Core Team

John W. Henke, Jr., Ph.D.


John W. Henke , Ph.D., is President of Planning Perspectives, Inc. , a management consulting firm based in Birmingham, MI , Professor Emeritus of Marketing in the School of Business Administration at Oakland University, Rochester, MI., and Research Fellow at The Center for Supply Chain Management, Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ.

Prior to joining the academic community, he held sales and marketing management positions during a 15-year period with several firms, including IBM and the Automotive Division of General Automation, an international manufacturer of automated industrial systems. He has continued his association with the business world as President of Planning Perspectives , a firm he founded that specializes in helping companies understand and improve their supplier working relations. In this capacity, he has worked with dozens of companies across 18 industries including General Motors, Toyota, Boeing, BP, Cisco Systems, GE Healthcare, Hilti, Mars, Rolls Royce Aerospace and many others. See Our Clients for a complete list.

Under Henke’s direction, Planning Perspectives conducts an annual proprietary study – the North American Automotive OEM-Tier 1 Supplier Working Relations Index ® Study – which evaluates and ranks the working relations of the six major North American automakers [FCA (formerly Chrysler), Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota] with their Tier 1 suppliers. The Study’s annual Working Relations Index® (WRI®) has become the benchmark measure of OEM-supplier working relations in the automotive industry. Now in its 17th year, the study is highly anticipated each year by the automotive community, and the financial and business news media.

In 2014, Henke and his team concluded a new study that analyzed and determined the financial impact of each OEM’s supplier relations, as measured by their WRI ® rating. This ground-breaking work showed that a supplier’s price concession contribution – and especially the supplier’s non-price contributions (new technology sharing, etc.) — contribute significantly to an automaker’s profits. These findings proved for the first time that the quality of a company’s supplier relations has a direct causal impact on a company’s profits.

Henke has given numerous presentations in the United States, Europe, and Japan on supplier relations and purchasing management topics. He is widely published in academic and professional journals such as the Sloan Management Review, Journal of Operations Management, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Sciences, Marketing Letters, Industrial Marketing Management and numerous others.

He holds a B.A. (physics) from Eastern Michigan University, a M.S. (radiological physics) from Cornell University, and a M.B.A. (Advanced Management Program) and Ph.D. (marketing) from Michigan State University. While at Cornell he was the recipient of a Sloan-Kettering Fellowship. He has also received several automotive industry research grants from the MIT International Motor Vehicle Program.

B. Vera Ruseckas

Vice President

Vera Ruseckas is Vice President of Planning Perspectives, Inc. Prior to joining PPI, Ms. Ruseckas had over 30 years of experience working in a variety of leadership positions at Ford Motor Company and Visteon Corporation. In her last position as Director of Global Operations for the Visteon Service Parts Business Group she was responsible for a diverse set of activities dealing globally with OEM service parts and aftermarket parts. Ms. Ruseckas also served on a number of senior Visteon corporate committees, many of which focused on effectively integrating processes, people, and technology.

At Ford, Ms. Ruseckas held a variety of positions across a broad range of functions. These positions included strategy and management assignments in Information Technology, Customer and Business Support Centers, Fleet vehicle order forecasting, and vehicle order-to-delivery support.

At PPI Ms. Ruseckas oversees all business processes associated with the development and implementation of client surveys and client report preparation. She has also created a network of translators that permit client surveys to be implemented in multiple languages. In addition, Ms. Ruseckas is responsible for the selection of hardware and software technology necessary for the development and implementation of large-scale surveys and the selection of in-house office technology and support.

During the initial stages of working with a PPI client, Ms. Ruseckas is the primary client contact to ensure the client contact list for any required surveys conforms to the PPI-required information format, while also coordinating with the client all aspects of questionnaire development and implementation.
Ms. Ruseckas works closely with Dr. John Henke in providing input and support for PPI’s promotional and marketing material, as well as for Dr. Henke’s client and other Presentations.

Ms. Ruseckas has a B.A. in Mathematics from Wayne State University. She also received an M.B.A. from Wayne State University with induction into Beta Gamma Sigma, the National Business Honor Society, and has completed all course requirements for a M.A. in Liberal Studies at Oakland University.

