Hugh Pickens writes "While getting power cords, replacement keyboards, and other sundry computer accessories to employees who need them sounds easy enough, at many companies the process requires filling out order forms that can take IT departments days to fulfill. That's why Facebook CIO Tim Campos decided to take a more user-friendly approach to this common problem, installing custom-made vending machines around the Facebook campus that dispense computer accessories instead of snacks and sodas. When Facebook engineers spill coffee on their keyboard (a common mishap), they head to a nearby vending machine instead of hitting up their IT guy or just grabbing a replacement from a nearby cabinet. They swipe their badge, key in their selection and voila — a brand new keyboard drops down for them to take. According to Campos, they've reduced the cost of managing replacement accessories by about 35%. While products found in the vending machines are free, items are clearly marked with price tags so employees can see the retail value of each accessory they take. The new vending machines also require all employees to swipe their badge before making a selection. That means each and every power cord, keyboard and screen wipe they take can be traced back to their name, ensuring that the system won't be abused. 'I like the assumption that employees will do the right thing,' writes Alexis Madrigal. 'The swipe means that everyone's requests are tracked and I'm sure some algorithm somewhere is constantly sorting the data to see if anyone has pulled 10 sets of headphones out of the system.'"
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