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Merlin Analytics helps Dayla Drinks unlock opportunities in their data

18th September 2020

Merlin Analytics helps Dayla Drinks unlock opportunities in their data

Read more on how Merlin Analytics powered by Phocas, have helped Merlin customer Dayla Drinks use Business Intelligence and data analytics to see where they were losing money and focus on customers and areas of the business that needed the most attention in the article below written by Merlin partner Phocas.


Independent drinks distributor making most of access to data analytics to identify and capitalize on areas of growth and profitability.

Dayla Drinks is a 169-year old independent on-trade drinks distributor specializing in the procurement and distribution of over 3,000 products such as beer, spirits and soft drinks. The company has 115 employees that serve over 2,000 outlets across the southeast and midlands of the United Kingdom, including hotels, bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Over the past 10 years, the company has started to embrace business intelligence, developing and improving its interaction with software and the data that it generates.

Struggling to execute vision for data

“We recognize how important data is to our business, especially one like ours that ultimately provides services to customers…We generate so much data that we should be using to improve our business. Now it’s time to identify how to use the information and put it into best practices.”

James Lapham, IT & Finance Director for Dayla Drinks.

Despite a commitment to BI, the company was struggling to execute its vision for data using their existing Analytics Software.

Lapham indicated that the tool wasn’t flexible enough and too standard in its operation. The data transfer was a manual process and it was too difficult for users to extract value from the information.

Because of the difficulty to use the software, Dayla’s salesmen were primarily using their previous BI tool as a CRM solution to track calls. The actual analysis of data wasn’t happening.

“We needed our salespeople to use BI to identify problems and take action, but there was a reluctance because it was a difficult system to use. This reluctance is ultimately why we started to look for a new BI solution and what led us to Merlin Analytics.”

James Lapham

Merlin introduced Dayla Drinks to Merlin Analytics.

A more powerful BI solution

“When Merlin Analytics came along, our eyes were opened to what was really possible. It spoke to our particular business practice and industry, and it was quite clear that the Merlin Analytics powered offering was a more powerful system with more capabilities than what we had with our previous BI tool.”

James Lapham

Lapham and his team noticed quickly the ability to integrate different strands of information from different areas of the business into a single database. This allowed them to quickly measure the profitability of deliveries and dive much deeper into the data than was previously possible.

“We were used to just sales data or invoice data that was regimented in how it was structured. All of the flexibility that Merlin Analyics offered, and the ability to bring together all the different pieces into a single dashboard, really opened our eyes.”

James Lapham

Shining a light on opportunities

After a smooth integration with Merlin, Dayla rolled out Merlin Analytics to its sales and stock control teams with a goal to push it out to other areas of the business, including distribution and finance at a later time.

The software’s early impact on sales was quick and positive. The sales team immediately recognized the benefits of the dashboards, doing things that used to be an arduous and tedious process automatically and with minimal effort.

In addition, Merlin Analytics shined a light on existing customers that were not using the full range of products that Dayla offered. Armed with the information, the sales team started to push out to customers the products that they had been buying from competitors.

“In addition to increasing the variety of products that customers were purchasing from us, the biggest benefit of Merlin Analytics was the analysis of our margins. This enabled our sales team to see where we are losing money and focus on customers and areas of the business that needed our attention the most.”

James Lapham

Salespeople also have iPads and can access Merlin Analytics from wherever they are in the country, with the flexibility to review customer data at any time.

“That quick access to data, the visibility into what’s going well, and where there are gaps in the market is very useful,. We are making the most of that access and capabilities.”

James Lapham

Increasing controls over inventory

In addition to management using Merlin Analytics to monitor and measure the work of the sales team, and overall measure company performance, Dayla’s stock controls team is benefiting from increased controls over inventory.

“The beverage industry is a unique industry with huge seasonal spikes in summer and Christmas, making predicting specific trends quite difficult. We don’t like to have large stock holdings, so it’s important that we keep on top of our inventory and manage stock, so we have the right levels at the right times.”

James Lapham

From a margin perspective, Merlin Analytics helped Dayla identify specific brands of spirits that it was receiving from an indirect source that was not making enough margin even as volumes increased.

Dayla started to service the brand directly from a supplier at a much-reduced cost, delivering immediate benefits, that they could pass on to their customers.

Access to areas of growth and profitability

“Merlin Analytics is allowing us to track our sales performance, measure against the industry as a whole, and more importantly, measure our improvement in specific sectors. It is enabling us to reinvest in our company, so we can expand. We now have access to valuable insight into areas of growth and profitability, as well as the ability to tackle areas of concerns. Although we distribute drinks, we are a service provider, and there are several areas of data that we can add to Merlin Analytics. We really are just scratching the surface of what we can do with this solution.”

James Lapham

For more information on Merlin Analytics, you can visit our partners page or go directly to the source here.

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