Beam search (BS) is used as a heuristic to solve various combinatorial optimization problems, ranging from scheduling to assembly line balancing. In this paper, we develop a backtracking and an exchange-of-information (EOI) procedure to enhance the traditional beam search method. The backtracking enables us to return to previous solution states in the search process with the expectation of obtaining better solutions. The EOI is used to transfer information accumulated in a beam to other beams to yield improved solutions. We developed six different versions of enhanced beam algorithms to solve the mixed-model assembly line scheduling problem. The results of computational experiments indicate that the backtracking and EOI procedures that utilize problem specific information generally improve the solution quality of BS. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.