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The increasing influence of global economy is changing the conventional approach to managing manufacturing companies. Real-time reaction to changes in shop-floor operations, quick and quality response in satisfying customer requests, and reconfigurability in both hardware equipment and software modules, are already viewed as essential characteristics for next generation manufacturing systems. Part of a larger research that employs agent-based modeling techniques in manufacturing planning and control, this work proposes an agent-based material handling system and contrasts the centralized and decentralized scheduling approaches for allocation of material handling operations to the available resources in the system. To justify the use of the decentralized agent-based approach and assess its performance compared to conventional scheduling systems, a series of validation tests and a simulation study are carried out. As illustrated by the preliminary results obtained in the simulation study the decentralized agent-based approach can give good feasible solutions in a short amount of time.