A manufacturing system consists of the following processes; design, materials selection and processing, assembly, and quality control. Maximum productivity of a given manufacturing system can be obtained only through optimization of the entire system rather than through optimization of its components individually. A system can be optimized through either a thorough understanding of the entire system and the interactions between its components, i.e., an algorithmic approach; or through the application of axioms to each decision-making step. This paper discusses an axiomatic approach to manufacturing and a methodology for developing axioms. Several hypothetical axioms and some of their corollaries are presented with examples to illustrate the basic concepts.

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