The design of bulk metal forming parts with improved mechanical properties and higher production rates can greatly benefit from accurate three-dimensional analyses. However, efforts are still needed to make such analyses more attractive in terms of less computation time and memory requirements. For this purpose, an investigation of parallel processing of the three-dimensional rigid-viscoplastic finite element analysis has been made in this study. The domain decomposition method was used to divide physical domain of the problem into sub-domains and obtain a reduced form of the global stiffness matrix equation. Methods to solve the reduced system of equations using iterative and direct solvers were developed and applied to determine the numerical benefit of using them through simple block upsetting and swash-plate forging simulations. It was found that direct solver was more beneficial for the practical forming example of swash-plate forging. Also, advantage of using domain decomposition was examined in terms of contact treatment and stiffness matrix formulation of the problem solved. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.