In the paper, a crystal plasticity finite element method (CPFEM) model was developed based on ABAQUS to analyse the surface roughness transfer during metal manufacturing. The simulation result shows a good agreement with the experimental result in the flattening of surface asperity, and the surface roughness decreases significantly with an increase of reduction with considering friction effect. Lubrication can delay surface asperity flattening. The effect of surface roughness on produced metal defect (crack) was also studied, and the surface roughness affects the crack initiation significantly in cold strip rolling. In addition, the surface roughness variation along the metal plate width contributes to stress distribution and then inhibition of crack nucleation.