In this article, you will learn some best practices for managing linked tasks, which are a set of tasks that must be completed in a specific order.
Linked tasks are a set of tasks with a specified order that should be completed by a single driver, sequentially. The order is preserved across assignments and optimizations. Task linking allows you to associate tasks with a dependency structure. This is useful if your operations require more than one stop to fulfill an order, or when you want to enforce a task(s) as a prerequisite to another.
There is no limit to the number of links that you can create when manually assigning tasks to a driver, however, circular dependencies are not permissible. For instance, you cannot make Task A a prerequisite to Task B if Task B is already a prerequisite to Task A.
Within Route Optimization use, there can only be one dependency per linked task. For example, only a drop-off task assigned to one pick-up task will be considered when assigning tasks to a driver during Route Optimization. If your organization has multiple drop-off tasks linked to a pick-up task, they may not all be assigned to the same driver.
This is an advanced feature and has been designed for companies that require a dependency structure to operate. If you are unsure if task linking is right for you, contact us and one of our Customer Success Managers will review your business model and needs.
Note: You can set up notifications triggered by the dependency structure. For example, set up a notification to send once the pickup task has been started. For more information please check out the "Dependency Notifications" section of the Communications and Notifications article.
Enable/ Disable Linked Tasks
To link/unlink tasks in the dashboard, you must first enable the feature. This can be done by checking Enable linked task management in the Add-ons tab of the Admin's Settings.
Link tasks together
To link a task via the dashboard, simply hold the option key (alt key if you are using Windows), select a task, and then hover your selection over the task that you wish to designate as a prerequisite. For more keyboard shortcuts, please refer to this article. After you release the mouse, the tasks will be linked together and their sidebar icons will update to indicate the link and direction of the dependency structure.
Task icons with a dot to the right of the pin have linked tasks that must be completed after. In other words, it is a "prerequisite" to those linked and must be completed before the driver can move on to the next.
Task icons with a dot to the left of the pin have linked tasks that must be completed before. In other words, they cannot be completed until all prerequisites have been completed first.
Assign Linked Tasks
Linked tasks must be assigned to the same driver. The dashboard will enforce this requirement unless they are explicitly separated via the API or within a task's edit window. To assign a group of two or more linked tasks to a driver, simply drag and drop one of the tasks and the remaining linked tasks will follow automatically.
To remove a task's link(s), simply click the task in question and all of its linked tasks will appear highlighted.
Right-click on the task to view a chain icon with the directions "Unlink this task". Click that option and the task will be removed from the link.
If you would like to remove all link relationships at once, right-click the task and select "Unlink All"…
You can also unlink tasks directly from the map. Simply right-click on a linked task pin on the map and all linked tasks will highlight. Then, select the "Unlink from all Tasks".
Create notifications for linked tasks
You can create custom SMS notifications that are automatically sent to your recipients when a driver has started and/or completed a task (pickup or dropoff) that has dependent tasks linked to it.
For more information, please review Dependency Notifications.