The benefits of automated drafting (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM) are proven, and integration (CIM) will bring even greater productivity improvements. Mechanical engineers involved in concept design, however, have not yet benefited from automation; in fact, they are an island of non-automation. Now, powerful and affordable hardware, and advancements in solids modeling. analysis, and database software, are incorporated in sophisticated desktop computer systems for concept engineers. These systems automate the conceptualization, design, analysis, communications, and personal documentation functions. Automating the concept design stage of product development, thereby creating a new front end of CIM, will have an enormous positive impact on development cycles, product quality, and costs. This paper addresses two aspects of MCAE: the place of MCAE in the mechanical engineering environment, and MCAE system standards as identified by Fortune 500 engineers practicing in that environment.