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Neither of the two basic ways we assemble things today–i. e., by people or by special-purpose machines–rests on a coherent body of analytically derived knowledge. These manufacturing methods, which may be accurately characterized as experience-based rather than science-based, have been the principal handicap in achieving major improvements manufacturing productivity. In the absence of major productivity improvements, the consumer has borne the brunt of cost increases in raw materials, labor, and energy. Clearly, the key to improved productivity is the development of advanced computer-based systems that incorporate a greater degree of the knowledge base-systems that compensate for the designer's unfamiliarity with manufacturing technology and help him come up with a more manufacturable product design.