Deep reinforcement learning for inventory control: a roadmap

Robert N. Boute*, Joren Gijsbrechts, Willem van Jaarsveld, Nathalie Vanvuchelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) has shown great potential for sequential decision-making, including early developments in inventory control. Yet, the abundance of choices that come with designing a DRL algorithm, combined with the intense computational effort to tune and evaluate each choice, may hamper their application in practice. This paper describes the key design choices of DRL algorithms to facilitate their implementation in inventory control. We also shed light on possible future research avenues that may elevate the current state-of-the-art of DRL applications for inventory control and broaden their scope by leveraging and improving on the structural policy insights within inventory research. Our discussion and roadmap may also spur future research in other domains within operations management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2022


  • Inventory management
  • Machine learning
  • Neural networks
  • Reinforcement learning


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