A design framework based on the principles of lean manufacturing and axiomatic design was used as a guideline for designing an automotive component manufacturing system. A brief overview of this design decomposition is given to review its structure and usefulness. Examples are examined to demonstrate how this design framework was applied to the design of a gear manufacturing system. These examples demonstrate the impact that low-level design decisions can have on high-level system objectives and the need for a systems-thinking approach in manufacturing system design. Results are presented to show the estimated performance improvements resulting from the new system design.