Setup times have an important effect on providing quick response to the external besides internal customers. As well as eliminating setup activities, jobs with sequence-dependent setup times should be scheduled efficiently so as to reduce setup times. In this paper, a scheduling methodology which considers parts design characteristics is presented for parallel machines. With respect to the roadmap of the methodology, a parts design characteristics based scheduling algorithm is developed in order to reduce total setup times. When evaluating the performance of sequencing methods, the cable cutting-stripping-crimping (CSC) process of a real life wiring harness production system is focused. In the current scheduling system of CSC division, cable sequences are developed semi-manually by CSC supervisors. Making the proposed methodology compatible with cable sequencing, an expert system is developed so as to reduce the burden of supervisors and improve effectiveness. Performance comparison of scheduling algorithms is based on deviation from the lower bound for the total setup time as well as previously implemented semi-manual cable sequences. With respect to performance comparison, parts design characteristics based scheduling algorithm has resulted in 6.81% reduction of the total setup time compared to implemented semi-manual cable sequences (MCS) for 45-day production data. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.