Supply Chain Now Episode 504

“One of my favorite parts about Ford is being able to not only do what we do, but then step back and watch about how we give back to the community. It really warms my heart.”

– Rachel Cyranski, Program Control Analyst, Ford Motor Company


As a purchasing Program Control Analyst at Ford Motor Company, Rachel Cyranski has the opportunity to see vehicle designs from plan through production. That type of project is always a complicated team effort, but the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the company’s culture in a way that few other circumstances could.

In this conversation, Rachel tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton:

· The Ford company’s passion for leadership, collaboration, and community involvement

· The critical importance of internships for young, ambitious professionals

· How she has seen Ford respond to the pandemic from the inside out

Intro/Outro (00:05):

It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world. Supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things. Supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts. Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton and Greg white with you here on supply chain. Now,

Scott Luton (00:32):

Welcome to today’s show Greg. Good afternoon. How are you doing? I’m doing great because we’re about to talk to my favorite motor companies. And one of your favorite topics, of course automotive. So Greg, as you know, on this episode, we’re continuing our collaboration with the one and only AIG organization, automotive industry action group. And it’s really all tied up tied to the AIAG 2020 supply chain. Seminis coming right here in November. So Greg, did you, Pat, did you bring your work gloves? I did. All right. Ready? We’re working really hard to increase your supply chain RQ here with an outstanding guests. Hey, one quick program, before we get started here, if you enjoy this episode, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. Don’t miss a single episode. You’ll miss the conversations like this, that we’ve got teed up with our new friend, Rachel saran ski, uh, who is with the purchasing program controlled apartment for electric vehicles at Ford motor company. Rachel. Good afternoon.

Rachel Cryanski (01:35):

Good afternoon. How are you?

Scott Luton (01:37):

We’re doing fantastic. Really welcome.

Rachel Cryanski (01:40):

Thanks. Thank you. See, here

Scott Luton (01:43):

We are. We are too. We really enjoy our collaboration with, with folks that are part of the AIG team folks that are members, folks that are involved in their programming. And this is going to continue that that string of hits Rachel, welcome to podcast hits town, Southern Southern Southern branch muscle Shoals, where all the best podcasts are made. So kidding aside, let’s, let’s dive right in, uh, Rachel, uh, first, before we get to work and all the cool things you’re doing there at Ford. Tell us about yourself. Where’d you grow up and give us a uric Eureka moment, you know, from your upbringing.

Rachel Cryanski (02:18):

All right. So I am born and raised in Michigan. Um, I come from a small town called Baltimore and not a lot of people know where that’s from new Baltimore. Is that right? Yep. New Baltimore, very, very East side, kind of, I guess, towards port Huron. And I actually just recently bought a house, a new homeowners. So I think their stores. Yeah. So I’m enjoying that comes with that title and all the projects. So are my dad and brother and a Eureka moment that I’ve had. It’s a, it’s funny, you guys asked this, actually I am currently studying towards my MBA at Wayne state and I’m in a management class and that’s one of the exercises we were given. It was to think of all these different milestones, what it shaped you into the person you are today. This was one of the items growing up was, and it’s kind of silly to me now at this age, but seven year old, Rachel, apparently it really shaped her.

Rachel Cryanski (03:09):

And so it was, if anybody who has kids or if you’re familiar with it, the zoo at Detroit, um, zoom, um, we were at that event with my mom. I think I was like seven years old with my brother and our family friend. And at that time I had, um, I was just kind of watching from afar and it’s crazy, it’s dark and it’s hectic. Everybody’s running every way and you always come with a large group. So it’s like, everyone’s trying to keep everyone corralled and together. And I watched a little boy run off from his mom and the mom walked the other way. And at the time I remember like inside freaking out for the little boy and I watched both of them freak out at separate times and couldn’t find the other person. And so I remember like running over really quick and grabbing a little boy and bring him over to his mom and you know, both automatically really thank you so much.

