“This plain-speaking, example-heavy session is about developing a stronger relationship between vendors and the manufacturing clients they seek to serve.”

Russell Watkins is the co-founder of Sempai, a boutique lean manufacturing consultancy guiding organisations that are serious about improving the performance of their business. Sempai’s lean transformation work has supported the automotive, aerospace, construction, food and drink and medical devices sectors on shopfloors and in boardrooms across the world. Furthermore, they’ve designed and run multi-site lean programmes and consulted to Toyota Group. They’ve also created production systems and established lean academies for billion-pound global manufacturing businesses. 

Russell loves lean and factories, calling them the ambient soundtrack to his life. From Manchester to Mumbai to Mexico, Russell’s passion for Lean Manufacturing has taken him all over the world and given him lots of stories to share. Now, he’s coming to share them at Birmingham Tech Week. We spoke to him about how he got into the tech world, what we can expect from his event.

1. How did you get into the lean manufacturing and tech world?

Sempai’s Digital Manufacturing journey started in 2017 and has spanned Germany, Japan, the US & the UK, supporting and bridging the gap in understanding between Industry 4.0 vendors and their manufacturing customers.

We’re also developing a digital solution ourselves in the form of an interactive, gamified & personalised native app to create deeper lean manufacturing skill for the hidden heroes in manufacturing.

2. What can we expect from your event at Birmingham Tech Week?

6 common themes that can make or break the relationship between Manufacturers and Industry 4.0 vendors have emerged. These will be covered in the session. 

Whether it’s Cobots,  Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence. Eye Tracking, 360-degree factory laser mapping or low-code/no-code, these 6 practical tips apply equally.

This plain-speaking, example-heavy session is about developing a stronger relationship, more quickly, between vendors and the manufacturing clients they seek to serve.

3. What are you most looking forward to about your event?

The questions are the best part by far because they give the ability to interact and directly share experiences. 

4. Who would benefit from your event? 

Manufacturers in any sector who are starting or on their digital journey, whether they call it Industry 4.0, Digital Manufacturing or Industrial Internet of Things. Also, anyone from the CEO to Ops Directors to Production Engineers or Lean people would benefit.

On the vendor side, it’s a glimpse into how manufacturers think. It will also consider what they value from early discussions with possible solutions providers.

‘6 ways Industry 4.0 Solutions Providers & Manufacturing Businesses can do business better’ is taking place on Tuesday 13th October at 10:15 am. Click here to attend. 

Birmingham Tech Week aims to celebrate the growth, diversity and innovation that drives Birmingham. This year, Tech Week is a virtual event, and you can see our full list of events here.

Holly Botterill

Holly Botterill

Holly is contributing to Birmingham Tech Week's content for the second time. She enjoys running, reading and spending time with family and friends.

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