An intelligent graphical user interface that captures a product’s functional and assembly structure and the factory that will make it are described. The results are then used to evaluate a factory’s production rate for the product. The program requires the product to be either a functionally uncoupled or decoupled design. The interface then: (1) implements a visualization of the functionally decomposed product structure; (2) implements an abstraction of a factory; (3) automatically generates candidate primary manufacturing processes and materials that are compatible with each other based on a very small number of attributes; (4) enables the user to make Make/Buy decisions for the components comprising the product; (5) assists the user in the selection of secondary manufacturing processes that are compatible with the primary manufacturing processes and materials for parts made in-house, and specify the vendor and the supply lead time for outsourced parts; (6) enables the specification of alternate materials and manufacturing processes; (7) implements a visual representation of the assembly structure as specified by the user; and (8) partially automates the creation of the assembly structure, and assists in the selection of assembly methods that are compatible with the materials chosen. In addition, the program assists in the design for assembly by: (1) requiring the product development team to think about the assembly process early in the design stage; (2) providing a visualization of the relationship of all components comprising the product to its other components; (3) requiring the specification of the order in which they are to be assembled; and (4) requiring the selection of assembly processes that are compatible with each other and the materials chosen. It also requires the specification of the capabilities of the factory that is going to make one or more of the components of the product, and requires that Make/Buy decisions for the parts comprising the product be made.

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