WSJ Profiles 'The Blevinator,' Apple's VP of Procurement Who Handles Supplier Negotiations

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macrumors bot
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Apr 12, 2001
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The Wall Street Journal today published a profile of Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, providing an inside look at Apple's corporate culture and what Blevins does for the company.

As Apple's vice president of procurement, Blevins' job is to get suppliers to cut their prices, and he will apparently stop at little to score a favorable deal for Apple, which has earned him the nickname "the Blevinator."


Blevins was, for example, the key driver behind encouraging Apple suppliers to deprive Qualcomm of royalty payments during Apple's ongoing dispute with the chipmaker. He negotiates with suppliers, enforces manufacturing details, and manages semiconductor suppliers.

His negotiating skills are so important to Apple that Cook tapped him to manage negotiations for Apple's spaceship-shaped Apple Park campus. When getting bids for the curved glass used for the structure, he invited glass makers to Hong Kong, put them in separate conference rooms, and went from room to room to get the lowest price, ultimately saving Apple hundreds of millions of dollars.

Blevins does not hesitate to drop suppliers, and in one example, after STMicroelectronics refused to lower the price of gyroscope sensors in 2013 despite Blevins' threats to find a different supplier, STM lost Apple's business.

Blevins is also the go to for making sure that suppliers adhere to Apple's nondisclosure agreements, which can carry fines. In 2017, Japan Display disclosed that it had received orders for liquid crystal displays, and The Wall Street Journal subsequently confirmed that Apple was one of the smartphone makers that had expressed interest in LCDs, leading to trouble for Japan Display.
Mr. Blevins called a top Japan Display executive and accused him of violating Apple's nondisclosure agreement. "Are you stupid?" he said, according to a person familiar with the call.
Apple demanded Japan Display pay $5 million for breaching the non-disclosure agreement. Japan Display didn't pay, but promised to submit news conference materials to Apple before events so Apple can review it. A Japan Display executive told The Wall Street Journal that Apple's supplier agreements are "torturous."

When asked for comment, Blevins opted not to speak to The Wall Street Journal, saying "I'm a loyal company guy." The full profile on Blevins, which goes into much more detail, can be read over at The Wall Street Journal.

Article Link: WSJ Profiles 'The Blevinator,' Apple's VP of Procurement Who Handles Supplier Negotiations
 

JPack

macrumors 603
Mar 27, 2017
5,088
7,516
TSMC might be one of the few suppliers that can call Blevins "stupid" and demand an extra $5 million.
 

california_kid

macrumors regular
Sep 9, 2016
244
282
San Francisco
I think this article would have been a whole lot more interesting if they showed the bounty of swag and gifts the Blevinator gets over the course of a year.

Remember folks - if more than 20% of a company's revenue comes from one customer, it's not something you want to invest in for long.

BTW, when he calls one of his suppliers does he say "Hi, it's The Blevinator..."? or instead of a direct threat, does he say "don't make me get The Blevinator!"
 

brewcitywi

macrumors 6502
Sep 29, 2007
273
34
I admire someone who can negotiate better deals, and he's obviously very Pro-Apple.

However, our company has been in similar situations, with a larger company who makes huge demands. It becomes so difficult to keep them happy--we usually lose the business, the customer, and maybe our final invoice payment! I couldn't imagine being an Apple supplier, we'd get crushed!
 

Saipher

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2014
278
974
CA, USA
Not a lot of business majors or people who have ever run a business in here.

So if some supplier overcharged Apple that would be good? Are only big companies bad when they negotiate prices?
Did anyone say that Apple being overcharged was good? Was overcharging mentioned in the article? There is a big difference between overcharging and having to cut employee benefits in order to give Apple a better deal; neither one is good FYI.
 
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Dave-Z

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2012
749
1,226
Mr. Blevins called a top Japan Display executive and accused him of violating Apple's nondisclosure agreement.
Apple demanded Japan Display pay $5 million for breaching the non-disclosure agreement. Japan Display didn't pay,
Sort of sounds like The Blevinator, himself, got Blevinated. Hmm...

We've heard stories from other suppliers so it's a safe bet that Apple is not known for being nice to those who manufacture the parts they need.
 

mschmalenbach

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2008
134
68
I can imagine losing such low margin business might actually be a good thing for a supplier.

lowering the price paid for a product or service is not always the same as lowering the overall costs...
Procurement is a tough job to do well in the long term. If you’re interested, google ‘aggressive supply chain management’ and in the same context also google ‘PICOS’...
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
12,197
10,004
Singapore
As expected, Macrumours haters never fail to latch on to every opportunity to express their hatred of Apple, to the point of wishing ill on others or gloating (and encouraging other people to gloat) over the supposed misfortune of other people.
 

msp3

macrumors 6502
May 9, 2015
269
113
Incredibly based. Truly pushing boundaries in their lens of trade (in the economic sense)