McMaster-Carr Supply Company is a private, family-owned supplier to industrial and commercial facilities worldwide, specializing in next day delivery of Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) materials and supplies. McMaster maintains over 555,000 products in a catalog offering a variety of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and utility hardware not usually located from a single source.
McMaster annually releases a large, yellow catalog containing the bulk of its product selection. The 120th edition (January 2014) has 3,888 pages. The print edition of the catalog is noted for its limited distribution. The company states that most catalogs go to existing customers in industrial plants and large commercial facilities.
Product categories include:
- Tube and hose fittings
- Pumping and filtering
- Process control and instrumentation
- Plumbing and janitorial*machinery maintenance
- Measuring, leveling, and inspecting
- Heating, air conditioning, and ventilation
- Lighting and electrical
- Power transmission
- Cutting and sawing
- Machining and clamping
- Abrasives, finishing, and parts treating
- Material handling
- Storage*hand tools
- Hardware*fastening and sealing
- Raw materials
- Protective clothing
The McMaster-Carr website has been used as a positive example of link rich design and good user interface. Even though the site allows access to over 555,000 products, it is easy to penetrate directly to the desired categories and compare alternatives. The website also includes useful design tips and explanations of material properties as well as a categorical parametric search engine.
The site ranked third in a large study performed at Stanford University about trust and credibility, just behind amazon.com and bn.com. The author concluded "The surprise comes in seeing who landed in third place: McMaster-Carr—a relative unknown entity compared to others who ranked high in this category. The McMaster-Carr site has relied on its own merits—not on a public relations campaign or a big reputation—in conveying high levels of credibility."
Mobile Phone App
The McMaster app was released in May 2013 for the iPad and March 2014 for Android tablets. The iPad app rates five stars among most of the 102 reviews at itunes.
"Not only does McMaster-Carr have one of the best print catalogs and the best online shopping experience, they now have an iPad app, too.