This paper considers a new type of an assembly line balancing problem which occurs in a company manufacturing electronic home appliances. The problem has some special characteristics. The main difficulty in this problem is that the precedence diagram is not enough to describe the precedence relationships between the tasks. It is shown that the usual line balancing model is a special case of the problem considered in this paper. After considering two subproblems, a heuristic algorithm for the problem is proposed. The algorithm is based on some network theories. Computational results based on some real world problems show the proposed algorithm works well in practice. A full system which incorporates graphic user interface is developed and currently in use. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.