NRP-CAS stands for Network Resource Planning and Contribution Accounting. Network Resource Planning (NRP) replaces Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
NOTE: Towards the end of 2015 development was split into 2 tracks:
- improvement of UI/UX for the server-based NRP-CAS
- exploration of p2p technology (blockchain and holochain) to rebuild the NRP-CAS on a truly p2p infrastructure.
Work on the server-based NRP-CAS takes place on github. An essay on design of the system. It was build on the REA model (resources, events, agents) influenced by Bob and developed by William McCarthy from Michigan State University.
During 2016 the Sensorica community started to seriously consider moving NRP functionality to Blockchain or Holochain technology. This effort was lead by Jim Anastassiou. The current effort is OVN 3.0
- In 2013 Bob found Sensorica and started to work out a web application from these spreadsheets, bringing in his experience on supply networks (as opposed to supply chains) and manufacturing. We'll refer to this as server-based NRP-CAS
- In 2016 Jim took the initiative to explore blockchain technology as a support for a p2p and global NRP-CAS. We'll refer to this as p2p NRP-CAS.
NOTE: in some old Sensorica documents you might find only the term VAS (value accounting system). The term NRP-VAS started to be used in 2015, and was replaced by NRP-CAS in 2017.
There are now five versions of NRP-CAS:
- The original NRP, which Sensorica is using now
- the Freedom Coop fork, integrates Faircoin
- django rea
- the GoPacifia fork of the Freedom Coop fork
- Chris Troutner's fork of the Sensorica version
- Bob and Lynn fork of the Freedom Coop fork - development
The P2PValue project made a comprehensive study about commons-based peer production networks in order to extract basic, high level design requirements for IT infrastructure to support their activities. Their results came out in 2016. This project was continued with the p2pModels project.
Agent-centric and p2p NRP-CAS
This will be the next generation NRP-CAS, making the server-based NRP-CAS obsolete. See Bob's document Comparison of 3 P2P protocols.
Current work within and around Sensorica is captured here.
The server-based NRP-CAS
Functionality - open doc
UX/UI of the server-based NRP-CAS
Open the NRP-VAS UX and UI page
Resource management on the server-based NRP-CAS
There are many kinds of free open source inventory software applications available for download on the Internet. They include Compiere, Openbravo, BlueErp, Opentaps and NolaPro.
The NRP-CAS system has its own inventory system, which is intimately linked with other modules of OVNi and feeds into the value equation. The system allows a network of agents to create a pool of shared physical resources that takes into consideration different property regimes and access rules. See more on Rules related to the use and sharing of materials. Every time an agent uses or consumes a resource in a process and logs that event for the process in the NRP-CAS, a contribution event is created for the owner of the resource.
- Transparent - Public access to see the available resource.
- Decentralized - Anyone can contribute with resources. Access is governed by rules that are designed to maximize efficiency of the value system.
- Allows use as contribution (for fluid equity), exchange (payment for use) and both
- Allows scheduling and coordination
- Links to the Reputation system for restricting access in case of abuse
- Treats usable and consumable physical resources,
- ... add more
The server-based NRP-CASprocess, which can add new items to the inventory, subtract items, augment or diminish quantity. Processes have outputs that can be material resources kept in inventory, like new prototypes or products for example. They can also consume and use resources. The inventory can also be updated by purchasing (see below).
Old spreadsheet-based NRP-CAS
The first version of the system was project-centric and was implemented using Google Spreadsheets. This File:Materials SENSORICA.pdf is a print of the Materials page on SENSORICA's website taken on Dec 06, 2012. We tried to harmonize the data structure in these spreadsheets, in order to make it easier move items from one file to another. We also tinkered with Google Scripts to automate the transfer of data from one file to another one, but this didn't go too far, because we started working on our new system which you can find on github. Until the new system is up and running we'll continue to use our spreadsheets and move data manually.
For materials used in R&D and manufacturing the system is composed of
- a Materials to order - Master Document, where everyone posts needs. Once in a while, someone gathers things to order and makes a purchase.
