The Sticky Truth About Tape

June 28, 2016

Take a look at your storage warehouse or loading dock. What do you see? In all likelihood, you see a lot of boxes, either prepped for shipment or prepped for storage. Whether that six-high stack of boxes is leaving your facility or hanging around until it’s needed, one thing is certain: those boxes need to stay secured and closed until they’re ready to be opened and unpacked.

Simple enough, right? Throw some tape on it and walk away satisfied with a job well done. Or… not so simple. In a few weeks or months, you might be fielding a complaint that your boxes opened during transport, or cleaning up a mess in your warehouse after your boxes popped open and spilled their contents. What’s the problem?

According to Neel Madhvani, AVP of Packaging for Staples Business Advantage, there are several potential problems. The first problem? You might have too many types of tape to choose from, leading to the wrong choice in the end. “There are 1,400 types of tape out there, but most of what you need can be done in 25 or 50,” he says. Too many choices can easily lead to your shipping and receiving staff using the wrong tape and ending up with a mess on their hands.

So what are the other factors to consider when your tape’s falling down on the job?

Use – What you’re planning on doing with your cargo has a lot to do with what kind of tape you should use. The box that will be sitting under your desk for a week will require a lot less than the box that will traveling cross-country. Looking for a long-haul adhesive? Consider a product with natural rubber adhesive—it’s perfect for long-term storage or long shipping trips.

Environment – Where is your tape being used? In a clean, climate-controlled environment, this might not matter much. But if your warehouse is in Buffalo in January (or in Arizona in August), it can have a definite impact. For hot environments, you’ll want tape with hot melt adhesive, and for cold environments, acrylic tape performs better. And cleanliness is a factor, as well—if you’re finding that your tape is failing due to dust and debris, it may be time to check ventilation and filtration systems in your storage area.

Vendor – You know you’ve picked the right tape for the job, and the right tape for the environment, but the same tape you’ve always depended on is failing you. What gives? It might be time to check the source. Have you changed suppliers recently? Has your vendor changed their product recently? While a tape might look the same, feel the same, and even have the same brand and specs as it always has, a product may have undergone changes that are just significant enough to hinder its effectiveness.

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