Ode to McMaster-Carr
Can I get some love for McMaster-Carr here? For any project that requires material goods in order to be completed, they are your biggest and best source. Their customer service is impeccable. I ordered something at 1:30 PM one day and it was on my doorstep when I got home that evening. A friend ordered something at 11 AM and they had a courier on campus to drop it off at 2:30. They have an awesome return policy, the variety and number of items they have is astounding (480,000 items), and prices are great. And don’t even get me started on how easy-to-use and logically constructed their website is. I went to their distribution center here in Atlanta to pick up an item for my banner image project, and I saw that place running like a well-oiled machine of package shipping efficiency. Huge warehouse; amazing automated packaging setup with minimal human involvement. It was ridiculously inspiring to see them running their show in the flesh.
I used to be a Grainger guy, but I’m getting that tattoo removed and inking the McMaster-Carr logo over it.
Summary: McMaster-Carr is the Google of hardware and they are every designer’s, engineer’s, and weekend tinkerer’s best friend.
Look what just came in the mail from ebay:
What good is having an awesome search engine if you aren’t aware of what you can find and purchase? Thumbing through this thing and seeing what you can buy ready-made is worthwhile, and it’s why I bought the book. 480,000 products, 3,824 pages. Impressive. What’s more impressive is the time you can save by not having to design things which you can buy pre-fabricated. Good design process requires drawing a boundary between what needs to be created by the design team from scratch, and what should be purchased ready-made. Generally, I’ve found it’s best to farm out as much as possible. After you reconcile billable hours with sticker shock of what appears to be ‘super expensive parts,’ you generally see that the cost of developing something from scratch far outweighs the purchase price of ’ridiculously expensive’ parts.