- every prototype/product has its own parts list (see example for one Mosquito prototype). In the new system, this list is replaced by Recipes.
- documents containing lists of suppliers
- a list of suppliers is also maintained on Diigo, where SENSORICA affiliates can add comments, tags, etc.
A webpage called Materials was created on the website and the Materials to order - Master Document was embedded in it. SENSORICA affiliates can interact with the spreadsheet if they are logged into their account. The Materials page is public. It also contains links to lists of suppliers.
Parts lists for prototypes and products are linked to or embedded in Project pages.
For pool of shareables, the system is composed of :
- spreadsheets for tools and equipment, every spreadsheet representing a category: electronics, photonics, etc.
- a spreadsheet to record spending on tools and equipment for the lab, called "Montreal labonline expenses"
- a spreadsheet called "Stuff for Office-Lab"
Samples to be processed is another spreadsheet that was created to manage samples received from customers or partners to be processed by us. A document was created to explain how to deal with samples. Pictures of samples are made at their arrival. The spreadsheet records their processing and the return to the customer.
A shelf with books was installed at CTS SENSORICA labonline, in Montreal. The Books at CTS labonline in Montreal spreadsheet was created to manage these items. If someone takes a book he/she has to record that.
Before the second version of our infrastructure we did a poor job keeping inventory. The need was not really there, since we were still in R&D mode.
Demand and supply management for the server-based NRP-VAS
Purchasing system on the server-based NRP-CAS
Still underdeveloped within the NRP-VAS.
The server-based NRP-CAS case
In the current version, there is no automation for direct purchasing from suppliers with payments. The purchasing is done outside the system and the purchase event is logged as a Purchase contribution. The logging process creates or updates a resource in the inventory, if necessary. The Purchase contribution can be split into many smaller and individual contributions, which allows for crowdfunding of resources, i.e. many individuals can contribute a bit each to a large purchase.
Spreadsheet-based system implemented by SENSORICA
A webpage was created for the lab (only one at the moment when this paragraph was written), which had embedded in it a graph extracted from a spreadsheet made to keep track on tools and equipment spending for the lab (called "Montreal labonline expenses"). See File:Montreal labonline SENSORICA.pdf. This page also embedded the Stuff for Office-Lab spreadsheet, which was built to coordinate purchasing of tools and equipment. Once a purchase is made, the data is transferred to the Montreal labonline expenses spreadsheet. The action of purchasing something is also logged into the value accounting system as a financial contribution.
Feedback on the old materials purchasing system
About the Materials to order - Master Document
[feedback from Tibi, Dec 06, 2012]
I like the fact that everyone can see what's needed. We use a Google Spreadsheet to manage purchasing, and one can subscribe to changes. Every time someone adds items to it, or modifies an item, every one else who subscribed to this doc get's notified by email. The comment function also gets used a lot. Some of us would ask questions in context about a specific product or about some of its features, or even give some advice.
The spreadsheet also makes it possible for SENSORICA members to cluster orders together to save on shipment and even on cost. Someone has the habit of sending an email to the group every time he orders something, in case someone else needs something form the same supplier. I find the spreadsheet much more convenient, because this issue can be resolved in there, without adding more noise to the mailing system.
I also like to have the links to the supplier right next to the item to order.
I suppose in the future we'll have a list of things to buy, with filters on it, by type of product, supplier, etc. This list would be populated manually, one item at the time, or from Recipes. Every product will have suppliers associated with them, which are rated by the community in for lead time, quality, distance, etc. Members will be able to cluster items together. Optimizations can be made for cost, environmental concerns, etc. Users would and press a PURCHASE button and orders will be sent, if a relation is already established with the supplier, or by email... The PURCHASE action would also update the value accounting system with a financial contribution. This supposes that every item in the list of things to buy are already associated with projects, which would be the normal procedure of entering things to buy in the system.
Project and task management on the server-based NRP-CAS
Allows planning and tight coordination of processes. Gives a context to processes. Go to the Project and task management page.
Contribution accounting on the server-based NRP-CAS
See the Contribution accounting system page.