This paper considers the sequencing of jobs that arrive in a flow shop in different combinations over time. Artificial neural network (ANN) uses its acquired sequencing knowledge in making the future sequencing decisions. The paper focuses on scheduling for a flow shop with 'm' machines and 'n' jobs. The authors have used the heuristics proposed by Campbell et al.(1970, A heuristic algorithm for n-jobs m-machines sequencing problem) to find a sequence and makespan (MS). Then a pair wise interchange of jobs is made to find the optimal MS and total flow time (TFT). The obtained sequence is used for giving training to the neural network and a matrix called neural network master matrix (NNMM) is constructed, which is the basic knowledge of the neurons obtained after training. From the matrix, interpretations are made to determine the optimum sequence for the jobs that arrive in the future over a period of time. The results obtained by the ANN are compared with a constructive heuristics and an improvement heuristics. The results show that the quality of the measure of performance is better when ANN approach is used than obtained by constructive or improvement heuristics. It is found that the system's efficiency (i.e., obtaining the optimal MS and TFT) increases with increasing numbers of training exemplars. extcopyright Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006.