Many scheduling problems are NP-hard problems. For such NP-hard combinatorial optimization problems, heuristics play a major role in searching for near-optimal solutions. In this paper we develop a genetic algorithm-based heuristic for the flow shop scheduling problem with makespan as the criterion. The performance of the algorithm is compared with the established NEH algorithm. Computational experience indicates that genetic algorithms can be good techniques for flowshop scheduling problems. Journal of the Operational Research Society (2004).