Time Windows Route Optimization Constraint And Business Rule

Almost all businesses operate within specific delivery windows, pickup windows, service windows, and other working hours. Arriving too early or late at customer locations typically results in expensive waiting times, driver idling, additional trips, missed deliveries and pickups, etc. Therefore, when optimizing multi-stop routes, you want to visit customer locations only within their working hours. Route4Me’s Time Windows Route Optimization Constraint enables you to easily optimize thousands of last mile routes with thousands of addresses with different Time Windows in the most efficient way. Specifically, Route4Me automatically accounts for the Time Windows on each address and sequences them in the most optimal visitation order, where each address is visited only within its Time Windows. Furthermore, Route4Me automatically accounts for all your other business rules and outputs the most optimal number of optimized routes. This way, you can avoid arriving outside working hours, minimize waiting time between stops, avoid missed deliveries and pickups, visit more stops in fewer routes, save time, and make more money.

Route4Me Customer Time Windows last mile route optimization constraint. Optimize last mile routes with customer working hours.

 

 

Time Windows Route Spreadsheet Formatting

To optimize last mile routes with addresses that have Time Windows, add the “Time Window Start” and “Time Window End” columns to your route spreadsheet, and then populate these columns with the preferred times. Accordingly, your addresses with added Time Windows will be visited only within the timeframe between the Time Window Start and Time Window End.

Additionally, you can learn more about Route4Me’s Spreadsheets Formatting Requirements.

Format spreadsheet with addresses and customer working hours for Time Windows route planning and optimization.

Column NameDescription
Time Window Start Time when the First Time Window Opens: “Day 0,” + “Military Time or Regular Time” (i.e., Day 0, 9:00 AM).
Time Window End Time when the First Time Window Closes: “Day 0,” + “Military Time or Regular Time” (i.e., Day 0, 3:00 PM).
Service Time This column is optional. You can add Service Times to your addresses for more accurate Time Windows route optimization and more realistic ETAs. NOTE: When adding Service Times, ensure they are no longer than the Time Windows of the respective addresses.

 

Many businesses have restocking hours, lunch breaks, and other times that split their workday into two parts. Accordingly, you need to ensure the driver doesn’t arrive at the customer’s address when the customer is unavailable. In this case, you can add two Time Windows for one address to account for these breaks. To do so, include two sets of Time Windows for the preferred addresses in your spreadsheet. Specifically, in addition to the “Time Window Start” and “Time Window End” columns, add the “Time Window Start 2” and “Time Window End 2” columns.

Accordingly, your addresses with 2 added Time Windows will be visited only within the First Time Window and the Second Time Window timeframes, and will not be visited within the break between them.

Add secondary customer working hours to the route spreadsheet for Time Windows route planning and optimization.

Column NameDescription
Time Window Start 2Time when the Second Time Window Opens: “Day 0,” + “Military Time or Regular Time” (i.e., Day 0, 4:00 PM).
Time Window End 2Time when the Second Time Window Closes: “Day 0,” + “Military Time or Regular Time” (i.e., Day 0, 9:00 PM).

 

Download Time Windows Route Spreadsheet Template

For your convenience, you can download Route4Me’s Time Windows Route Spreadsheet Template as a CSV file, change prepopulated addresses, Time Windows, and Service Times, and use it to optimize your routes.

Click to Download Route4Me’s Time Windows Route Spreadsheet Template

 

Optimize Last Mile Routes with Customer Time Windows

To optimize last mile routing with Customer Time Windows, you can upload a spreadsheet from your device or import address spreadsheet from cloud storage. To do so, go to “Plan New Route” from the main menu and then select the preferred option:

Upload or import a spreadsheet with customer Time Windows, route addresses, and other route data.

 

Time Windows route optimization works only with the Multiple Drivers route optimization type, so the system can output more than one route based on the specified Time Windows and other optimization constraints. Next, go to the “Optimization” tab and select the “Multiple Drivers” route optimization type.

