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 describes what the tools and options in the optimization Create function look like and do. It doesn’t explain how to create an optimization or when to use the tools and options.
The steps to create an optimization, and when you use the tools to do this, are explained in the article: How do I create an optimization?
There is a lot of information here. You can use the links in this section to take you directly to the topic you are interested in.
Return to this menu at any time by clicking this icon:
Topics covered in this article are:
- What is Create?
- The optimization map icons and tools
- The Optimization Workflow
- Workflow: Setup
- Workflow: Jobs
- Workflow: Workers
- Workflow: Optimize
What is Create?
The Create function is where you configure the optimization. From Create you:
- configure the search parameters and settings of the optimization to determine which jobs and workers are included, and
- run the optimization to create an unpublished optimization for review.
There are two main sections to the optimization Create function:
You can increase or decrease how much of the map you see by dragging the tab that divides the Map and Workflow left or right.
The left of the page shows the optimization map and tools for using the map. The map shows you the geographical location of your jobs and workers. You use the tools and map icons to help you filter what you see on the map and make it easier to search for and select the jobs and workers you want to include in the optimization configuration. These tools are explained in detail in the section: The optimization map icons and tools
The optimization Workflow
The right of the page shows the workflow used to configure the optimization. What you see on the Workflow depends upon what step you are up to in the configuration. The Workflow makes sure that you configure everything required for the optimization in an organized way.
The optimization map icons and tools
When you first open the optimization tool the map shows all unassigned jobs and workers.
There are several tools and icons that can help you refine what you see on the map and make it easier to select the jobs and workers you want to include in your optimization.
Job and worker icons
The icons on the map show you the status of jobs and workers.
- Jobs are represented by triangles.
- Workers are represented by circles.
When you hover the cursor over an icon you see a label for the job or worker that gives you more information.
The icons change appearance to tell you different things about them. This table explains what these changes in appearance mean.
|A colored triangle is a single job.
The color represents the status of the job.
(Purple is an unassigned job.)
|A colored triangle in a semi-transparent blue circle shows that a job is selected for inclusion in the optimization.
A single click on the triangle toggles the job between being included or excluded from the optimization. A double click will open the job editor.
|A white triangle with a number shows there is a cluster of jobs in the same location. You can zoom in to see the individual jobs or hover your mouse over the triangle to see job labels.|
|A blue circle with an arrow pointing up is a single worker.|
|When a blue circle with an arrow pointing has a semi-transparent blue border this shows the worker is selected for inclusion in an optimization.
If you click on a worker you can toggle them between being included and excluded from the optimization.
|A blue circle with a number shows a cluster of workers. You will see this if all workers share the same start location.|
To the left of the map are the map tools. These enable you to focus the map on jobs and workers.
This points north by default.
To return the map so that north is at the top of the map click the Direction tool again.
Polygon or Lasso tool:
Map view options menu
The map View Options menu is found in the bottom left corner of the map. It enables you to choose what you want to see on the map.
- The default is always set to provide a birdseye view of all icons for workers and unassigned jobs. The Show Workers and Show Jobs options have checkmarks next to them to show they are selected.
- The Auto Focus Jobs option is also on by default. This option is handy for finding jobs on the map quickly when you have moved the map away from them. Unselect and then re-select this option to automatically focus the map on all visible jobs.
- No labels are shown in the default view. To turn labels on for jobs or workers, click the checkbox to add a checkmark next to View Worker Labels or View Job Labels in the menu.
- Hide the map View Options menu by clicking the eye icon in the corner of the menu.
- To show the menu again click the eye in the blue View Options menu bar.
The Search field lets you search for the jobs you want to display on the map. You have the same search options here that you have in the Jobs list. Once selected these search parameters are saved with the optimization settings. If you then save this optimization as a Favorite these search parameters will be used to select the jobs to include in the optimization in the future.
The Optimization Workflow
The optimization workflow takes you step-by-step through the process of configuring the optimization. This topic describes each Workflow step and the configuration options you can choose. Information on how to create an optimization using this Workflow is given in the article: How do I create a route optimization?
The optimization workflow has four steps. These are shown across the top of the workflow. The steps are:
You can click on any step in the Workflow to open it and view and modify the selected optimization configuration for that step.
The starting point of the workflow is the Setup. This is highlighted blue to show this is the stage of the configuration currently being worked on.
Setup has two types of configuration options:
- Optimization Using: where you configure how the optimization will select and assign Jobs and Workers to the optimization.
