Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs) are used with assessments and are designed to assess the maturity of a given technology, system, subsystem, or component from a manufacturing perspective. MRLs provide decision-makers (at all levels) with a common understanding of the relative maturity (and attendant risks) associated with manufacturing technologies, products, and processes being considered to meet DoD requirements. 
Goal of Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL)
The overall goal of utilizing MRLs is to address manufacturing & quality risks & issues throughout the development process to provide products that consistently meet customer requirements.
The Manufacturing Readiness Scale
MRL is based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most mature manufacturing process. Decision authorities will consider the recommended TRLs when assessing program risk. [1,2]
Guide: DoD Manufacturing Readiness Level Deskbook – Aug 2015
Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL) Defined
|Level||Definition||DoD MRL Description|
|1||Basic Manufacturing Implications Identified||Basic research expands scientific principles that may have manufacturing implications. The focus is on a high-level assessment of manufacturing opportunities. The research is unfettered.|
|2||Manufacturing Concepts Identified||This level is characterized by describing the application of new manufacturing concepts. Applied research translates basic research into solutions for broadly defined military needs.|
|3||Manufacturing Proof of Concept Developed||This level begins the validation of the manufacturing concepts through analytical or laboratory experiments. Experimental hardware models have been developed in a laboratory environment that may possess limited functionality.|
|4||Capability to produce the technology in a laboratory environment||This level of readiness acts as an exit criterion for the MSA Phase approaching a Milestone A decision. Technologies should have matured to at least TRL 4. This level indicates that the technologies are ready for the Technology Development Phase of acquisition. Producibility assessments of design concepts have been completed. Key design performance parameters have been identified as well as any special tooling, facilities, material handling and skills required.|
|5||Capability to produce prototype components in a production
|Mfg. strategy refined and integrated with Risk Management Plan. Identification of enabling/critical technologies and components is complete. Prototype materials, tooling, and test equipment, as well as personnel skills, have been demonstrated on components in a production-relevant environment, but many manufacturing processes and procedures are still in development.|
|6||Capability to produce a prototype system or subsystem in a
production relevant environment
|This MRL is associated with readiness for a Milestone B decision to initiate an acquisition program by entering into the EMD Phase of acquisition. Technologies should have matured to at least TRL 6. The majority of manufacturing processes have been defined and characterized, but there are still significant engineering and/or design changes in the system itself.|
|7||Capability to produce systems, subsystems, or components in a
production representative environment
|System detailed design activity is nearing completion. Material specifications have been approved and materials are available to meet the planned pilot line build schedule. Manufacturing processes and procedures have been demonstrated in a production representative environment. Detailed producibility trade studies are completed and producibility enhancements and risk assessments are underway. Technologies should be on a path to achieving TRL 7.|
|8||Pilot line capability demonstrated; Ready to begin Low Rate Initial
|The system, component, or item has been previously produced, is in production, or has successfully achieved low-rate initial production. Technologies should have matured to TRL 9. This level of readiness is normally associated with readiness for entry into Full Rate Production (FRP). All systems engineering/design requirements should have been met such that there are minimal system changes. Major system design features are stable and have been proven in test and evaluation.|
|9||Low rate production demonstrated; Capability in place to begin
Full Rate Production
|The system, component, or item has been previously produced, is in production, or has successfully achieved low-rate initial production (LRIP). Technologies should have matured to TRL 9. This level of readiness is normally associated with readiness for entry into Full-Rate Production (FRP). All systems engineering/design requirements should have been met such that there are minimal system changes.|
|10||Full Rate Production demonstrated and lean production practices
|Technologies should have matured to TRL 9. This level of manufacturing is normally associated with the Production or Sustainment phases of the acquisition life cycle. Engineering/design changes are few and generally limited to quality and cost improvements. A system, components, or items are in full-rate production and meet all engineering, performance, quality, and reliability requirements. The manufacturing process capability is at the appropriate quality level.|
Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs) & Technology Readiness Levels (TRL)
Manufacturing readiness and technology readiness go hand-in-hand. In conjunction with Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), MRLs Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), are key measures that define risk when technology or process is matured and transitioned to a system. It is quite common for manufacturing readiness to be paced by technology readiness or design stability. Manufacturing processes will not be able to mature until the product technology and product design are stable. 
Difference Between Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL)
The difference between Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL) is:
- Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL): are used to assess the maturity of a given technology, system, subsystem, or component from a manufacturing perspective.
- Technology Readiness Level (TRL): are used to assess the maturity of individual technology.
Benefits for Using Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL)
- Makes sure that the design of the product can be made and produced early on in the development process.
- Gives programs a well-documented process or road map to reach manufacturing maturity.
- Helps early on to understand manufacturing risk and maturity
- Manages the manufacturing maturity throughout the supply chain and customer base of the program.
- Finds manufacturing problems that affect multiple programs, contractors, and the industrial base as a whole
AcqLinks and References:
-  Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG)
-  DoD Manufacturing Readiness Level Deskbook – Aug 2015
- (Old) Manufacturing Readiness Level Deskbook v2.2 – Jul 12
- Manufacturing Readiness Level Chart
- Manufacturing Readiness Level Guide – Feb 2007
- Presentation: MRL for Multi-Dimensional Assessment of Technology Maturity by Jim Morgan – 10 May 06
- Website: DoD Manufacturing Readiness Levels