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09/08/2022

Busy Beaver ensures shelf compliance with robots

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Busy Beaver
Busy Beaver is using Badger robotic technology.

A regional home improvement retailer is automating SKU management in its stores.

Busy Beaver Building Centers Inc., operator of 25 full-line home improvement centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, is following up a successful pilot of Badger Technologies multipurpose autonomous robots with full deployment at a new store in Delmont, Penn.

At the Delmont store, robots seamlessly manage more than 33,000 SKUs by automatically reading electronic shelf labels (ESLs). Busy Beaver integrates pricing data collected during the robot’s daily inventory shelf scans with its digital price tag system using an open Application Programming Interface (API).

This enables the retailer 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.  

Additionally, Busy Beaver leverages the Badger Technologies multipurpose autonomous robots to more closely monitor in-store traffic and buying trends.

“We relentlessly look for innovative ways to increase efficiencies and empower our associates to provide legendary customer service,” said Adam Gunnett, director of IT & marketing for 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.” 

“The reaction from our employees has been very warm, inviting and thankful,” said Kevin Michel, GM of Busy Beaver’s Delmont, Pa. store. “It’s a game changer because they can now focus on being a salesperson, cashier or handling inventory control versus going and looking for thousands of items throughout the store.”

“Badger Technologies brings a lot of data-driven advantages to the retail industry,” stated William “B.J.” Santiago, CEO of Badger Technologies. “For Busy Beaver, we funnel all relevant and timely data from the store’s 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.” 

Plans are underway to deploy robots at additional Busy Beaver locations to support associates to optimize store performance while elevating customer service.

Woodman’s fills store inventory gaps with robots
Another independent regional retailer, employee-owned Woodman’s Markets, which operates 18 large-format grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois, also uses multipurpose robots equipped with the Badger Technologies Retail Insight solution. In 2020, the retailer began the widescale rollout of the robots to monitor product availability, verify prices, and deliver precise location data.

Woodman’s is able to have associates check shelves that the Badger-equipped robots determine to have empty spaces, compare missing items to inventory currently in stock at warehouses, and either order refills or replace out-of-stock goods with other surplus inventory.

The retailer is also able to provide the Badger solution’s data on where products are located on the shelves back to the warehouses. This enables Woodman’s to arrange products on pallets by the order in which associates pick them for placement in store aisles. Other uses for the Badger robots include ensuring planogram compliance.