Rachel Cryanski (03:56):

They calmed down. It was good. And right then and there I think is when I really started to realize my purpose, which is kind of cool that I got to realize that at a young age, I know people kind of struggle with that their whole lives. And I think that actually kind of set the tone for the type of leader I would become. And I realize it’s seven. You don’t know what leader you want to be. You just know what a leader is as like the lunch line leader to recess, but it was, it was a lot of a great wakening moment for me, for sure to realize, you know, I definitely love helping people. And even to this day, anytime I see people really stressed out or overwhelmed, I feel for them and I try to do anything I can to help them. And I think that’s definitely kind of set my purpose going forward. I’ve been taken on a lot of roles where I was able to help in leadership positions, give back and things like that. So I think, um, seven-year-old Rachel’s moment was my Eureka moment growing up,

Scott Luton (04:51):

Greg, that is awesome. Wouldn’t you want to work alongside a Rachel, imagine that viewpoint right where you’re sitting there and you can watch them walking away from one another and you’re seven years old and you’d know what to do. There was a little bit of leadership in you for that point. I think. So

Rachel Cryanski (05:09):

You live in fear. I feel like my parents like instilled in us the fear to get lost. Don’t get lost from us, but you know what, maybe leadership

Greg White (05:16):

I was afraid the punchline was going to be, you got lost from your parents, but so Zubu is where you go and do trick or treating at the zoo in Detroit. Right. So the kid was in a costume too. Yeah,

Rachel Cryanski (05:28):

Yeah, yeah. He was, yeah. Thanks. He was little. So it was hard to see people for sure.

Greg White (05:35):

All right. So clearly you have become a leader because you’re involved in not just fo Ford. I keep wanting to say FOMO go Ford, but also with the electric vehicle program. So look, I think most of us know the obvious things that Ford motor company does. Tell us maybe something about the company that we might not be obvious to the everyday person about Ford motor company.

Rachel Cryanski (06:01):

This is another topic near and dear to my heart Ford motor company is great. And I’ll try to keep this brief because I don’t want to be on here all day. Um, and on my soap box because obviously I’m biased, right? I work for them. One thing that I didn’t know coming into Ford and I recently got involved in, once I started was forecast a philanthropy, it’s called the Ford fund. It’s our segment that reaches out to the community and gives back on behalf of Ford motor company. And I guess, you know, when you think before, like you mentioned, like I knew we were a mobility company and we had smart designs, you know, solutions for a smart world. So that’s great, but I had no idea how much we give back and how we give back. And so Ford actually offers a leadership program to younger employees who are interested in giving back to the community.

Rachel Cryanski (06:44):

And again, that’s something that I is really near and dear to my heart, it’s called the four 30 under 30, um, program. And so I was able to be a fellow of one of their 2019 or the 2019 class. I got to partake in kind of seeing how they give back to the community and how much they do. So I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with like the PP and, um, the ventilators stepping up there and that, but all the different things we do in the community, you know, I’m always like reading the news articles and you know, some of the things is like giving a ride to somebody who’s helping back out into the community and things like that. And so that’s, I, one to probably one of my favorite parts about Ford is being able to not only do what we do, but then step and watch back about how we give back to the community. It really warms my heart. And it’s really exciting that they let the employees of any skill division and you don’t have to be an employee of the Ford fund, be able to partake and give back to community. I think that’s really awesome that you get the best of both worlds as an employee.

Greg White (07:43):

Two questions. I’d love to hear about what your role is and you know, what you can tell us about how you spend your day. Sometimes the title doesn’t really define what your day-to-day role is, but before you do that, what’s your favorite Ford vehicles.

Rachel Cryanski (07:58):

So I don’t know, cause we’re launching a lot of cool ones.

Greg White (08:01):

Your favorite one that you can tell us about.

Rachel Cryanski (08:03):

Okay, fair. Definitely. The Ford Bronco. I just, you know, we got to see that unveil recently and I am a, a true small SUV type of gal. And so I’m really excited cause the Ford Bronco sport is adorable and I only my next car,

Greg White (08:19):

There you go. All right. So tell us about what you do on a day to day basis.

