This paper presents a methodology and a corresponding software tool for estimating a product’s production rate very early in the product development cycle. It evaluates the product’s proposed geometric attributes, materials, manufacturing processes, vendors and assembly methods for each of its components with respect to its affect on the production rate. It does this evaluation by first interactively converting the product’s functional decomposition into a product structure and then into an assembly structure. Then, based on a factory’s resource allocations and vendors’ lead times over the time horizon of interest it computes the production rate, identifies those components that are critical to increasing the production rate and suggests means to improve the fit between the product’s design and the production system. For the example selected it is shown that the methodology indicates that one can increase the production rate by 100% by either (i) modifying the thickness of one component and changing the manufacturing scheme of two other components, or (ii) changing the manufacturing scheme of three components out of the 20 components in the product.

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