After that, you can specify your routes’ preferred Route Start Time in the “Schedule” tab. Equally important, make sure that the Route Start Time is not much earlier than the first Time Window to avoid long Wait Times between both.

Furthermore, you can add additional route optimization constraints, such as Max Route Distance, Max Route Duration, Max Weight, Max Pieces, Max Volume, Max Revenue, Max Stops, and more.

Multiple Drivers Route optimization plans the most optimal number of routes based on Customer Time Windows.

 

Next, upload your spreadsheet file, and Route4Me will automatically verify and validate addresses, Time Windows, and any other columns in your spreadsheet. Accordingly, ensure that each column’s header (column name) corresponds to the data in this column. Additionally, you can manually match column names to the right data columns in case specific column names don’t match the contained data. After verifying your spreadsheet, complete the following steps to finish optimizing your routes.

Verify route addresses and customer Time Windows in the uploaded spreadsheet.

 

Manage Route Stops Time Windows On Optimized Routes

Route4Me optimizes the best number of routes accounting for your specified Time Windows and other optimization constraints. Accordingly, the system can output one or multiple routes with your imported addresses. When multiple routes are optimized, they are automatically opened on the Route4Me Routes Map.

Once your routes are optimized, you can check and edit the Time Windows on any route stop. To check a stop’s details and Time Windows, simply click this stop in the timeline. To edit a stop’s details and Time Windows, right-click the preferred stop in the timeline and then select “Modify Stop” from the menu.

Route4Me’s optimization engine sequences addresses with Time Windows in the most optimal visitation order to minimize Time Window conflicts and Wait Time (the time a driver has to wait before the start of a Time Window to visit and service the address). In the Route Summary Table with aggregated route metrics, you can enable and check the total Wait Time on all displayed routes. To do so, click the Gear Icon in the bottom left corner of the map, go to the “Time” tab and check the “Wait Time” box.

Optimized last mile routes with Customer Time Windows and minimized wait time between route stops.

 

Driver Wait Time Between Route Stops With Time Windows

Depending on the Time Windows of your addresses, it can be mathematically impossible to entirely eliminate the Wait Time. For example, if some Time Windows start significantly later than other Time Windows, certain Time Windows are too short, etc. Accordingly, the assigned driver might have to wait until the Time Windows on specific route stops start to visit and service them.

Route stops that have Wait Time are displayed with their respective Wait Time in the timeline. Accordingly, the Wait Time displayed on a route stop shows how much time the assigned driver has to wait before they can visit and service the given stop. Additionally, you can see the total Wait Time of all stops on the selected routes in the Route Summary Table.

Optimized last mile routes with wait time between route stops due to the differences in customers' Time Windows.

 

Furthermore, you can view and edit Time Windows on individual routes using the Route4Me Route Editor. To do so, open the route, click the preferred route stop, and then scroll to the “Time” section. Accordingly, route stops can have one or two Time Windows. To edit a Time Window, click it and then enter the new preferred time.

Similarly, you can see the total Wait Time of the opened route in its Summary Table. To do so, click the Gear Icon in the bottom left corner of the map, go to the “Time” tab, and check the “Wait Time” box.

Time Windows details in the last mile route stop manifest in the Route4Me Route Editor tool.

 

Time Windows On Routes Dispatched To Driver Mobile Apps

Moreover, Route4Me enables you to dispatch optimized routes to drivers‘ Route4Me Android Route Optimization App and iOS Route Optimization App. Once a route is dispatched, the assigned driver can open routes on mobile driver app. Furthermore, the driver can check the Time Windows at any stop on the dispatched route. To do so, tap the preferred route stop and then scroll to the stop’s Time Windows information. In this way, drivers can know when the business on each route stop opens and closes.

Open Customer Time Windows on dispatched drivers routes on Route4Me's mobile driver apps.

 

 

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Route4Me has over 40,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.