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WDI-Durable Goods

Madsen & Howell


After more than a century of ry operation, Madsen & Howell has become one of the Northeast’s top independent industrial distributors. Family owned and operated since 1909, Madsen & Howell is one of the largest industrial independent distributors in New Jersey with more than $25 million in sales.

“We are where we are because of our experienced people and our ability to train and educate them,” CEO Peter Madsen says.

Diverse Thinking

Based in Perth Amboy, N.J., Madsen & Howell’s headquarters includes a state-of-the-art, 120,000-square-foot warehouse. In addition, the company has branch operations and a warehouse in West Caldwell, N.J.

The company serves a diverse array of clients. Its customers include all kinds of manufacturers, and they come from most market sectors. Madsen & Howell has also consistently increased its reach, as it ships many products to a growing international customer base. The company had added to its inventory of MRO supplies over time, branching out into specialty areas such as abrasives, carbide cutting tools, industrial rubber products and architectural hardware. Its offerings include more than 700 American and international brands.

Part of the value Madsen & Howell provides to its customers comes from its large, diverse product and service offerings. The company’s portfolio extends from abrasives, casters, PVF, steam traps, gaskets, cutting tools, fasteners and janitorial supplies to machine tools and accessories, grinding and polishing machinery, material handling equipment, power tools, safety equipment and beyond. These offerings allow Madsen & Howell to help its customers compete in complex and dynamic marketplaces.

“We have diversified our offerings so we aren’t controlled by any one market segment,” Madsen says. “We’ve constantly had to change what we do, from the products we carry, to the processes our customers use, to inventory management.”

Madsen & Howell also has its own fleet of trucks, which allows the company to ensure timely delivery of orders. Most products arrive within one day of a customer’s order. In many instances, they arrive the same day the order is placed. For local customers, Madsen & Howell can provide a quick response because of its proximity to customer locations. For international customers, Madsen & Howell is strategically positioned to provide the fastest available overseas shipping service.

At the same time that the company has put together an arsenal of resources and capabilities that can rival a large corporate entity, it has remained small enough to provide a personal touch to its customers. This has allowed Madsen & Howell to build a reputation for offering high-quality products, competitive prices and a high level of customer service.

Extensive Family

In addition to the legacy of Madsen & Howell as a distributor of general line MRO and production supplies, the Madsen & Howell family of companies has expanded over the years. Today, that family includes Abrasive Machine and Supply, Essex Caster and Rubber, Tool Krib Supply, and Door and Hardware Supply.

Abrasive Machine and Supply is focused on abrasive materials and machinery that utilize abrasives to perform a variety of grinding, sanding, lapping, polishing and blasting jobs. Abrasive Machine and Supply’s abrasive products include grinding wheels, diamond and CBN wheels, sanding belts, discs, rolls, sheets, compounds, and loose abrasive grains and powders. Its machinery includes centerless, backstand and flat polishing machines; cut off machinery; dust collector systems; and sandblasting machinery.

Essex Caster and Rubber’s focal area includes casters, material handling and industrial rubber products. It distributes hundreds of domestic and international caster and rubber products from leading manufacturers. The company is experienced at finding the right products for its customers’ applications, and it regularly handles special caster or rubber requests. 

Tool Krib Supply is a metal working specialist, and it has become a leading cutting tool distributor in the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut markets. Its offerings include cutting tools, abrasives, gages, coolants and MRO supplies, stocking products from many well-known manufacturers. It also offers complete inventory management programs, including automated vending machines by AutoCrib.

Door and Hardware Supply’s work is aimed at hollow metal and wood doors, frames and hardware. It strives to be a one-stop shop for customers by offering complete welding plus coordination from prefitting and templating of doors, frames and hardware all the way to delivery of products from its large inventory on its fleet of trucks.

“Over the years, we’ve grown organically and through acquisition,” Madsen says. “Today, general line industrial hardware and mill supplies account for one-third of the business, and cutting tools are another third. The final third of the business is in doors, frames and hardware.” 

In addition to the aforementioned companies, Madsen & Howell is affiliated with Lindstrom and King, a leading manufacturer of valve stem packing rings for the global market. Its products are custom-made to client specifications from a sizable variety of standard shapes and materials. Lindstrom and King’s rings can be made to fit almost all faucets, industrial valves, deck faucets, shower heads, angle and compression stops, hose nozzles, sprinkler valves, boiler drains and other applications. 

Madsen & Howell knows that change will remain a constant part of its operations. More ordering of product will take place online, and more investment in areas such as IT and mobile technology will be required. The organization has consistently looked for ways to enhance its own productivity, and it knows it must continue to improve so it can continue to serve. 

“We must stay close to our customers and know how their needs are changing,” Madsen says. “We must stay on top of the products and services they need, and we must be sure that we are prepared to fill their needs.”