In this paper we present heuristic algorithms for the scheduling technician problem with soft time windows: given a set of customers with time windows and a fixed number of technicians, find a minimum-cost technician‘s scheduling. When the number of technicians is fixed, it can be impossible to obey all customer time windows. Therefore, this problem allows lateness at customer locations although a penalty is then incurred and added to the objective value. The objective of the problem is to service all customers while minimizing travel distance and lateness penalty sum of violating customer time windows.
Heuristic algorithm using the customer`s geographical properties and route improving heuristic algorithm using local search techniques are developed to solve the problem.
Proposed heuristic algorithms are implemented and tested on standard test sets from the literature, and comparisons are made with best known solutions.