Rachel Cryanski (08:23):

So day to day basis, um, like previously mentioned, I am in purchasing program control and I’m an analyst there for one of our electric vehicle programs. And so a lot of people are like, what is that? You know, as a program management and it’s, I guess that’s the closest Avenue. If I had to give a short and sweet tie it up, um, explanation, but what essentially it is, is you are helping need from the purchasing side of things, a program from its infancy, all the way up to job one when it hits production. And so day to day is working with our buyers as well as our engineers to make sure we’re on track for sourcing and getting all the parts ready to go and bought and, um, you know, tested everything that needs to happen prior to being able to manufacture that vehicle,

Scott Luton (09:08):

Which is a massive program in Greg. And as we’ve talked about here, we’ve talked about metal stamping and that’s just one of the thousands of components that go into vehicles. Uh, Rachel, uh, I’ll tell you having worked, having dab a little bit in automotive industry, you know, you don’t know crunch time and job one, unless you have rarely been in that industry. So it’s amazing all the complexity that’s involved in automotive supply chains and how much leadership and management it takes, you know, for us to enjoy these vehicles that we, that are so close to the heart and considering that it’s electric vehicles where in the supply chain and even the products, some of which are brand new, right? So that’s gotta be an added level of complexity.

Rachel Cryanski (09:52):

It’s excitement. I mean it’s complex, but, um, it’s cool. You’re on groundbreaking, you know, technology or ground breaking situations that nobody else has been in. So you get to be, you know, kind of start to lead the way I really have enjoyed my time on programs for sure.

Greg White (10:08):

So you definitely have your eye on the future working with electrical or with electric vehicles. So when you, when you take a look at the broader supply chain, what’s going on in supply chain today, what do you see in terms of trends or topics, concerns or challenges or opportunities that’s really got is in the forefront of your mind right now?

Rachel Cryanski (10:31):

Yeah, so the big thing for me right now is, um, I previously mentioned how I love working with people and giving back I’m a big like collaboration person. And so being, you know, in the pandemic, we’ve been working from home as have most people in the automotive industry since March and, uh, for the foreseeable future right now, till June, I have really missed being able to work with colleagues and be able just to like look over and have normal everyday conversations, especially when, you know, you want a break maybe. And so the biggest thing to me is work culture, workplace culture, for sure. And not being able to have that in-person and now having to see how it’s gonna play out virtually. Um, in the beginning, I won’t lie. I struggled really hard with it and now it’s gotten better, but I also really do appreciate the situation that we’re in because yet again, I got to see how Ford motor company reacts and responds to situations.

Rachel Cryanski (11:25):

And so, um, they’ve done a great job, making sure we are continuing our culture going forward, even when, if it has to be virtual and again, doing a great job, you know, bringing in the help of their employees to keep it not necessarily from the top down, but from the bottom up even, um, and keeping the workplace culture steady. So that’s something I love through review on LinkedIn or just different scholarly journals about, you know, current companies and how they’re keeping workplace culture alive, you know, cause that, um, I know just from coming from being a student to an employee, the first thing I looked for in any company was do their values match up with mine and do I like their workplace culture? Do I get along with what they, what they are deeming is their workplace culture. And so that has been the biggest thing is making sure that I am helping that stay in my company and also, um, reading up and seeing what others are doing. Can we implement the same?

Scott Luton (12:21):

You know, Greg, a few months back, we were talking about some of the news that Ford put out about the big project to renovate the headquarters. And part of that was to appeal, uh, and what didn’t start and stop there. But you were talking about how to really appeal to the top talent industry. And it, uh, Greg, it seems like some of what they’re doing is working with Rachel because when I hear her speak her point of view and kind of the broader picture that she’s painting, you know, who wouldn’t want to, you know, work with folks like Rachel, right, with that, with that passion for leadership and an action, which we talked so much about. So clearly something’s, something’s working really well with the Ford formula. Rachel,

Rachel Cryanski (13:02):

It’s been rolled out little by little more and more on the, the renovations to our, um, our workplace and the new look of what we’ll come back to once we are able to go back in person. And so I’m really looking forward to it and think coming forward,

Scott Luton (13:18):

