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Is there a good alternative to McMaster Carr?

Misumi USA
MSC
Grainger
Mars Supply
Maryland Metrics
B & F Fastener Supply -Minneapolis, MN (Much lower fastener prices then anyone I've found)
Fastenal
Fixture Works

MD Metrics has been out of business for a few years. Or are you telling me they are not and have resurfaced elsewhere or under a new name? Please let me know, Thanks!

Mark (in Gaithersburg, MD no less)
 
More realistically no one cares about the shop enough because it's someone else's problem, so they won't sack it, but they will choke off the resources you need.
This is exactly what happened to me: a new program was coming into the building, management either forgot us or deliberately neglected to find us a new home. I'm sitting there one day and a crew of movers come in with clipboards and start going, "Whoa! Where the heck is all this stuff going?" It took a year of me fighting, trying to hang onto it and eventually lost. Equipment got taken away and given to Manufacturing. They're still using it in the exact place I set up the machines. Weaponized stupidity is not something you can win against.

If this issue is about McMaster not accepting the terms and conditions of the sale, I'd give Area51 a shout and explain your problem. I think they'll buy virtually anything you want, wrap it and give whatever Ts and Cs your company wants. It's gonna blow your costs out the window and add at least two weeks to everything you buy but, they'll do it.

We used to buy metal from one place about 50 miles away. They would ship it to Area 51 another 50 miles south. Area 51 would slap their own shipping label on it and ship it to us. Our buyers liked this even though the metal supplier literally did local deliveries twice a week. All I was allowed to do was specify what material I needed, sizes, quantities, etc. The buyer decided they liked the Ts and Cs of Area 51 better and doubled the cost on us.

Believe me, project managers weren't happy when I'd spring those cost increases on them but, I couldn't put a gun to the buyer's head.
 
A company I used to work at stopped using McMaster because they wouldn't provide some document on specific part number materials sourcing. So they black balled McMaster on everything. In retrospect they probably did McMaster a favor by not buying from them as I'm sure the company I was at didn't pay their bills on time. They had some retards in global supply chain that had no ability to think, I'm am certain they paid a 3rd party supplier for items that 3rd party went and bought from McMaster and the 3rd party signed whatever form was needed whether it was accurate or not.
McMaster could likely give a shit, there are way more of us out there that are more than happy to buy from them.
Good luck OP, your life is going to get tougher, sounds like you work for a company that does business with the DoD
 
What more could you possibly want from McMaster Carr? They're by far the best business I have ever worked with. They replace anything that breaks, they accept any returns we send, they are super kind about billing issues and they supply all sorts of documentation. I had an unpaid invoice for over a year on accident and they just didn't really care until I placed another order and they called to tell me and asked if they could use the updated payment information from the current order to pay the balance so I could still get my parts next day.

But I would be very tempted to put in an order for McMaster Carr, get it rejected, and then put in another order through someone approved at three times the price, and continue doing that until I've found a better job. If they're no friend of McMaster Carr then they're no friend of mine.
 
"Any suggestions to completely replace McMaster?"

Man, what a painful thing to do, especially when it's being forced on you with little common sense being applied. In my experience, McMaster is definitely a time-saver in 98% of cases where you need something specific, will need it repeatably in future, and can't spend hours/days researching. Although you do mention working in an R&D lab...

I would make a list of all the pros and cons of having McMaster on the supplier list, and then relate some of your observations about how the procurement staff are essentially unqualified to find alternate sources and items, and then stop to consider whether you should provide this to your boss. That could be a double-edged sword, maybe, depending on boss's perspective on how the company is working for him.

I have seen that McMaster probably averages about 10% higher on a wide variety of stuff, and their raw material prices are generally significantly higher than a lot of distributors. That said, McMaster provides an immediate service, off the shelf cut material, shipping same day, certs for most materials (now), and generally painless to work with. When you have a problem, it's likely they'll just say "Keep the items, we'll send out new ones today", without having some extended email/pictures/credit-debit paper trail back-and-forth required.

