothing that's going to get better.
    I just couldn't learn how to be a good monkey.
  7. 10thLetter

    10thLetter New Member

    The lack of posts by current TSG should be a good indication of how their spirit has been broken. The first round of layoffs brought a firestorm of posts, but now there is hardly a trickle. Are they resigned to their fate or are they fearful of stirring the pot. I had my X year run in TSG and the people there were some of the best I've met.
    Motto of the real 10th Letter: "Just Flush I.T."
  8. Lazarus

    Lazarus New Member

    Currently I like being the only over 10 year tech in external. I am able to tell them what days i am taking off and take advantage of my seniority. I am planning to take 6 weeks paid family leave next year. I would not want to try to pull that at a new job. Maybe job hunt while on leave.

    On another note:
    My jobs have been changing so much lately its been ridiculous. I requested to go internal TSG for something different. I was there for less than 6 months. I was first asked to leave one facility to go to the D.O. I said no. Then I was told to. Then less than 3 months after that I was sent back to External. Now I am programming for CrossWare. Its been crazy the last 2 years.
  9. freeloader

    freeloader geek

    I admit I do miss the 4 weeks vacation and being one of the most senior guys in the dept was nice.

    But life after UPS is treating me well. I might not have those 4 weeks of vacation and tons of seniority, but I am very happy where I am. I work for a software company, on the 7th floor with a nice view of the Gulf. I enjoy the luxuries of covered parking, casual work environment, and an xbox 360 in the break room. We watch movies one day a week and talk about WOW all day long. My job consists of troubleshooting Exchange issues and reproducing them on my test network of VM's. The money isn't quite was I was pulling in at UPS but the relaxed environment more than makes up for it. Plus I have opportunities here which I didn't have at UPS.

    All you current UPSers, I'd keep a watchful eye on that Teamsters contract. If the members vote it down, there will probably be more bad news in the future.
  10. techie

    techie Guest

    Well i'm glad i checked this out. All of you are so on the money. The micromanagement that began with HDFS and PMT, said it all, they turned our dept., into the our functions, a numbers operation, what a waste of time. Our function is SUPPORT, you support the issues that arise. I don't have ESP so that i can plan what problems are going to happen, hell if i knew that i would fix it before it became a problem.

    What's really funny is that both HDFS and PMT are so easily manipulated, as a TSG tech we have admin rights and since both HDFS and PMT utilize the current computer date and time to close, all you would have to do is change the local date and time and low-and-behold you would never miss an SLA or any PMT crap again.

    Things do look bleak, our district is starting to incorporate SCS sites and they are going to help support external, I saw that one coming way back when they made them UPSERS. The writing on the wall prompted me to get my bachelors and several microsoft certifications for developing and DBA. I too am a tech with a lot of seniority, the 4 weeks is cool, but i too agree with all of you, get out. GET OUT while you can, i'm currently looking elsewhere, as the career path for I.T. is so lacking at UPS. Who wants to be stuck in the I.E.(idiot for everything) dept., and lose all those I.T. skills. Anyone can be in the other depts, but not just anyone can function successfully in I.T.

    There are also rumors regarding a buy out coming in early 2008, not sure if it's going to be offered to techs, plus there is also another rumor about the retirement plan being switched to a cash value plan, which really stinks because i was trying hard to make it to 20 and then leave.

    I'm hoping that we will get offered the buy out, at least leave with something in my pocket. We'll see....
  11. 10thLetter

    10thLetter New Member

    When I think back on how the TSC/TSG layoffs went down, I can only say to get out when you can. They showed no loyalty to those that that were let go. Read back on the early posts to get a good sense of how things went down. Very few open positions made availlable, no rehire, no transfers. Just out the door.
    I wasted two years hoping for a buyout at another company only to walk out the door. One of the best things I had done.
    Fast forward to TSG. Great job, great people living on the edge and getting it done. Bring in HDFS and PMT. The wheels come off and the bus crashes. Friends turn on each other as we all go into survival mode. The end of good times came quickly. Who needs morale when you can micro-manage to the minute. I loved getting the nasty report every morning showing how bad you or your fellow employees did the day before.
    The day I left I didn't say goodbye to any one. As I walked out I'm sure they didn't know why I was grinning. Sure, I take care of that as soon as you open a log. Sure, first thing tomorrow. Ha ha ha.....
  12. fastgeorge