Love it. And, and Greg, you did not ask me my favorite Ford vehicles. So I’m going to answer it as if you did ask me, Hey, Scott, question for you, what would you say is your favorite Ford vehicle? So I had, I never owned one, but I was in them plenty. I had several friends, all had the Bronco too, right? The kind of the scaled down version of the full Bronco and we’d loved those vehicles. I mean, loved them. So, um, you know, I hopefully hopefully I can kick the tires and get on the waiting list for the new Bronco, but that was a big part of my, my formative years. Um, speaking of things we love, we’re all big fans here and we’re very transparent about it, of AIG, right? The automotive industry action group, as we, as Greg and I have alluded to a thousand times they got action in the name and you see it, there’s no lip service in this group. Action in action. That’s right. Action. And action. It should be a movie action. Jackson. I think it wasn’t a movie back in back and was so Rachel, you know, in your involvement, uh, you shared a little bit, you know, kind of pre-show with us, which, which we want to dive into a little bit here. What what’s been your, some of your favorite aspects of being involved in the AIG organization?

Rachel Cryanski (14:25):

Yeah, so I got really fortunate with AIG. Um, God they’ve opened so many doors for me. I just I’ll never be able to repay them. So I actually got to intern with AIG, which I know a lot of people don’t get that experience. So that was I’m very, very grateful and they are interned for them my senior year of college. And so it was great. I got to meet a lot of the different key participants who play a major role in AIG today. And it was really nice to talk about like workplace culture and really liking where you work and who you work with. That was great. I would really enjoy coming into work and mind you, that was actually a work from home internship, but at the time I just, I don’t know, now I’m much better at working from home, but there, that was when I really first struggled with working from home.

Rachel Cryanski (15:09):

So I asked like, Hey, I know, can I, you know, I’m supposed to work from home. Would you mind if I just came in once or twice a week to do the internship there? And they let me in. That was great because, um, I also got to talk to a lot of people weekly and have those chats that I really, really appreciate it and what I’ve gotten when I work from home. And they’ve just, they’ve done a great job. You know, we I’ve been asked to come speak at a different or a couple of different events from them since interning. And it’s probably one of my favorite events and that every year I get asked, I’m so excited. I’m so grateful because it’s, I really appreciate everything they do for the automotive industry. And I’m so, so grateful that I was able to one have a role in it and to be able to meet everybody, I was, I can’t speak more highly about AAG and everything they’ve done for me personally, but also for the industry,

Greg White (15:57):

They need to model this and making it commercial if they need. Um, and that’s a, that’s a really good example of how a, an internship and work to help you on your career position as well. Right? So we’re always encouraging young professionals students to take an internship. Yep. And we’re encouraging companies to give more of them and put resources into those programs. Yeah. Our little organization here, we we’ve got, uh, four interns, which we don’t like that name intern. We’ve renamed them, the associates because that’s a movie title. I was going to say, isn’t it though. I think it is. But you know, we want to, uh, as you speak to Rachel, clearly you are, uh, contributing early on in your journey. And we, we wanna, you know, we don’t want any title to get in the way of how folks interpret their role. So, um, but, but to Greg’s point, yeah, absolutely.

Scott Luton (16:50):

We need to create more opportunities, uh, for these internship programs because, and use your words, Rachel, it opened up so many doors for you. That side is, is, is great to hear about AIG. You also spoke to their industry involvement, you know, the way they’re bringing a wide variety of perspectives and best practices to solve the challenges of our day, both in the automotive industry and really beyond, because as we all know, so many other industries are impacted and can learn from the automotive industry. So really, uh, just, uh, big fans of the programming and looking forward to the summit, Greg, uh, as we start to wrap here with Rachel, you know, in your words, you know, based on what you’ve heard, Rachel share about her involvement AIAG and, and what they do, what’s one of your big favorite things about them. But I think that, you know, it’s hard to over overestimate the value of the internship, but I think what’s really fascinating to me is Rachel, technically you are gen Z and you want to work in with people.