You can find other sources, but it will take time and a lot of effort. Good luck --
 
I would make a list of all the pros and cons of having McMaster on the supplier list, and then relate some of your observations about how the procurement staff are essentially unqualified to find alternate sources and items, and then stop to consider whether you should provide this to your boss.
Your intent is appreciated but, purchasing people are lazy and/or morons. Give them an inch and they'll demand a mile. Here's how you deal with them:
  • "There are no other solutions. This is the result of globalization and buying from the lowest bidder."
  • We will go out of this business."
  • "It will be all the fault of you buyers and we'll say so at the next meeting. You'd better bring your boss because I'm tossing you all under the bus."
Good luck OP, your life is going to get tougher, sounds like you work for a company that does business with the DoD
This is someone who has been there. 🤣

Part of the problem with deliverables is covered by the Buy American acts and some of the amendments made after. I copied this right off the government PDF:

The Berry Amendment encompasses two domestic content restrictions applicable only to the Department of Defense (DOD). The first generally requires that food, clothing, tents, certain textile fabrics and fibers, hand or measuring tools, stainless steel flatware, and dinnerware purchased by DOD be entirely grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced in the United States (10 U.S.C. § 2533a). The second “specialty metals restriction” generally requires that any “specialty metals” contained in any aircraft, missile and space system, ship, tank and automotive item, weapon system, ammunition, or any components thereof, purchased by DOD be melted or produced in the United States (10 U.S.C. § 2533b).

This also applies to things like bearings and fasteners. The last big thing I worked on had a bearing that was only made by a few suppliers and the choice was German or Japanese. Even then, we couldn't ensure that they didn't source from China. Got all kinds of push-back. I told them they'd better fire up the old bearing factory then because nothing else was going to fit in this application (a crossed-roller bearing).

Oh, and McMaster was the only place that had them in stock and would sell only five pieces. I told them they could buy them on eBay if they didn't like McMaster. They thought I was mocking them but, between (I think) two resellers, we could have bought the bearings.

There was nobody else who would even answer the phone for five pieces. The design demanded that kind of bearing. It's this or the customer doesn't get their new toy. You can come to the next meeting and explain to them that you did everything you could but the paperwork was just too much.

Companies demand that everything pass this scrutiny because they don't want to risk that some non-conforming part makes its way onto a deliverable product. So they blanket ban everything that doesn't meet the Berry act. Easy for them, impossible for everyone else.
 
My situation : I am a 1 man shop. Doing one off prototyping and modification work in an R&D lab. I work for a very large aerospace corporation. However my department seems to be underfunded. I have a minimal set up. 1 haas tm2 , 1 Harrison aa10 manual lathe, 1 drill press, 1 band saw, and that's about it. We do what we can with what we have.

I just saw a company wide email that has a list of vendors. It says vendors on this list will be phased out and no longer used by March 2024. It says we are to find alternate sourcing.

On the top of that list is McMaster Carr. Literally 99% of what I purchase is from McMaster. Raw material (mostly aluminum) fasteners, etc... We even have McMaster part#'s listed on some of our drawings in the BOM's for special type hardware and things that were used when they designed fixtures and things.

I know about "online metals". Maybe that will work for sourcing raw material. And I wish I had a more local source as well. But to completely fill the void that McMaster has taken up will be a challenge.

My frustration with my employer is that they are a multi billion $ company. They at the top decided this. And tell us to figure it out. In my opinion if my boss tells me I can't use McMaster. Then my boss can tell me who I can use instead. But my boss is simply a messanger and has no idea about McMaster or anything really.

Any suggestions to completely replace McMaster?
Buy from a “””local vendor””” who simply places the order for you at markup.
Hell they can keep the shipping address to your bay door even.

Paperwork/bean counting solved.
 
I think the OP needs to start a new company that does the sourcing for this big dumb company. He could turn this into quite the gig, use what he knows of these idiots and their methods to his advantage. I'd probably even stay at the R&D job while doing it since McMaster is so easy to buy from and deal with.

I'd also be paying off any bills and preparing for one of those idiots to send an email this year stating he is no longer needed. This doesn't seem to be a stable position to me.
 
Haha. Amazon is also on the list. Non proffered. Phased out vendor.
Yet more proof that the company is run by idiots.

Have these fools even considered the labor cost of your time to find alternatives (quite a few to replace McMaster and Amazon) and set up to buy from them?

My dad, a highly educated but practical man used to say that modern business schools were turning out educated idiots with no real understanding of business. Everything is about "cost cutting", "efficiency" (actually the opposite), and focusing so intently on the bottom line that they can see nothing else. Several of the large successful companies I have worked for are either long gone or mere shadows of their former selves due to this mentality.
 
Thank you all for the suggestions and advice. It seems all of my threads devolve into complaining about big buisness and the way my company has turned into a real S@#% show. I talk to my boss on Tuesday. I will be sure to update here what solution if any we come up with. And yes. I 100% agree that I need to be searching for a new job, saving money, and paying off bills. Fortunately I do pretty well with my finances. $20k left to pay on the truck. $80k left to pay on the house. Almost 6months living expenses in savings. Fully funding retirement fund.

My big issue is that I would like to get a new job but anything I can get around me would be at least a 30% pay cut. I'm under educated and over skilled as they say. I think my next move could be to get one of those useless degrees. Idk. I think I will search or post on here to get advice on that as well.
 
