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Robots check inventory at Busy Beaver store

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — There are robots in the aisles of the Busy Beaver Building Center Irwin, Pennsylvania location. Retail automation company Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil, has launched a pilot program with Busy Beaver Building Centers, Inc., operator of 24 full-line home improvement centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. As part of the pilot, which is taking place at Busy Beaver’s store in Irwin, Badger Technologies multipurpose autonomous robots will monitor on-shelf product availability and verify prices for more than 30,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) while freeing sales associates to spend more time with customers.

“Technology is a key imperative in our mission to be the favorite neighborhood home improvement center in the communities we serve,” said Adam Gunnett, director of IT for Busy Beaver Building Centers. “We relentlessly look for innovative ways to increase efficiencies and empower our associates to provide legendary customer service, which is why the pilot with Badger Technologies is so exciting. We expect to demonstrate how Busy Beaver can keep our shelves fully stocked with the right mix of products—at the right prices—without overburdening our dedicated team members.”

Founded in 1962, Pittsburgh-based Busy Beaver Building Centers carry extensive inventories across a multitude of departments. Traditionally, manual inventory shelf scans were time consuming, requiring up to 80 hours weekly for staff to finish one complete scan of an entire store. In contrast, a Badger Technologies autonomous robot equipped with Badger Retail InForm software can complete daily storewide scans for out-of-stock and price-integrity issues within two hours, the company says. Moreover, Busy Beaver will be able to benefit from useful trending data to improve forecasting and prioritize replenishment.

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“Badger Technologies’ retail automation solutions close important data gaps that prevent retailers from getting an accurate picture of shelf conditions, buying trends and customer preferences,” said William (BJ) Santiago, CEO of Badger Technologies. “We complete storewide scans in hours, not days, and offer instant access to intelligent data to elevate shopping experiences and store profitability. We’re confident the pilot with Busy Beaver will prove our value proposition while demonstrating how innovative retail automation can complement their legendary customer service.”

During the past two years, Busy Beaver and the overall home improvement sector realized an uptick in activity as consumers undertook more home-based projects because of changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, spending on home improvements grew by more than 3% last year to reach nearly $420 billion, despite the fact that the U.S. economy shrank 3.5% during that same period. Still, pricing and inventory inaccuracies continue to impact all retail segments, resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue every year.

In addition to the pilot with Badger Technologies, Busy Beaver has been deploying other technologies, including expanded e-commerce capabilities, Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) and curbside pickup, as part of its multi-faceted customer-centric initiatives.

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