The IBM manufacturing plant at Greenock has a number of automated and semi-automated lines, covering assembly of logic cards, keyboards, logic units and monitors. Automation and robotics require a significant commitment in both skilled resource and capital. In many cases the pay back-period can be protracted, and so IBM financial controllers take a very detailed interest in the justification for the investment. To support this process in the areas of product strategy, product design and material logistics, the early involvement of the manufacturing function is essential. This early involvement also allows manufacturing to influence the design to maximise the use of existing facilities as well as justifying new projects. This article outlines IBM's approach to the philosophy. It can also be considered as one of the articles in CME's occasional series on manufacturing in the electronics sector.