This paper introduces an index for assessing the flexibility of candidate engineering designs and manufacturing processes at various stages during product realization. Once the process flexibility index (Cf) is defined, several examples of its use are provided in metal cutting, metal forming, and injection molding. The definition of the process flexibility index: resembles the process capability index, Cp; embraces Taguchi’s loss function; and provides a simple and quantitative basis for practicing the principles of axiomatic design. A high Cp indicates that the product can be consistently manufactured within precisely defined design specifications. A high Cf indicates that the product can be easily manufactured even with inaccurate design specifications.

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