- Scheduling options: where you set the time period for optimization to schedule jobs into. This is specified by a date in the Schedule Jobs For fields, and a duration and time period in the Start Time, and Finish Time.
Setup: Optimization Using
The Optimization Using section determines how workers and jobs are selected. There are six options you can select from. They are grouped by their use. These options are not mutually exclusive; you can select all, some, or none of these options depending on what you want to achieve with the optimization.
Minimum amount of workers:
- The optimization will use the least number of workers to complete all jobs in the timeframe.
- This is a good option to use when you know which workers you want to use but want to use as few of them as you can to complete all your jobs.
- It will assign workers to routes from the available pool of workers and can therefore be used with the optimization Capacity setting.
- This option is the most fuel-efficient as it covers the least distance for the combined fleet of vehicles required to complete all jobs.
- As it assigns the fewest number of workers required to complete all jobs it also has the fewest number of plotted routes.
- To achieve a shorter mileage for the overall fleet, one worker may have a longer route, or more jobs, than other workers.
- Some of your chosen workers won’t be allocated routes if the optimization can be done with fewer workers than those available to work.
- Once the optimization is run you can’t change the route allocated to each worker but can move jobs between workers. This creates new optimized routes for each worker who has lost or gained jobs on their route.
Note: You can select this option with the Infinite workers option if you don’t have specific workers in mind. This will optimize jobs into the fewest routes but will not assign specific workers to the routes.
- Infinite workers is a planning tool to help you identify how many workers you need without knowing specifically who you will use. If this option is selected, all known workers are hidden while you configure the optimization in Create. You assign specific workers to optimized routes in the View function after you have run the optimization
- This is a good option to select when you don’t know how many workers you need to complete all jobs in the optimization time frame and your vehicles don’t have capacity limits.
- The optimization calculates optimized routes for as many workers as are needed to complete all jobs as fast as possible in the timeframe.
- Individual workers are not assigned to routes. You select the workers to use after the optimization is run.
- Jobs can be individually moved between routes. This creates newly optimized routes for those routes that have lost or gained jobs.
- This option cannot be used with the Capacity setting as worker capacity is not known when the routes are set.
- If you do not have enough workers to complete all routes in the optimization the optimization will show ghost workers for these routes. You need to either reschedule some jobs to another time period, change the time frame of the optimization, modify some workers’ shifts, or find more workers to complete all proposed routes.
Note: You can select this option with Minimum workers.
Auto-select jobs in polygon:
- All jobs within the polygon are automatically included in the optimization.
- You can choose to exclude jobs automatically selected with the polygon in the Jobs step of the workflow.
- This is useful when you want all jobs for a specific geographical region included in a favorite optimization. You can define the region with a polygon (even if there are no jobs to select) and all jobs within that region are added to the optimization when you use this favorite.
Auto-select workers in polygon:
- All workers with start locations within the polygon are automatically included in the optimization.
- You can choose to exclude workers automatically selected with this tool in the Workers step of the workflow.
- This is useful when you want all workers with a start location in a specific geographical region included in a favorite optimization. You can define the region with a polygon and all workers within that region are added to the optimization when you use this favorite.
- This doesn’t work with the Infinite workers option.
Ignore Planned Start Times:
- This ignores the planned Start Time saved with jobs and assigns the job to a start time that works the most efficiently with the optimized route.
- Optimized routes are more efficient when this option is chosen. If you don’t select this option jobs are scheduled for their planned Start times and all other jobs are scheduled around these jobs.
- This is a good option to select if your jobs are added to vWork in advance on a specific date; for example, when you use Repeating Jobs to automatically create and schedule your jobs.
Ignore Planned Workers:
- This ignores the worker a job is assigned to and allocates the job to the worker and route that is the most efficient use of resources. Optimized routes are more efficient when this option is chosen. If you don’t select this option jobs remain assigned to the workers saved with the job and are included in any optimized route created for this worker.
Setup: Scheduling options - Schedule Jobs For
The first setting in the Scheduling options section of Setup is Schedule Jobs For.
When you click in Schedule Jobs For you can select from: Today, Tomorrow, or a Custom Time Range.
Each of these options is explained below.
- If you select Today, the Start Time automatically moves to the current time as you are only able to schedule jobs for the future.
- If you select Tomorrow, this will schedule jobs for the next calendar day. You can adjust the Start Time and Finish Time to your preference.
Custom Time Range
- If you select Custom Time Range, a field shows where you can select the date you want to set the optimization for.
