Publication Date
Authored By
Benjamin Rolf, Marcel Müller, Sebastian Lang, Tobias Reggelin, Dmitry Ivanov
Topic(s) Covered:

Decision-making in supply chains is challenged by high complexity, a combination of continuous and discrete processes, integrated and interdependent operations, dynamics, and adaptability. The rapidly increasing data availability, computing power and intelligent algorithms unveil new potentials in adaptive data-driven decision-making. Reinforcement Learning, a class of machine learning algorithms, is one of the data-driven methods. This semi-systematic literature review explores the current state of the art of reinforcement learning in supply chain management (SCM) and proposes a classification framework. The framework classifies academic papers based on supply chain drivers, algorithms, data sources, and industrial sectors. The conducted review revealed afew critical insights. First, the classic Q-learning algorithm is still the most popular one. Second, inventory management is the most common application of reinforcement learning in supply chains, as it is a pivotal element of supply chain synchronisation. Last, most reviewed papers address toy-like SCM problems driven by artificial data. Therefore, shifting to industry-scale problems will be a crucial challenge in the next years. If this shift is successful, the vision of data-driven decision-making in real-time could become a reality