Skip to content

Inspired by a Paper Crane – 5 Steps to Creating a Cloud-Based KPI Tracker

The problem: Creating a method to automatically track a facility team Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

The measure:
In my not-so-distant past, I was in charge of a corporate facilities team. I needed to boost the team performance, and engage them as stakeholders, not just employees. Not an easy task in the Operations world.

The first step was to find a KPI to test on. That was easy. Our Canary in the Coalmine was the state of our conference rooms (we had a lot). When they were clean, neat and tidy, the team was organized, attentive and doing a good job everywhere else. When they were in disarray, you could bet that the whole place soon followed.

Conference room neatness became the test KPI. My next challenge was to create a tracking system that didn’t burden the team with extra work.

The goal:
I was chatting with one of my guys about origami. He jokingly said that they should leave a paper crane in a conference room every time someone checks it as proof. Yes! That’s when inspiration struck, I needed a way to track the teams efforts, reward their work, and make it as effortless for them as possible.

What if there was a system where they could send a text message every time they check a conference room. That’s it. Everything else, from the database, to the metrics, had to be automated. And in a world of tight budgets, it had to be free.

The method:

Step 1 – Create a designated Gmail account.

Step 2 – Add a free Google Voice number to it. In the settings, check the box that says “Forward text messages to my email.”



Step 3 – Have the team save this number in their phones and text the name of the conference rooms they check to it. Save their numbers in the Google Voice Address book so that they are identified when you receive the text.

Step 4 – Create an account on (If This Then That) and make a rule (‘Recipe’) that forwards any new email received in the new account into a Google Sheet (a cloud-based spreadsheet) as a new line.


– phew, almost done –

Step 5 – Now that you have a sheet as a database, you can pull and manipulate the data as you like to create a KPI dashboard. For the team, I created a basic leaderboard, and had a running game: the person with the most check-in’s at the end of the month won a prize.

The Outcome:

It was simple, but within 3 months, employee performance improved by 167%, and we had the numbers to prove it.


Our little game helped to build the most effective facilities team that ever worked in that company. This method, or some version of it, can create a free and effective SaaS tool, so try it out!

And if you need help setting up a basic KPI tracker, please feel free to contact me directly.

PS – for those worried about the team being dishonest with the texts: if you have a team that you can’t trust to be honest in something that small, then you really need to reconsider your hiring practices.

Published inLearn

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply