Grainger helps customers save time and money by providing them the right products to keep their facilities up and running. The customer has a unique facility to operate and a different problem to solve, our customers all share the same requirement: when they need one of Grainger`s products, they often need it right away. Grainger is a leading distributor of industrial supplies, MRO equipment, tools and materials. With access to over 900,000 industrial supply products available online and in our print catalog, we provide maintenance, repair, and operational solutions for your business. MRO, manufacturing, supply chain, tools, and more – for the ones who get it done.
With more than 21,446 team members, the Grainger team works closely with customers to better understand their challenges and provide cost-saving solutions. Grainger's team members serve customers around 96,000 times every day through multiple channels. With 2011 sales at $8.1 billion, Grainger is a Fortune 500 company and a perennial member of Fortune magazine's Most Admired Companies list.
Grainger's diverse customer base is comprised of facilities maintenance professionals from businesses and institutions of all sizes.
- Government customers include government offices, schools and correctional institutions on the state and local levels and office buildings, military installations and the U.S. Postal Service.
- Heavy manufacturing customers are usually involved in petro/chemicals, lumber, primary metals and rubber industries.
- Light manufacturing includes furniture and appliance makers, food and beverage processing plants and pharmaceutical companies.
- Retail/Wholesale customers include grocery stores, restaurants and local gas stations.
- Contractor customers include contracting firms involved in maintaining and repairing existing facilities.
- Reseller customers offer Grainger products to customers in different markets.
- Commercial customers include fleet vehicle maintenance, asset management and cleaning.
William W. (Bill) Grainger founded a wholesale electric motor sales and distribution business in Chicago in 1927. He established the company to provide an efficient solution for customers to access a consistent supply of electric motors. The business was incorporated as W. W. Grainger, Inc. in 1928. Sales in the early days were generated primarily through mail order via post cards and a catalog. The MotorBook, as the catalog was originally called, was the basis for today's Grainger catalog.
To improve customer service, Bill Grainger opened a branch in Philadelphia in 1933 and then three additional branches the following year. By 1936, there were 15 branches in operation. It was evident that local branch service would be an integral part of the company's future growth.
In 1967, Grainger became a public company, and its stock was traded in the over-the-counter market. Today, Grainger stock is sold under the GWW symbol on the New York and Chicago stock exchanges.
To remain the leader in the industry, Grainger seized technology opportunities early. In 1976, Grainger became the first in the industry to implement optical character recognition equipment. Grainger continued to advance its systems throughout the 1980s by installing a national satellite-based digital communication network. In 1991, Grainger introduced the first comprehensive electronic MRO catalog on CD-ROM. Grainger launched the corporate Web site in 1995 and began taking orders online in 1996. Today, more than 27 percent of the company’s annual revenue is generated through electronic channels, representing $2.2 billion in sales in 2011.
Over the last 85 years, Grainger's product line has expanded to more than 1 million products and repair parts. The Grainger branch network has grown steadily over the years, and today there are more than 711 Grainger branches, making W.W. Grainger, Inc. North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, with expanding global operations.