Clichés are True

Let’s start first with the cliché:

Somewhere between the phrase “Garbage In, Garbage Out” exist useful data sets that come in various shapes and forms: be it free-text deferred defect descriptions recorded by your line maintenance technician or man-hours recorded against a standard MPD task in a hangar.

The quality of these inputs is often disregarded on face value due to inconsistency of source data feeding into Excel sheets owing to the nature of complexity of different systems in use or something as fundamental as human error.

However, decisions are not made in thin air, but informed decisions are made from data and information that one has access to and is accurate. Achieving tangible conclusions requires several layers on top of the data surface, and a skeleton below that harmonizes data standards. 


  • You finish your monthly reliability report
  • Confident you know just the charts to show in the upcoming monthly review board.
  • You get to the meeting and there are questions that the charts in the reliability report doesn’t give answers right away.
  • The system engineers ask to see a different visualization to answer their new questions.
  • And now you have to start all over with collecting data from the MRO software, extracting this to Excel and build a chart.

Below we give 5 reason's what Excel can't do and why it's time to change:

1. Integrate all your Data

Independent of the size of your airline or MRO, chances are, you’ve got data everywhere. It’s not just in Excel, in several different systems but maybe even still in paper-based form.

Having data in different places is not just disadvantageous in ensuring complete datasets for analysis, it also poses significant risks in data definition mismatches that prevent correct analysis to be done.

Assessing data in Excel, be it through complex models or simple filters, can reveal insights previously unknown. But combining sources of information can make these insights more revealing.

Considering what different data sets can offer in conjunction is often invisible when analyzing data: there is potential for uncovering untapped value and therefore dollar savings for your airline or MRO by connecting the dots.


Assessing reliability behavior of components when fit to a particular aircraft while flying a certain route between two cities in a harsh environment can feed back to Supply Chain the quantity of safety stock that must be held in warehouses over a period of time depending on the projected utilization.

2. Visualization

Data visualization uses pictures to understand data. It is not itself about insight, but rather, about communicating insight. Visuals add a component to understanding that text cannot, and that is speed. Data visualization can communicate more information in an easy and fast to read way than number-based tables and spreadsheets. Sure, Excel does let you create some basic, built-in charts, but in today’s world, these standard graphs are just table stakes, and the real data wins are found in multiple types of advanced visuals.

Utilizing visuals to look at a trend for an individual per tail case, destination related issues or fleet wider reliability issues, gives you the ability to forecast and plan appropriately. Simply by understanding patterns throughout time you can make more informed decisions about the future.

3. Prebuild Dashboards

It’s never fun not to know the answer—especially in a meeting where you’re trying to solve a problem. Set yourself up to answer questions from your engineering manager on the fly, by using interactive visualizations and a wide range of prebuild reliability analytics dashboards.

Interactive dashboards with a current data feed can enable important reliability analysis, such as drilling down to lower level ATA chapter, frequently removed components, deviating MTBUR’s, rogue units or even maintenance tasks escalations. Hence enabling you to answer the unanticipated questions immediately with a few mouse clicks.

4. Automatic Data Feed

As you probably know, your Excel sheet is only good until your next data extract or update. What if you have pre-build dashboards for your reliability analyses and these stay up-to-date with all your data sources based on a time schedule you can set yourself?

Data can be from the last 12 months, this quarter, this week, or this hour—your reliability analysis can be linked to your MRO software, and all sorts of other source systems used in your airline and automatically updates based on your pre-defined schedule. No manual updates anymore, no feeling of missing out any important data sets, everything goes automatically.

Even when you only have plain Excel files for data collection, with the right tool you can still upload these on an automated set schedule and ensure a continuous automatic data feed.

5. Automated Reporting

Event putting a basic reliability report together in an Excel sheet can take hours. Often you get to what you think is the end, and an email arrives with new data attached.

A typical monthly reliability report might include data exported from your MRO software system, more data extracted from your separate delays database, and yet more data from maintenance findings reports. With Excel, you may spend hours on each set of data trying to connect the dots, making them seem unified, and then pasting them into your reliability report. It can be much simpler by using prebuild reporting functions.

By using prebuild reporting functions there is no need for manual data extraction and creation of visualizations. Instead of spending hours, days or even weeks on one report, you can now spend your time on deep analysis to increase for instance dispatch reliability and decrease unscheduled component removals to generate operational benefits for your airline.

What to do next

You don’t have to ditch your Excel sheets all together and right away; however if your airline’s fleet is increasing, or you spend days or even weeks on reporting, or your MRO software is not providing visualizations and reports you need it might be time for change.

EXSYN’s Avilytics solution helps to better understand the factors that matter most to aircraft availability, reliability and organizational efficiency. With real-time updates from your various source data systems, analytical insight is provided in simple dashboards and reports are provided by a simple mouse click.

Do you want to receive more information, or schedule a software demonstration of Avilytics?

Contact our colleagues Sander de Bree or Chandra Sekhar:

Sander de Bree - Founder & Chief Visionary - +31 (0) 6 1129 9270

Chandra Sekhar - Pre-Sales Consultant - +91 917 661 3074 /+44 793 556 8756