Greg White (17:49):

And I think that, that the value of that, that that is not lost. And in fact is a big part of who you are, is really encouraging, because I think I wonder now in this time, if we’re not all appreciating working with in-person with people more than we did. So, um, you know, we’ve heard a lot about how the workplace is going to change a lot about companies that are never going back and things like that. I just wonder about that, right? I mean, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of valuable, more than just socialization. It is nice by the way, to have somebody that you can throw a pencil at or whatever, but, but also someone, you know, a lot of creativity and as you’re working on the future, a lot of creativity happens around the water cooler or somebody’s burned popcorn or, or whatever. So, um, I think it’s encouraging that that is value. A lot of things will change. A lot of the things are timeless and won’t change. And we all, you know, speaking of how do we act when we get back together, Greg and our families got together for, for a meal, uh, in recent weeks. And we weren’t exactly sure how to ANZ and, and, you know, act and space and, and I’m a hugger, so that’s a

Rachel Cryanski (19:06):

Problem, but we’re all

Scott Luton (19:08):

Craving to get back and, and have these great events like the 20, 20 supply chain summit in person where we can really connect on a variety of levels. But Rachel, you know, you’re gonna have to come back with us so we can take a deeper dive into some of these things that you’re sharing. You know, a lot of what you’re thinking, how you perceive industry and your work and your employer and the culture as you put it. A lot of folks are looking to put their finger on the pulse of those elements right there and, and hear what the best and brightest are thinking. But how can folks, how can they connect with you?

Rachel Cryanski (19:37):

Definitely through my LinkedIn, Rachel, [inaudible] feel free to reach out connect. Yeah. If you have any questions, feel free to just message me happy to answer.

Scott Luton (19:47):

I really enjoyed this interview. Thanks for your time. As busy as you are Rachel, we look forward to reconnecting at the summit and to our audience. Hey, you can still sign up for the summit. And Greg had a little secret what really inexpensive. I mean, they make it really easy. We make it really easy. One click on it on the show notes that you’ll find this episode, you pop over there. I think it’s 29 bucks for a member, 49 bucks. If you’re not a member that really jump in and get a full day of best practices and programming. So Greg, I got to ask you one final time out of all that Rachel shared, and you touched on a little bit with my last question of you, but what’s, what’s one of your favorite things that Rachel shared here today, as we close clarity of purpose, undoubtedly clarity of purpose. I mean, it’s like we meet a lot of people. We meet very few that have that, this clarity of purpose in terms of what they want to contribute to work in society and that sort of thing. So I think that’s really outstanding.

Scott Luton (20:48):

I agreed. Well, don’t worry. I have no doubt

Scott Luton (20:54):

Is a beautiful thing for sure. But, uh, to our, to our listeners, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this as much as Greg and I have. We’ve been chatting with Rachel [inaudible] with the Ford motor company, doing some big things there, innovative things there with Ford. Uh, Rachel, thanks so much for your time and we will see you back again real soon. Absolutely. Thank you to our listeners. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this again. Uh, on behalf of our entire team here. Hey, you check out more conversations, just like they’re radio’s gone supply chain You can find us wherever you get your podcasts from. Hey, be like Rachel, do good. Give forward and be the change that’s needed on that note. We’ll see you next time.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Rachel Cyranski to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Rachel Cyranski is in her second FCG Rotation at Ford Motor Company where she is working in Program Control on Electric Vehicles. Prior to her second rotation, she worked as a buyer in Chassis Purchasing. Rachel obtained her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University and is presently working towards her MBA there. During her Undergrad Rachel interned at Lear Corporation, AIAG, and Ford Motor Company. She also held many leadership positions such as President of WSU’s Supply Chain Club and was one of the Mike IlItch School of Business 25 Under 25 Recipients. Since starting her career at Ford, Rachel has been named one of Ford’s 30 Under 30 participants and holds leadership positions on the FCG E&C Board, Ford NextGen, WSU Recruiting Team, and assists in representing Ford at the WSU Supply Chain academic board meetings. One of Rachel’s proudest moments on the NextGen leadership board was developing and executing the Virtual Professional Development Week for all Ford Employees . Since being on the WSU recruiting team Rachel has led multiple recruiting events and has assisted in writing many in-class case studies for WSU purchasing classes.

Greg White is a host and principal of Supply Chain Now.  Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory:

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


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