Decentralised decision-making and real-time response to the often unforeseen changes taking place in the manufacturing environment, are two important factors that affect the flexibility required for a production chain to follow demand. This paper describes a flexible agent-based system named RIDER, which encompasses both real-time and decentralised manufacturing decision-making capabilities. The agents use a mechanism to generate local alternatives as well as a message exchange procedure to build decision trees, which are traversed and evaluated via user defined cost- based objective functions. The system embodies a backward scheduling algorithm, which is used for creating and simulating alternative schedules. The system has been built upon a set of requirements coming from the textile and the cable-producing industrial sectors. The real-time information required for monitoring the system status and for generating valid alternatives is obtained through a data exchange mechanism, incorporated in the RIDER system, in order to communicate with other information systems and applications.