Thursday, May 13, 2010

Human Powered Machines � Human Powered Network (HPN)

Human Powered Machines � Human Powered Network (HPN):

Human Powered Network (HPN)

A Project of Human Powered Machines (HPM)

Mission Statement: To promote decentralized fabrication of human powered transportation and infrastructure based on Human Powered Machines designs and methods.

HPN Purpose: To create an infrastructure that will facilitate a partnership that includes apprentices, CAT, HPM, and HPN colleagues, associates, and contributors.

Tiered System of Production

Upon completion of the Cargo Bike Framebuilding Apprenticeship Program, apprentices can become HPN partners upon approval of Human Powered Machines.

Human Powered Machines has created a system of tiers for those who have completed the HPM Apprenticeship Program. The purpose of this system is to allow apprentices to incrementally develop their shops and fabrication facilities. Through this system apprentices can begin to add value and generate income without large capital expenditures; for instance, an HPN partner with basic tools and a truing stand could purchase a complete frameset from HPM. They could then build their own wheelset and build up the frameset into a completed bike. Their labor, including wheelbuilding and installing components, is the source of their income. Over time, HPN partners progress from receiving completed bikes, and proceed in stages with fewer and fewer elements from HPM until they are constructing their own complete frames.

This system exists in strong contrast to the course of development of a typical beginning framebuilder, who is faced with needing capital for tools and equipment for a startup. Instead of being forced to begin from scratch, apprentices are trained thoroughly and have support from experts in many fields. They are also able to take advantage of continuous improvement across the network; when someone discovers a better or faster way of accomplishing a task, it won’t be long before everyone is aware of it.

The benefits of this system are manifold: products need not be shipped, the customer gets local fabrication with all the associated benefits, and users of our products are assured of getting the best the Human Powered Network, with its multiple partners, can provide.

More information and thoughts on Jan’s blog.