May 22, 2013

Vending Machine with a Prick for the Conscience

This is an old story, but Facebook's offices have vending machines to dispense replacement computer accessories for employees.  They're free, but there are two things that make the employees think twice about just emptying the machine for themselves.  First, the retail price of each item is displayed so the employee knows just how much they're costing the company by grabbing one.  Second, they have to swipe their employee ID card for it to dispense an item.  This way, those that do abuse the system can be found fairly easily.

I really like this use of technology.  It indicates a level of trust of the employees to do the right thing - grab what they need and no more.  The employee is shown how much they're costing the company when they take one of these items so that they must morally justify it to themselves (and to not leave the power cord where the dog can chew it up in the future).  Also, there is more accountability than what you get from an unlocked cabinet with the equipment just piled up in it, ready to take.

And, it's good for the company.  They claim the cost of managing replacement computer accessories has dropped by 35%.  That's a lot of time that IT people can spend on projects instead of deciding whether or not to replace someone's keyboard and then running it out to them.

So, here's some praise for an excellent use of technology to make life a little easier for everyone involved and supports good moral choices.

No comments:

Post a Comment