Time Windows Constraint – Route Planning Business Rule
With Route4Me’s dynamic routing software, you can effortlessly plan and optimize routes with unlimited stops and numerous time windows and delivery windows to make sure that your customers are always visited and serviced only within their hours of availability. Route4Me goes through millions of routing scenarios in seconds and finds the answer to the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) and the Vehicle Route Problem (VRP) in a heartbeat. Moreover, it gives you the possibility to add different levels of customization and complexity to your optimized routes. For instance, Route4Me’s time windows optimization constraint enables you to prevent your drivers, field sales reps, and field service technicians from arriving at their destinations too early or outside the customer’s delivery window, too late, or when customers or prospects are busy or unavailable. Therefore, you can avoid unnecessary fuel expenses, extra trips, and inefficient utilization of your resources and assets. Delivery windows and time windows routing can also be used for planning routes that should be completed only in the daytime or at night, as well as within the constraints of a particular part or even hour of the day.
To plan one or multiple multi stop routes that account for customers’ availability and time windows, you need to upload or import a spreadsheet that includes the following columns and values:
|Address||Full address of the stop that should be visited and serviced.|
|Time_Window_Start||The time when the first time window starts (can be defined in military time or regular time).|
|Time_Window_End||The time when the first time window ends (can be defined in military time or regular time).|
|Time_Window_Start_2||The time when the second time window starts (can be defined in military time or regular time).|
|Time_Window_End_2||The time when the second time window ends (can be defined in military time or regular time).|
|Service_Time||The time required for servicing the corresponding stop on the route. Service time cannot be longer than the time window(s) of the stop. Service time is essential for precise computing of the most efficient sequence of stops on the route.|
Most businesses have particular inventory hours, lunch breaks, and other unavailability windows that split a regular working day into two parts. In such cases, you can add 2 time windows for one stop. To do so, include the first and the second time windows into the spreadsheet using the corresponding column names and add Day 0, before each time window value.
Since some routes may last longer than one day and some customers may have different availability hours on different days, you can add different time windows for the first and second days of the route. The value Day 0 indicates that the time window is valid for the first day of the route and the value Day 1 indicates that the time window is valid for the second day of the corresponding route.
To plan a route(s) with time windows, you can either upload a file/spreadsheet from your device or import it from one of the supported cloud-based storage services. To do so, first, go to Plan New Route from the navigation menu.
Next, select the Upload a File option in the corresponding window to upload a spreadsheet from your device.
To plan a route(s) with time windows, you need to select the Multiple Drivers Route route optimization type so that the system can plan more than one route if needed.
To select the Multiple Drivers Route route optimization type, first, go to the Optimization tab and then choose the corresponding option. Next, specify the preferred optimization parameters in the corresponding fields.
After that, specify the rest of the route parameters and then click on the corresponding button to proceed.
Next, either drag and drop the file/spreadsheet into the corresponding window or click Browse File to Upload and then upload the file from your device. Currently, Route4Me supports CSV, XLS, and XLSX upload file formats. For the most accurate results, it is recommended to use spreadsheets in CSV file format.
Once you uploaded the spreadsheet, Route4Me processes the imported data and displays it in the corresponding window. For the system to process the data automatically, select the Auto (attempt detection) option respectively. Alternatively, you can manually match column titles to the data contained in the corresponding columns.
Next, click Continue to Review.
In the Verify Addresses on Map window, you can view all imported and processed addresses on the map, as well as check their geocoding statuses. Green colored dots indicate that the corresponding addresses were successfully geocoded with High Confidence. The addresses in the yellow Review tab should be reviewed and fixed accordingly.
Geocoding is the process of giving/assigning latitude and longitude values/coordinates to street addresses for accurate location detection and precise GPS tracking.
After reviewing the imported addresses, click Finish Import to plan the route.
Once the route(s) is planned, you can view and change the time windows of any stop. To do so, click on the corresponding stop and then scroll to the Time section respectively. The Time section of the stop’s menu displays the time windows and service time values assigned to the corresponding stop from the uploaded spreadsheet.
To change a particular time window, click on the field next to the time window that you want to modify and then input a new value into the corresponding field.
Depending on the number of stops, length and number of time windows, as well as other relevant optimization parameters, the system may plan more than one route. When the system plans more than one route, once planned, the latter are automatically opened on the Routes Map. To view the time windows (delivery windows) of a particular stop on one of the opened routes, hover your cursor over the corresponding stop in the timeline.
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