Soft Time Windows allow the stops to deliver/unload before or after the actual windows, in exchange for a penalty cost. These are standard Time Windows, used in conjunction with Early and Late Buffers as well as the Penalty Cost calculations. The Penalty Cost is judged against the use of the buffers. 

Example: Early/Late Buffers = one hour, and Penalty Cost is $20/hr. Time Windows are Open1/Close1 = 0700-1000, and Open2/Close2 = 1300-1700. The truck arrives at the stop at 0645 (early, but within the one-hour buffer period). Though no Window Violation is generated, a penalty is assessed against the stop: 15 min (.25) x $20 = $5.
Tip: Only use for customers that allow early/late delivery.

Time Window Gap Buffer

The Time Window Gap Buffer should not be confused with Time Window Buffers. Time Window Gap Buffer is used to determine if a buffer can be used. The Gap Buffer, default 1.75 hours, will determine if Buffers can be used.

Example 1: Gap Buffer ignored; Buffers used; Early/Late Buffers set to .5 (Half-an-hour). Time Windows are set to 0700-1100 and 1300-1700. There is a two-hour gap between the latest window of the first set, and the early window of the second set of windows. This is larger than the Gap Buffer (1.75). In this case, the Gap Buffer would be ignored, and the Soft Time Windows would be used.

Example 2: Gap Buffer used; buffers ignored; Early/Late Buffers are set to .5 (30 min). First Time Window: Open1 = 0700 and Close1 = 1230. Second Time Window: Open2 = 1330 and Close2 = 1700.

There is only a one-hour gap between the two Time Windows. Since the Gap Buffer was set at 1.75 (# is greater than the one-hour gap between the two Time Windows), the Gap Buffer would be used, instead of the Buffers (would close the window into a solid block).

Example 3: Delivery time = 2100 until 0300. First Time Window: Open1 = 0 and Close1 = 0300. Second Time Window: Open2 = 2100 and Close2 = 2400.

The earliest period (midnight to morning) must be placed first. Ensure the midnight Time Window is covered on a proper day.

Tip: When a delivery day crosses over midnight, then two sets of Time Windows will be required.
Caution: Reversing Time Windows may cause Window Violations or failure of any stops to load.