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
This article explains how time settings, within different areas of vWork, affect Route Optimization.
- Time setting considerations
- Job duration
- Job start times
- Time windows
- Automated Breaks
- Account Working Hours
- User Working Hours (shifts)
- Group time zones
- Travel time
- Other time settings in vWork
Time setting considerations
When running Route Optimization some time settings put constraints around how routes are optimized and they are taken into consideration in the optimization calculations.
Some time settings can enhance Route Optimization to make it work better for your business. On the flip side, if you don’t plan how you use time settings and think about the constraints they impose, you may not get the results you are expecting or you could even create errors in the optimization.
This list provides an overview of the types of time settings in vWork that are considered by the Route Optimization calculations.
Job duration is the time required to complete the job.
This is a mandatory setting in the Job Template and can also be edited in the Job.
Optimization uses this to set the length of time a job will take to complete when planning a route.
It is important that you estimate Job duration as accurately as you can. If you set the job duration to be too long you lose efficiency - the optimization cannot plan for you to complete jobs faster than estimated in the template and will not include all possible jobs you could complete in a given time frame. If you plan your job duration to be too short then you will not be able to complete all jobs that are optimized in the time frame given.
The job duration should just be the time you expect the Mobile User to spend on-site, it should not include travel time, we will calculate that for you automatically when you run the optimization.
Job start times
Job start times can be set in jobs and job templates (depending on where you choose to set them). This is great when a job must be done at a certain time, but also has implications for Route Optimization.
It is optional to set a start time for a job, but if you want to save a job with a specific date, it must have a planned start time in order to save the job with the date.
Jobs with planned start times are always scheduled into the optimization at the start time saved with the job. Other jobs included in the optimization, without planned start times, are scheduled before and after these jobs. This may not give the best route for the optimization on a time and distance basis. You can choose to override start times when creating an optimization by selecting the Ignore Planned Start-times option.
The most efficient route for time and distance is optimized when there are no planned start times in jobs or the Ignore Planned Start-times option is selected when creating the optimization.
Time windows are used to specify periods of time in which jobs must be completed (within specified time windows) or must not be completed (outside specified time windows).
It is optional to set time windows on jobs.
Optimization calculates routes for jobs based on what time windows are set in each job. Jobs will be scheduled to be done within, or outside, given time windows depending on which option is selected. It is not possible to set time windows that both include and exclude a period of time for a single job or asset associated with a job.
Like Job start times, Route Optimization creates routes that schedule jobs to work with and around time windows. It’s great to use time windows to avoid times when jobs can or can’t be done (eg, during a time when people are sleeping and your job would breach noise control rules). However, if your time windows are too restrictive, or you have too many in the optimization time period, you may not get a very efficient result from the optimization.
Time windows can be very powerful in Route Optimization when they are well planned. For example, you can have your customers book their deliveries in pre-defined time windows. These create jobs in vWork that share a common time window. The delivery route can be optimized for that time window. Your customers will have a known time period when they can expect their delivery and your delivery route will be efficient maximizing the jobs you can complete in that time window.
Time windows are also used in the Automated Breaks feature that is used to schedule breaks for workers during route optimization. See the next section, Automated Breaks, to learn more about this feature.
See the article How do I add Time Windows for Jobs? for more information about using time windows in route optimization.
Automated Breaks are used to schedule breaks, such as lunch, for workers completing jobs in optimized routes.
It is optional to include Automated Breaks in optimized routes but they do help ensure the route is more efficiently optimized if workers are required to take breaks while working an optimized route.
See the article Schedule worker breaks in Route Optimization with Automated Breaks for more information.
Account Working Hours
vWork sets default Account Working Hours as Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. These are the hours that are shown in white on the schedule. Account Working Hours can be customized to meet the needs of your organization.
Optimization will ensure that optimized routes are run within Account Hours unless Mobile Users have customized working hours set outside the Account Hours. See User Working Hours (shifts) below to find out more.
Jobs can be manually scheduled outside Account Hours. These are excluded from the Route Optimization.
You can change Account Working Hours in Settings>Users>Shifts.
See the article How do I customize my company Working Hours? for more information.
User Working Hours (shifts)
User Working Hours is the time when your Mobile Users or vehicles are available to complete jobs. These override Account Working Hours for individual Mobile Users. You can set User Working Hours to be outside (before or after) the Account Working Hours.
Optimization ensures that jobs are allocated to Mobile Users within their working hours even if these are outside normal Account Working Hours. User Working Hours always override Account Working Hours in the Route Optimization.
Note: If you run an Optimization for a time when a Mobile User has selected Shift Off from their mobile device, that worker will be excluded from the Optimization. If you have enabled Mobile Users to Shift Off on their phones, it is important they set a time for when they will shift back on to ensure they are included in future Optimizations.
You can change User Working Hours in Settings>Users>Shifts.
See the article Customized Worker Shifts for more information.
Group time zones
When you have Groups enabled in your vWork account you can set different groups to work in different time zones; for example, you may have a San Francisco Group operating on Pacific Time and a Colorado Group operating on Central Time.
Users assigned to a group will have their working hours adjusted to match the time zone for their Group.
Route Optimization will use the time zone set for the Group. This will override the time zone set in the vWork General settings.
You can set Group time zones in Settings>Users>Groups.
See the article What if My Workers are in Different Time Zones?
Travel time is not a setting in vWork. The time required to travel between jobs is calculated in Route Optimization based on the shortest route on the map. Route Optimization doesn’t take into account traffic conditions, road hazards and restrictions, individual driver preference for routes between jobs, or other external factors that impact travel time. Estimated travel time can affect the optimization if there are more jobs included in the optimization than can be completed in the time allocated for the optimization. It is important to be aware of this and use local knowledge when considering how many jobs to include in the optimization.
Other time settings in vWork
There are other parts of vWork that also have time settings, such as Job Deadlines. These are not considered as part of the Route Optimization calculations so have been left out of this article.
To find out about other settings and permissions used in optimization, see the article How do I set up my vWork account and jobs to use Route Optimization?