Over the last 50 years, there have been many significant enhancements in computer aided systems which have influenced the CNC technology. One area that can be considered as a bottleneck to these CNC enhancements, and in particular to interoperability in CNC manufacturing is G&M part programming (ISO 6983). To overcome this bottleneck, the new standard ISO 14649, known as STEP-NC, is being developed to provide detailed information on component design, process planning and machining strategies to manufacture parts for the next generation of intelligent CNCs. This standard forms the basis of a new paradigm shift in the CNC domain to support digital modelling of CNC manufacturing resources. The research in this paper aims to identify major issues and develop new software tools to demonstrate the feasibility of interoperable CNC manufacturing based on STEP-NC. Besides the literature review on recent research and development on STEP-NC, this paper proposes a Process Planning System (PPS) with surface roughness chosen as the process planning objective. PPS consists of five modules: program reader, process planner, STEP-NC CAD viewer, STEP-NC CAM viewer and program writer. The reader is responsible for interpreting the geometry and the manufacturing data from a STEP-NC text file into a stored data list. The process planner uses this data list and enables users to evaluate surface roughness based on a mathematical model. Through the STEP-NC CAD viewer, the part geometry can be shown and via the STEP-NC CAM viewer the toolpath can be verified. Finally, the writer converts the stored STEP-NC data of the system into an updated STEP-NC file. An example case study component is used to demonstrate the PPS and show the interfacing of the STEP-NC data.