Timeslot management

This article explains how timeslots are managed in a booking and the typical setup for timeslot management.




What are timeslots and what are they good for?

In certain types of operations, it is desired to perform deliveries or other types of jobs within a specific timeframe. This can help to improve the efficiency of the operations, especially if the timeslot was selected by the customer.

On MotionTools, it is possible to indicate that a certain booking is supposed to be completed in a certain timeframe.

If timeslots are set, there are various benefits MotionTools provides, such as indicating the requested timeslots to dispatchers and drivers, but also automatically calculating delays and more.


How to set up timeslots?

Overview of setting up timeslots

Timeslots are managed on two different levels — on the booking level and on the stop level.

On stop level, the actual timeslot, that was defined or requested by the customer, should be set by indicating the exact timeframe in which the task should be completed.

  • earliest_arrival_at timestamp: Represents the start time of the timeslot on stop level
  • latest_arrival_at timestamp: Represents the end time of the timeslot on stop level

On booking level, the start of a timeslot can be indicated. A booking has a separate start time (scheduled_at) than a stop, because a booking can consist of multiple stops with different timeslots and stops from multiple bookings can also re-arranged into optimized tours.

  • scheduled_at timestamp: Represents the start time of a booking and can be used to represent the start time of the the timeslot on booking level


Setting timeslots depending on the booking structure

In essence, you would always set the full timeslot on each stop that actually as a defined timeframe of completion. On top of that, you indicate the start of the timeslot on booking level.

1-stop bookings with one drop-off stop

Set the timeslot on stop-level utilizing the attributes earliest_arrival_at as the start of the timeslot and the latest_arrival_at as the end of the timeslot. Additionally, set the scheduled_at on booking level to the start of the timeslot (same as earliest_arrival_at).

2-stop bookings with pickup and drop-off

This is exactly like with 1-stop bookings. The only difference is that you would not set any timestamps on the pickup stop.


How timeslots are utilized

Tour building

  • When filtering bookings or tours in the dashboard you can easily filter for the scheduled_at timestamp on booking level. This helps to identify bookings that can be bundled into a tour.
  • Depending on the tour building feature that is used, timeslots will be automatically taken into account or not. 
  • When tours are built, the suggested start time of a tour will be set by the tour builder feature. Some of the tour builder features will automatically suggest a start time to make sure that the first stop with a timeslot on it can be completed on time, taking potential 'preparation tasks' into account and the way to get to the first stop.
  • Besides this, the timeslot information on stop level will be fully preserved and communicate to both the dispatcher as well as the driver.

Ops monitoring

  • The earliest_arrival_at and latest_arrival_at timestamps on stop level will be shown for each stop on the dashboard as well as in MotionTools app. Once a stop is completed, the actual arrival timestamp will be shown and this can help admins make better operational decisions based on the data.
  • If the earliest_arrival_at and latest_arrival_at timestamps are set on each stop, it indicates that a booking would have to be completed within a defined duration. If the driver is running late and is unable to complete the stop within the set duration, the dashboard will automatically indicate delays based on this stop-level information.
  • In the near future, MotionTools will also calculate delays upfront before a booking is started and also save it on the stop level.

Driver app experience

  • The MotionTools driver app communicates the timeslot to the worker in case it was set.
  • If the timeslot is set on stop level, it will override the scheduled_at time of the booking and the app will display this time instead of the booking’s scheduled_at time.
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