    fastgeorge New Member

    Germany TSG View

    I am from TSG Germany. Want to write of our TSG experience from Germany.
    About PMT, HDFS ans SSOs:
    Since HDFS and then PMT had been put into effect we did not want to do it. But our manager told us, that filling out this PMT correctly would save our jobs. "the one who writes stays". Thus we did.
    But then in January 2007 the boss of the Europe Region TSG Manager (name forgotten) went to Germany and stated: For every 100 PCs in the district (by TIVOLI count) there is allowed 1 TSG Tech. For every 10 Techs 1 Supervisor. Thus as first action 2 Sups had to be remooved and the first 3 Techs had to go. (info: in germany you cannot simply kick your staff. Not as easy as in the states)
    So, it did not matter what you put onto PMT or HDFS. That did not count. Just the numbers. So much PCs so much TSG Staff.
    Since then we in germany do not insist on Self Service Orders. If a user (rare case) fills out such a SSO then OK. But if a user does not, then we do not care. As what we record is not in any way considered as "we do our job".

    Now as in germany staff cannot be simply kicked they try a different strategy. The more the TSG staff reduces itself, the cheaper it is for the company. Now e.g. the order TSG to "dedust" patch cabinets and patch cables. Like we would be professional Cleaners. Or do other completely stupid things.

    But that does not work.

    By the way: Even if the company (or some managers from that company) want to get rid of some or all TSG, sooner or later the company will know (the easy or the hard way) that the company depends on 2 major things (aside from the staff): oil and IT. But nowadays it looks like that the Company wants to learn it the hard way.

  13. Iwannagoatee

    Iwannagoatee New Member

    I've been with TSG for 10 years June and agree that things are def. not going in a direction that is good for TSGers.
    Things that I agree with from previous posts...
    1) Stinks that we have no forward path besides management. I've had management experience at previous jobs and enjoyed it, but I have no interest in being a pre-load sup or HR or IE. I am a geek through and through and think there should be some path for us.
    2) Layoffs, we've not had any actual layoffs locally... yet. We were told to get rid of 3 people and we had one get "fired", one take a management position and 1 that took a lateral move into IE. Nice of them to let us all keep our jobs (minus the fired person, but that wasn't due to the layoffs)., but they say we are still a little fat. We'll see.
    3) Numbers game... Wow, is it bad... the latest is the planned/completed day B.S. Where is the incentive to get work done as efficiently as you can if you get penalized for going into the next days "planned" work. Our function is to support people, not search after some arbitrary numbers that seem to change weekly and get more restrictive every time.
    4) FastGeorge... I assume you guys already do this, but if the staffing is based on tivoli numbers of PC's then the only thing to do is have every PC possible on the network. All spares, anything that is growing old... as long as it can get all the updates, leave it on the network. (Hidden, of course, during assessment time.)
    5) Money: I have been searching for other employment for quite a while... more passively than actively until the layoffs started, but what it made me realize is that we, as a group, know nothing! I agree that we have to self-develop if we want to have ANY chance out there. Just look at the want adds, I see lots of jobs where I am, doing what we do... only it is at a 20K cut in pay. It's not until you have real certs, and/or other experiences that you can get a job outside of UPS paying what we make. The greatest thing that UPS has for us is the free $5250 for certs/education. USE IT EVERY YEAR!!!
    Management thoughts:
    I was talking to my manager and he explained a few things that made me understand a little bit better...
    1) The "bigwigs" get calls weekly/daily from outsourcing companies that want to take our jobs. They say they can out-troubleshoot, out certify, out everything our in-house Technology group does, but at a cost less than what they pay us. So, how does TSG respond? By trying to get data showing what we do... in detail. That is the reason for PMT, and for HDFS. Now, the planning, the completed/actual, whatever the next new data set is... Most of those don't make any sense... Just get the data you need to show that, yes... we do a job, and we do it efficiently and well. After that, leave TSG to do what TSG does best.
    2) That also is the reason push for the A+ and the Net+. All the company's that are knocking on the door are saying that they have this percentage of A+ and this percentage of Net+ etc. etc. So Management responded by saying that we can get those certs, another way to head off the competition.

    Has anyone heard of a rumor about the TSG function being switched to SCS? I heard that floating around about 6 months ago and haven't heard anything since...

