In real manufacturing environments, the control of system elements such as automated guided vehicles has some difficulties when planning operations dynamically. Multi agent-based systems, a newly maturing area of distributed artificial intelligence, provide some effective mechanisms for the management of such dynamic operations in manufacturing environments. This paper proposes a multi-agent based scheduling approach for automated guided vehicles and machines within a manufacturing system. The proposed multi-agent based approach works under a real-time environment and generates feasible schedules using negotiation/bidding mechanisms between agents. This approach is tested on off-line scheduling problems from the literature. The results show that our approach is capable of generating good schedules in real time comparable with the optimization algorithms and the frequently used dispatching rules. (C) 2012 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.