Transformational Productivity creates a custom roadmap that supports both the unique Gorilla Mill identity and enables their goals for growth


Carbide Grinding Corporation (CGC), also known as Gorilla Mill, is a third-generation, family-owned company based in Waukesha, Wisconsin. They manufacture an award-winning line of high-performance cutting tools, including the nationally recognized Gorilla Mill brand.


CGC needed guidance at a critical time. They were in the process of expanding into complex new markets (e.g., aerospace), and looking to position themselves as competitors against the industry’s biggest players. CGC wanted a roadmap that prepared them for strategic growth without compromising their unique culture, which is keenly focused on the customer experience and harnesses a distinctive marketing style. The company knew they needed help with backend challenges like Lean manufacturing and process controls, plus assistance leveraging employees’ strengths. CGC also wanted to create an organizational structure with clear roles and responsibilities, including a succession plan to manage ownership transition.


WMEP recommended CGC participate in our Transformational Productivity (TPI) journey. This created an agile roadmap that included an analysis of the New Production Introduction Process, having each employee participate in the Gallup StrengthsFinders process (which pinpoints what employees are good at and enjoy doing), value stream mapping (which lead to an improved plant layout), and an assessment of CGC’s key performance indicators (KPIs). WMEP worked collaboratively with the leadership team to create a transformational roadmap, then coached employees at every level through implementation.


  • 50% increase in sales
  • 33% improvement in process time
  • 10% increase in first pass yield (from 83% to 93%)
  • 25%+ increase in productivity
  • $16M+ in impact including retained and increased sales and investments in plant systems and people
  • 5 new jobs created
  • Implementation of a new organizational structure
  • Establishment of KPIs, annual objectives and quarterly SMART goals


“We just surpassed the $15 million mark per year. There’s no way we could have done that without WMEP’s help. One thing that I was leery about, working with a consulting group, was them wanting to change who we are. WMEP allowed us to be who we are but polished us to become better and still maintain the same attitude and the same swagger. We have a great future ahead of us and we are going to continue with WMEP because there’s so much we still need to learn.”

Kevin Cranker, President and Co-Owner of Carbide Grinding/Gorilla Mill

“When WMEP came on board, we were completely unorganized—we needed something to get us in line. And I thought I needed to be involved in everything. But the minute I started letting go and other people started to realize what they were good at and enjoyed doing, things started to turn around. After working with WMEP, we’re a completely different company. We’re not thinking small family business mentality anymore. We’re thinking national, we’re thinking growth, strategic. And everything throughout this entire company just runs smoother.”

Kevin Cranker, President of Carbide Grinding/Gorilla Mill