A novel genetic algorithm (GA) is proposed in this paper for solving the machine-part cell formation problem in the presence of alternative process plans. Parent chromosomes with number of genes equal to the number of parts are generated based on the correlation value calculated using a ranking index. Crossover is carried out on the 60% of the parent chromosomes and mutation is carried out at the weakly correlated part (gene) in the chromosomes. Performance of the algorithm was tested using 20 test instances from the literature. The proposed genetic algorithm is superior in terms of solution quality for 10% of the total test instances and equal to the best solution achieved by the other algorithms for the remaining 90% of the test instances. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.