- Click this field to open the calendar. Today’s date is highlighted with a blue square border around the day.
- To select a future date click on it.
● One-click selects the Start Date.
● If you want the End Date to be the same date as the start date (the most common scenario) then click the same date a second time to select this date as the End Date.
● If you want another date to be the End Date for the optimization time period (eg., if you were optimizing a route overnight) then single click this date to designate it as the End Date.
In this example, today is February 3, and February 7 is selected as the Start Date. A second click on February 7 will also make it the End Date for the optimization.
The Start Date and End Date show in the field beneath the Custom Time Range option.
Note: The Start Time and Finish Time default to the current time. Change these to the time period you want the optimization to run within.
Setup: Scheduling options - Start Time and Finish Time
The Start Time and Finish Time fields are where you enter the start and end times for the optimization that fit within the date range you selected in Schedule Jobs For.
Note: The time period you set here respects both company working hours and individual shift hours. The optimization will not schedule jobs outside of these hours even if you select a time period that extends beyond them.
- When you click in the Start Time or End Time fields a 12 hour am/pm time picker displays.
- Click in a column to activate a scroll bar; then scroll up or down to select the hours, minutes, or am and pm option you want.
Tip: you can also click into the time field, highlight the numbers and type over the numbers to set the time.
Note: If you select a date in the Schedule Day For field that doesn’t match the Account Working Hours, or any worker shift, you won’t be able to set a start or finish time. You need workers scheduled on shift to schedule jobs for them through the optimization feature.
The jobs that you select using the polygon (lasso tool) are automatically added to the Jobs step in the Workflow.
If you haven’t selected jobs from the Map no jobs are listed in the Jobs step.
- You can select jobs from the Map using the polygon while in the Jobs step.
- You can also add the jobs that show on the map from the Jobs step without using the map.
To add jobs to the Workflow from the Jobs step:
- Click Select Jobs.
- Click All Jobs to select all jobs from the map, or
Click an individual job to add only it to the optimization. You can add as many jobs as you need using this method.
Tip: If you want to add the majority of jobs on the map but exclude a few, the fastest method is to select all jobs and then remove the jobs you don’t want to include.
You can remove all jobs or remove individual jobs from the optimization.
To remove jobs in the Workflow from the Jobs step:
- Click the small x icon next to an individual job to remove it from the optimization, Or
- Click Clear List to remove all jobs.
The workers that you select using the polygon are automatically added to the Workers step in the Workflow.
If you haven’t added workers from the Map no workers are listed in the Workers step.
- You can select workers from the Map to add to the optimization using the polygon while in the Workers step.
- You can also add workers from the Workers step using the Select Workers button without using the Map.
To add workers in the Workflow from the Workers step:
- Click Select Workers.
- Click All Workers to select all jobs from the map, Or
Click an individual worker (e.g., Van 1) to add only that worker to the optimization. You can add as many workers as you want using this method.
You can remove individual workers or remove all workers from the optimization.
To remove workers in the Workflow from the Workers step:
- Click the small x icon next to a single worker to remove them from the optimization, Or
- Click Clear List to remove all workers.
Override worker start locations
In the Workers step for the Workflow you can override all workers' saved start locations, or add a start location for all workers when none has been saved elsewhere in your vWork account.
To override a saved start location for all workers, or add a start location when none is saved:
- Click the checkbox next to the Override Start Location field to activate it.
- Begin typing the new Start Location address into the Override Start Location field. A list of possible addresses will be displayed as you type.
- Select the address that you want to use.
Note: when you select the address from the list of options presented you ensure that the start location is geocoded. The optimization feature requires a geocoded start location.
Note: Finish or End Locations are not currently operational in vWork. While you can enter a Finish Location in the Override Finish Location field it will not be used in the optimization.
The Overview section summarizes the key information for the optimization.
The top half of the Overview section lists the number of jobs included, the number of workers selected to consider for inclusion, and the time period for the optimization.
The bottom half of the Overview lists the options you selected on the map and all options selected in the Optimization Using section of the Workflow Setup step.
Save Settings as a Favorite
This is where you save the settings for favorite optimizations. The process for doing this is explained in the article: Create and use a favorite optimization
The optimize section has two buttons: Run Optimization and Reset.
- Run Optimization runs the optimization to create an unpublished optimization using the settings and configurations you entered in the earlier steps in the optimization Workflow. It is the final step to create an unpublished optimization for review in the View function.
- Reset clears all the settings selected using the map and the workflow.