Hierarchical ensemble deep learning for data-driven lead time prediction

Ayse Aslan, Gokula Vasantha, Hanane El-Raoui, John Quigley, Jack Hanson, Jonathan Corney, Andrew Sherlock

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This paper focuses on data-driven prediction of lead times for product orders based on the real-time production state captured at the arrival instants of orders in make-to-order production environments. In particular, we consider a sophisticated manufacturing system where a large number of measurements about the production state are available (e.g. sensor data). In response to this complex prediction challenge, we present a novel ensemble hierarchical deep learning algorithm comprised of three deep neural networks. One of these networks acts as a generalist, while the other two function as specialists for different products. Hierarchical ensemble methods have previously been successfully utilised in addressing various multi-class classification problems. In this paper, we extend this approach to encompass the regression task of lead time prediction. We demonstrate the suitability of our algorithm in two separate case studies. The first case study uses one of the largest manufacturing datasets available, the Bosch production line dataset. The second case study uses synthetic datasets generated from a reliability-based model of a multi-product, make-to-order production system, inspired by the Bosch production line. In both case studies, we demonstrate that our algorithm provides high-accuracy predictions and significantly outperforms selected benchmarks including the single deep neural network. Moreover, we find that prediction accuracy is significantly higher in the synthetic dataset, which suggests that there is complexity (i.e. subtle interactions) in industrial manufacturing processes that are not easily reproduced in artificial models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4169-4188
Number of pages20
JournalThe International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number9-10
Early online date28 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • smart manufacturing
  • lead time
  • sensors
  • deep neural networks
  • hierarchical ensemble learning
  • make-to-order production


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