This paper presents an accelerated approach and an automated system for short-term machinability evaluation of metal materials. The proposed approach is developed for ranking materials in terms of machinability. It considers both objective factors, such as machine variables and process outputs, and subjective factors, such as the decision maker's preferences regarding different criteria (objectives, e.g. operation cost, production rate, and product quality). A set of analytical and empirical formulas relevant to different aspects of machinability are identified. A definition of machinability as a function of process outputs is proposed. A method for assessing the weights of importance of different criteria is proposed. Based on the approach, a computer software package called MACPRO for machinability assessment is developed. The computerized machinability evaluation system interfacing with sensors is configured to facilitate data sampling/processing and man/machine interactions. Results of experiments with different work-piece materials for a manufacturing company and problem are analysed and discussed. The results indicate that the approach and designed system are reliable, robust, fast (about half an hour), and easy to implement. The approach is currently being implemented and used in some major metal cutting industries.