September 8, 2022
Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil and developer of retail automation robotics systems, has announced a production rollout of its multipurpose autonomous robots with Busy Beaver Building Centers, operator of 25 full-line home improvement centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. The company began a pilot program with Busy Beaver in October 2021, in which robots worked at a store in Delmont, Pa., managing more than 33,000 SKUs to improve operations and shopping experiences.
Busy Beaver said it fully embraced Electronic Shelf Labels to eliminate manual price changes, as well as more closely monitor in-store traffic and buying trends. The Delmont location is one of the first home-improvement stores in the U.S. to use digital price tags exclusively for its inventory, the company added.
“We relentlessly look for innovative ways to increase efficiencies and empower our associates to provide legendary customer service,” said Adam Gunnett, director of IT and marketing at Busy Beaver Building Centers. “The Badger team has done a great job of collaborating with us to optimize the robot’s functionality while working diligently with our digital price tag vendor to customize the tags so they could be more easily read and scanned in a timelier manner.”
Badger said the impact of inflation, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and upticks in spending across the home-improvement sector led to myriad operational challenges for Busy Beaver, including the pressure to handle a month’s worth of price changes in a week. To reduce this burden, Badger said it integrates pricing data collected during the robot’s daily inventory shelf scans with Busy Beaver’s digital price tag system using an open Application Programming Interface (API).
Additionally, the Badger mobile robots enable Busy Beaver to keep shelves fully stocked with the right mix of products at the right prices without overburdening employees. Previously, manual inventory checks took more than 80 hours per week, with several employees dedicated to the effort. Now, the robot scans all shelves and planograms each night and generates a report that takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes to review.
“Badger Technologies brings a lot of data-driven advantages to the retail industry,” said William “BJ” Santiago, CEO of Badger Technologies. “For Busy Beaver, we funnel all relevant and timely data from the store’s Point-of-Sale (POS) system directly into a dashboard that employees access on a tablet. Even their corporate merchandising team can access real-time data to visualize planograms for compliance without having to visit the store.”
Badger said it plans to deploy additional robots at other Busy Beaver locations to support associates to optimize store performance while elevating customer service. “The reaction from our employees has been very warm, inviting and thankful,” said Kevin Michel, general manager of Busy Beaver’s Delmont store. “It’s a game changer because they now can focus on being a salesperson, cashier or handling inventory control versus going and looking for thousands of items throughout the store.”