Although standard MIP formulations do not work very well on this problem, the current crop of MIP solvers can solve problems that used to be very difficult to solve. As example consider ft10 with 100 operations (10 machines, 10 jobs). This problem was unsolved for 26 years after its introduction in 1963. Now this can be solved in about 5 minutes to optimality using solvers like Gurobi and Cplex. (Some tabu search based methods have been able to find the optimal solution in seconds).
I wanted to solve this from Excel, but as Excel has no native GANTT charts, I created some VBA code so I could at least inspect the results.