Mr Russell Watkins




About me

Lean Transformation Expert. Steering manufacturers to make the right things, better, using practical lean manufacturing / Toyota Production System (TPS) principles.

I thrive on transferring practical knowledge, simply, to all levels. The business is called “Sempai”. In the last 18 years I’ve have helped businesses from £1m to £6bn turnover, giving me the credibility of having managed the complexity of lean transformations in large and small clients alike.

I’ve held Operations, Materials and Lean positions within the Automotive, Aerospace and Construction Equipment sectors. Lean transformation work has taken me to shopfloors and boardrooms on 4 continents, upskilling 1000+ people to drive forward 100+ businesses in the UK, Europe, the US, China, India, Japan and South America.

Designed and run multi-site lean programmes and, among other clients, I’ve consulted for 15 years to a Toyota Group company, created the JCB Production System and established Lean Academies for two £bn global manufacturing businesses.

Also helping manufacturers with my keen eye for identifying and supporting Industry 4.0 opportunities. Author of “Adventures in Leanland”, speaker and awards judge. We work with businesses and leaders who are truly committed to Lean thinking & doing. Irrespective of the current condition of your business, if you’re prepared to practice and lead by example daily we’ll get along.

– Toyota Production System (TPS) trained by Toyota Japan sensei
– Experience within Automotive, JIT sequencing, Aerospace, Construction, Medical
– Extensive hands-on Lean experience
– Worked throughout the UK, Europe, the US, Mexico, China, India, Japan and South America.
– 2016 – 2022 Judge & site assessor for The Manufacturer TMMX awards
– Conference speaker
– Author of ‘Adventures in Leanland’


Management consultant or business analyst Production manager or director in manufacturing


Lean Manufacturing Manufacturing Processes Defining Development & Training Needs L&D / Training

Work history

Jan 2020 - Present