Time windows are a setting used exclusively for Route Optimization. They specify times that jobs can and cannot be included in an optimized route.
Route Optimization is an optional feature. To find out more, or add this to your vWork account, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of the vWork Team will be in touch to discuss your requirements.
Alternatively, you can read all about it in the article What is Route Optimization?
In this article
- What are Time Windows (or Start Time Slots)?
- How do I add time windows?
- How will the time windows affect my jobs?
- How can I tell that a job has time windows from the Optimization page?
- Time windows and Automated Breaks
What are Time Windows (or Start Time Slots)?
Time Windows apply to Assets and Jobs. They restrict when jobs can be done within an optimized route. A time window specifies periods of time in which jobs must be completed (within specified time slots) or must not be completed (outside specified time slots). They are included in route optimization to ensure jobs are scheduled only within, or outside, the time slots specified - depending on which option is selected when setting the time windows.
How do I add time windows?
You can choose to add a time window to:
- A Job Template - this flows through to any jobs based on this template.
- A Job - this is for one-off jobs that might need time restrictions.
- An Asset - this flows through to any job with this asset and is added to time windows that apply to the job.
Within and outside specified times
Time windows can be within specified times, or outside of specified times. Choose whichever option best suits your situation.
For example, if you have an asset that is affected by rush hour traffic (maybe a building on a busy highway) and you would prefer jobs were not assigned around rush hour, you could add time windows to the asset to prevent jobs involving the asset being scheduled during rush hour. The time windows assigned to the asset are pulled through to all jobs for this asset. All route optimized jobs for the asset would be scheduled outside of the rush hour time window.
- You cannot choose time windows that are both within a specified time and outside a specified time for a job; you must choose one or the other.
- If time windows are set for an asset, and you want to add more time windows in the job, you must use the same format as used for the asset - either within hours or outside hours.
Add time windows to Jobs and Job Templates
In Job and Job templates, time windows are added on the Job information tab in the Select a Start Time Slot section.
In this example, the time window specifies that this job must be optimized within the hours of 8:00 am and 10:00 am on Monday, and 7:00 am and 1:00 pm on Tuesday.
These jobs cannot be optimized for any other day or time other than what is specified here. If you wanted to optimize these jobs for a Wednesday, for example, they would not be available to select on the route optimization page.
Add time windows to Asset
In an Asset, time windows are added in the Time Windows section.
In this example, jobs with this asset assigned can be optimized every day from Sunday to Saturday between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm.
How will the time windows affect my jobs?
When routing jobs Route Optimization respects the time windows set on the jobs and will only assign these jobs to start times that work with the parameters of the time windows. This is great for avoiding times, like rush hour or times when a business is closed, and ensuring jobs are done in a window that customers prefer, like grocery deliveries.
Jobs with time windows can still be manually assigned to a time that is outside of the time window restrictions. In this instance, the dispatcher is warned they are scheduling the job outside of the specified time window.
This will show in the schedule like this:
And it will show in the Job like this:
How can I tell that a job has time windows from the Optimization page?
When you see jobs with time windows on the Optimization page they display a small clock on the job icon.
Time windows and Automated Breaks
Time windows, along with Tags are also used to enable rest breaks for mobile workers involved in route optimization. To learn more about Automated Breaks, please read the article: Schedule worker breaks in Route Optimization with Automated Breaks