Shen Yeniyurt

Vice President Research

Shen Yeniyurt, Ph.D., is Vice President for Research at Planning Perspectives, Inc. and a Chancellor’s Scholar and an Associate Professor at Rutgers Business School. He currently serves as the founding Co-Editor-in-Chief of Rutgers Business Review (RBR). RBR is a new Rutgers-based journal whose mission is to advance thought leadership in the business world by publishing articles that combine academic rigor with practical relevance.

Yeniyurt has an outstanding interdisciplinary research record. In his research, Dr. Yeniyurt studies market strategies using econometric models and bridges multiple disciplines including: marketing, supply chain management, innovation management, and international business. His research has been published in top journals in each of these disciplines and addresses a variety of topics, including global market strategies, new product development and launch, brand management, supply chain strategies, supplier relationship management, and inter-firm networks. Journals that have published his work include Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management, International Business Review, Marketing Letters, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Industrial Marketing Management, and Journal of Product Innovation Management.

The impact of his research is evidenced by the many citations, awards, and media mentions he received. His research has been recognized by the Rutgers Business School where he received the Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award in 2011 and the Dean’s Award for Meritorious Research in 2010. Over the last few years, his work has been mentioned in Forbes, IB Times, and has occurred often in a variety of articles distributed by PR Newswire. He frequently organizes and teaches in executive training and professional certificate programs.

Dr. Yeniyurt has conducted research and provided expert consultation for companies such as Bridgestone, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Lockheed Martin, and Toyota.

He has a B.S. (Industrial Engineering) from Istanbul Technical University, a M.B.A. from Bogazici University (Istanbul), and a Ph.D. (Marketing ) from Michigan State University. He has been the recipient of several automotive industry research grants from the MIT International Motor Vehicle Program.

Huiqun Xu

Research Manager and Senior Statistician

Prior to joining PPI, Ms. Xu accumulated both academic and professional experience across a wide range of the quantitative sciences. As an expert in database management and statistics, she was previously a statistical analyst at the Research Center of William Beaumont Hospital. Along with her work in these applied fields and her in depth knowledge of pure mathematics, she was a lecturer for a variety of math courses at Wayne State University.

Ms. Xu has extensive experience building and manipulating databases, providing analytic support, performing data analyses, project management/coordination, and helping create reports of detailed findings. She also creates and manages online surveys, as well as collects the survey data for analysis to better understand the working relations between companies and their suppliers. Ms. Xu also assists Professor Henke in academic research.

These experiences have given her expertise in statistical and database software such as SPSS, SAS, Excel, AMOS, and SQL. She is also proficient in programming in Visual Basic, HTML, and Perl.

Her educational background includes a B.S. in mathematics in Zhejiang, China, and two M.S. degrees, one in statistics and one in computer science from Wayne State University.

Robert J. Ahrens

Senior Consultant

Mr. Ahrens brings a broad and rich background in global market research and marketing from his extensive corporate experience. Through a wide array of research and marketing-related assignments over a 30-year business career, he has developed a deep understanding of market research and its application to marketing issues. He has been involved in market research activities in a variety of marketing positions, including marketing management, marketing strategy, business planning, joint ventures, new product development, sales promotion and training, and market intelligence for both whole goods and aftermarket parts.

Mr. Ahrens has worked on corporate staffs and at the operating levels at Caterpillar, Cummins, Colt Industries, Ford Motor, and Visteon Corporation. Mr. Ahrens’ last responsibilities, before joining PPI included managing custom research for advanced vehicles at Ford’s Market Research Office, and revitalizing the market research function at Visteon.

He received a B.A. in marketing from Michigan State University and has completed M.A. studies at New York University.

Dani Douglas

Art Director/Operations Manager

Ms. Douglas came to PPI with a broad background in graphic arts, working previously as an in-house designer and prepress technician in the packaging industry. Over the years she has developed an extensive portfolio as a designer, animator, and gallery artist. She plays an integral role at PPI, designing and creating reports and presentations for both print and digital formats. In this capacity, she applies her academic education and creativity to illustrate PPI’s client reports and presentations, as well as Dr. Henke’s public presentations at universities and conferences. She is also responsible for the identity system for PPI and manages PPI’s website.

In her capacity as Operations Manager, Ms. Douglas’ duties include a little bit of everything: the day-to-day logistics of the office, maintaining and organizing files, creating Excel reports and PowerPoint presentations for clients, and anything and everything needed to keep the office running smoothly and efficiently.

She is a graduate of the College for Creative Studies with a Bachelors in Fine Art and a Masters of Science in Technology from Purdue University.

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