Yet more proof that the company is run by idiots.

Have these fools even considered the labor cost of your time to find alternatives (quite a few to replace McMaster and Amazon) and set up to buy from them?
I hate to keep responding here but, I have extensive experience battling this stupidity. This is what happens:

The company is big. It's divided into all of its smaller functions: engineering, manufacturing, finance, contracts, quality, procurement / global supply, HR, etc. The entire risk / reward system is based on your narrowly defined set of responsibilities. Engineering and manufacturing are responsible for the deliverable product. Almost everything else is there to make sure the company delivers exactly what was paid for, no more and no less.

If I'm the procurement vice president, my goal is explicitly to not get the company in legal trouble using forbidden sources of supply, making sure everything we buy to deliver to our customer meets the intent of the contract, etc, etc. Nothing in the Procurement VPs charter says anything about schedule, the quality of the design or anything else. That's all someone else's job. As long as Procurement keeps the company out of trouble and buys everything in a legal manner, they get their giant bonus at the end of the year.

Engineering designs something and needs what they need to make something happen. The engineers have to answer to the customer when things don't meet expectations. Engineers go to the meetings. Nobody from procurement shows up. Or if they do, it's a very low level person whose only answer is "no."

Procurement doesn't get any extra brownie points by going out on a limb and buying something from a supplier who won't confirm the country of origin, or won't agree to stupid terms and conditions or whatever. It costs Procurement nothing to make up these stupid rules. It makes their job easier, ensures "compliance and quality" and whatever other nonsense terms they read in the back of an airline magazine.

The root of the problem is this reward system where the goals of each, selfish, individual organization are at odds with the spirit of the what you think the goal is. In the end, the real goal of any corporation is "shareholder value" not customer satisfaction. Shareholder value demands that they stay out of trouble while delivering the product they were contracted to make. You can't reason with them and in some twisted ways, they are correct.

The reason nobody in a smaller company behaves this stupidly is because the boss is responsible for everything from quality, contracts, engineering, manufacturing, etc. The boss makes an educated decision, balancing all those factors rather than making single-sided, selfish decisions for one aspect or another.

Kind of a wall of text but, maybe some perspective for @Rough-cutter to use during his own negotiations, planning or whatever.
 
Big company finance hates McMaster because McMaster won't bend over and accept big company terms and conditions. McMaster has never wavered the few times I have seen them on the do not buy list.

Local company, part of a very large printing company, used McM a lot. Called up and asked for a discount.

Were told No discounts.
But we're a multi-billion dollar comapny, we demand a discount!
OK, as of this moment your account is closed, you cannot order from McM anymore


They had to order thru a friend of mine for about a year before they could get their account re-instated.
 
Thank you all for the suggestions and advice. It seems all of my threads devolve into complaining about big buisness and the way my company has turned into a real S@#% show. I talk to my boss on Tuesday. I will be sure to update here what solution if any we come up with. And yes. I 100% agree that I need to be searching for a new job, saving money, and paying off bills. Fortunately I do pretty well with my finances. $20k left to pay on the truck. $80k left to pay on the house. Almost 6months living expenses in savings. Fully funding retirement fund.

My big issue is that I would like to get a new job but anything I can get around me would be at least a 30% pay cut. I'm under educated and over skilled as they say. I think my next move could be to get one of those useless degrees. Idk. I think I will search or post on here to get advice on that as well.

go with the flow, stay there, pay off bills, elsewhere is not likely to be any better. Not worth getting bent out of shape over what's a minor issue. Find alternate suppliers, deal with the inconveniance. McMaster will be back on the vendors list soon enough.

2024 is going to be a roller coaster shit show. Stay put. You'll thank me one day
 
All good perspectives. Go with the flow. I should put up a sign that says that to remind myself. Because yeah, I have no negotiating power. I have told them for a long time that it feels like the departments are working against eachother rather than with eachother. I think it takes strong leadership. Unfortunately I think my company is old enough to have lost its drive and passion from the top. Those guys are simply pilotitians. Make a good speech. Make everyone feel good. Collect your giant bonus and get out before everyone realizes you are not fit for the job.
 
I didn't realize you're the same guy as this whole thing:


Yeah, McMaster is only one of many things going on.
 
Local company, part of a very large printing company, used McM a lot. Called up and asked for a discount.

Were told No discounts.
But we're a multi-billion dollar comapny, we demand a discount!
OK, as of this moment your account is closed, you cannot order from McM anymore


They had to order thru a friend of mine for about a year before they could get their account re-instated.
Get out.. No more soup for you! Love it.
 








 
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