    And final thought... Why can't technicians have goatees!?!?!? Drivers are drivers. Let TSG have it's own culture and look.
  14. Ex-TSG

    Ex-TSG Guest

    Man... Reading this posts depresses the h&*ll out of me. About myself: I quit TSG in June of 07 to take a job in a different industry in another state because I could see the handwriting on the wall for TSG and IS support in general for good old Big Brown. I had 15 yrs experience with UPS and 10 yrs in TSG and can honestly say quitting was the greatest decision workwise I have ever made. I make less money now(but not A LOT less) and am the happiest I have been since UPS first went public with their stock and began grinding their employees into the ground( for the stockholders of course.......) nothing personal folks.... Don't feel bad about erroding morale,ridiculous number crunching by beancounters that do not have a clue about ANY facet of UPS business be it TSG,Driving,Sorting, etc. My former TSG partner at UPS has just given his notice also and he was the best tech I have ever worked with and do you know what our manager(not our sup)said to him. That him pursuing other opportunities was probably "a very wise thing to do". I had hoped they would freak when he put his notice in and was curious how they would act and this response speaks VOLUMES to what is ahead for you that are still left. PLEASE FOLKS!!! WAKE UP!!!!! Do not act like mindless lemmings about to be driven off a cliff!!!! What does it take for you guys to realize what is about to take place(I figure early Jan/Feb 08). Please think of yourselves and your families and prepare. May God Bless each of you and your families.... And curse this rotten greedy company that has truly forgotten who made them successful to begin with.
  15. Iwannagoatee

    Iwannagoatee New Member

    We are one of the UPS facilities that are being "consolidated" here in Raleigh, NC... and I gotta say, they did it as back-a$$ward$ as they possibly can. They are going purely by seniority... That means that we have some Tech1's out there that have no desire to learn, progress, etc. that are keeping there jobs and people who became T2's that are loosing their jobs. This makes NO sense!
    Luckily I am not one of the 3-4 people being laid off, but even at 10 years this summer, I am next on the chopping block if they decide to Lay Off 1 more person.

    Yup... it's serious time to put the resume out.
  16. ImpactedTSG

    ImpactedTSG New Member

    Is this country wide or just in your district? I knew it was a matter of time before more layoffs would happen. In 5 years there will be no TSG. The full time sups will swap hardware out and power on the new one. After that all administration will be done remotely.
  17. Dfigtree

    Dfigtree New Member

    After that all administration will be done remotely

    From where? By whom? Is it in the shreholders best interest?

    D Harry
  18. ImpactedTSG

    ImpactedTSG New Member

    Atlanta or NJ I would guess. No offense, but are you familiar with a lot of the new technologies out there? SCCM? VNC? RIS? Ardence/Citrix? Operating systems can be deployed by simply booting up a PC. All you have to do is enable PXE boot and boot the PC. If you know the MAC address, you can deploy the OS over the network. This will eliminate the need to pay the TSG techs to swap CDs while the OS loads. If you can use Netop or whatever UPS is using now to connect to a remote center, why can't that be done from a central location? Is is in the best interest of the shareholders? I would think eliminating a huge amount of salary, benefits, and pension would be in the interest of the shareholders.
  19. UPS eliminated a huge amount of salary, pension, and benefits when I retired!

    Its nice to see UPS doing everything possible to automate systems management, but when something goes wrong, what will be the mean time to get it fixed and how will that impact the ops. I would love to see the relaibility derivatives.

    Go UPS!
  20. freeloader

    freeloader geek

    I was aware of emerging technologies when I worked at UPS, but UPS is so proprietary and locked down that you cannot even think about dabbling into that kind of stuff unless you do it completely on your own. Try creating your own test domain or build some VM's and see how long you last. The UPS technical environment is completely different than what's really out there in the real world. Taking a look back, I feel like I wasted my time at UPS because nothing I learned there got me anywhere in the real world. Sure I got paid alot and got good benefits, but when I left UPS I had to almost start completely over in the technical arena. All the stuff that comes down to TSG from corporate has already been tested, automated and scripted to perfection in a test environment so there is practically no way that it can be screwed up. And when you do encounter a problem? Call ICS, they'll take over.

    What is happening to TSG is sad, but with automation and remoting, it is inevitable.