You thought you have seen it all in vending machines - drinks, snacks and even live crabs. Adhering to its reputation for innovation, Facebook introduced three vending machines that dispense computer accessories such as screen wipes, keyboards and power cords for its employees.
Facebook Chief Information Officer, Tim Campos, the man behind this creative move, wanted to minimize the paperwork process required by employees to fill out for IT departments that can stretch for days to complete. His initial idea was to put these accessories into cabinets for easier access by employees. To keep track of the inventory, he installed digital kiosks next to the cabinets so that employees could swipe their passes and indicated what they took. The idea took off with a bad start as people rarely indicated what they took.
Tim Campos revised his idea after his assistant saw an iPod-dispensing vending machine at an airport. In just six weeks, his team collaborated with a manufacturer to make these machines. Employees now can just swipe their badges, enter their selection and the item will be dispensed.
While employees do not need to pay for the items they select, each item is tagged with a price tag so that the employees know how much each accessory cost. This not only prevents the system from being abused, it also promotes employee accountability as the transactions on the machines can be traced to their names. According to Campos, this idea also helped the company cut the cost of managing replacement accessories by about 35%.
There are plans to install two of such machines per floor and introduce more expensive items such as phones and computers at Facebook's new headquarters in Menlo Park.
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