Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How to Win When Packing Heavy Sports Equipment

Tips & strategies for shipping heavy items like sporting goods

Billions of dollars’ worth of sporting goods are sold in the U.S. every year. Market and consumer data experts Statista estimate that sales will top $48 billion in 2018. While in-store purchases will account for a sizable percentage of that volume, much of the merchandise will be bought online and shipped.

Getting those items from the distribution point to the consumer safely is critically important to a sporting goods store’s success.

Why Proper Packing Matters

Many of the sporting goods items shipped to customers are large, heavy, and often non-standard in shape. From exercise equipment and free weights, to skis and snowboards, packing them properly is important for a number of reasons, including that it:
  • ✔ Helps prevent damage
  • ✔ Minimizes returns and credits
  • ✔ Creates a positive impression with customers and promotes future purchases
  • ✔ Makes packages more secure and less prone to rip-and-replace thefts
  • ✔ Helps protect package handlers from injuries related to packaging failures
In short, using the right packing materials and techniques is an investment in enhancing your reputation and growing your business. And when compared to the cost and consequences of using inferior supplies, you could say it’s a slam dunk!
“Using the right packing materials and techniques is an investment in enhancing your reputation and growing your business.” TWEET THIS

9 Strategies for Preparing Heavy Items for Shipping

Protecting heavy or odd-shaped items during shipping requires that you use the appropriate cartons and sealing material, as well as the right packing techniques. Follow these tips to help ensure that your packages remain safe and secure until they are opened by your excited customers:

1. Choose the right size of carton.

A carton that is “just big enough” probably is not big enough. You’ll need to have room for adequate product padding and void fill.

2. Use water-activated tape.

Also known as paper tape, or gummed tape or Kraft paper tape, water-activated tape (WAT) creates an actual bond with corrugated boxes, rather than simply sticking to them. This ensures boxes remain strongly sealed no matter what kind of conditions they encounter on route. Regular plastic, pressure-sensitive tape may lose adhesion in hot or cold, or dry and dusty environments. 

3. Use fiberglass-reinforced WAT if needed.

For packages that are heavy, strands of fiberglass embedded in the tape provide the added support needed for product safety. 

4. Provide packers with a UL-listed WAT dispenser.

The more efficient you make the packing process the more likely it will be done properly. A well-designed and safe dispenser gives packers the properly prepared tape they need to ensure strong sealing. 

5. Include plenty of padding.

If there is any room within a package for an item to shift during transport, it will. Excess interior carton space can cause damage to the product and/or the box. Use appropriate packaging material, such as air pillows, to cushion the item.

6. Divide extra-heavy shipments.

It’s much better to break a shipment into two or more boxes if sending it in one might exceed the limits of the box’s structural integrity.

7. Have custom boxes designed.

If you are shipping odd-shaped items on a regular basis, it may be worthwhile to have special boxes developed, rather than trying to use workarounds with other containers. Not only will this better protect the item; it makes a positive impression with your customers.

8. Perform a final inspection.

It’s always a good idea to give a package a careful look before you hand it off to the shipper. Catching and correcting any flaws before a box goes out the door can save you time and money later.

9. Have an ample supply of the right supplies on-hand.

Nothing increases the odds of a packaging failure like having to improvise when you run out of the appropriate boxes or WAT.

Take the Stress Out of Sporting Goods Shipping

Sending heavy sporting goods out the door in marginal packaging can leave you wondering if your products will make it to their destination safely. Using the supplies and processes noted above will help prevent damage and provide customers with an exciting unboxing experience when they receive their purchases. Learn more about WAT.
Which tape dispenser is right for you? GET STARTED
[This post republished from the Better Packages Blog]

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

4 Powerful Benefits of Branded Water-Activated Tape

IPG - Printed Water-Activated Tape

In today’s competitive business world, having a strong, recognizable brand is crucial to your success. Why does effective branding matter?

  • ✔ People who become familiar with your branding can quickly spot it and will gravitate toward it.
  • ✔ Seeing your branding recalls the positive interactions people have had with your company, and emotion helps close deals.
  • ✔ Your branding is a source of pride and confidence for your employees and business partners.
You brand your website, brochures, and other marketing materials. But, another excellent place to capitalize on your brand power is the water-activated tape you can use to seal cartons. Not every company thinks to do this. But those that do, find it to be a tremendous source of brand awareness.

Water-Activated Tape Basics

Water-activated tape (WAT) offers many benefits over plastic tape and is the distinct favorite among packers who have used both. Also known as gummed tape or paper tape, WAT comes in a wide variety of styles. 
“Water-activated tape (WAT) offers many benefits over plastic tape and is the distinct favorite among packers who have used both.” TWEET THIS
With just one strip, WAT creates a secure, tamper-evident seal that keeps a package closed and deters theft. Applied from a water-activated tape dispenser rather than a hand-held tape gun, using WAT prevents repetitive motion stress and related injuries.
WAT can be used in scenarios where plastic tape is ineffective, including dusty, cold, and hot environments and where supply chain security and the reassurance of your product delivery is necessary.  And most importantly when it comes to branding, WAT can easily be printed with logos and verbiage.

Advantages of Branding Your Packages with Printed Water-Activated Tape

  1. A more finished look. Packages sealed with a single strip of printed WAT have a clean, professional look. By contrast, when multiple strips of plastic tape are used to seal a carton, the presentation is typically rough and amateurish—not the kind of impression you want your brand to make. Using just two strips of tape (carton top and bottom) saves you money too!
  2. Greater marketing bang for your buck. You can brand your packaging by having your logo printed on boxes. However, it is much less expensive to print your brand on WAT.  In addition, if you are printing on cartons, you need a variety of carton sizes printed with your logo, increasing the cost even more. Printed WAT can be used on any size carton, meaning that your marketing dollars go further with this tape.  
  3. Flexible promotions. It is also considerably easier for you to change your messaging on the tape, rather than the box. These changing messages can be communicated cost-effectively and allow for the prospect of a repeat purchase from the promotional message that appears ON the tape.
  4. Easier identification of lost packages. When a box is misplaced by the shipper, branded WAT can make it easier to find. When scanning a sea of cardboard containers, the ones bearing your brand stand out.

Start Using Branded Water-Activated Tape to Your Advantage

It’s a welcome bonus when a business resource gives you two benefits in one. From secure sealing to adjustable messaging, branded WAT can do exactly that. When you’re ready to start reaping the benefits of branding your packages as you ready them for shipping, we’re here to help. Contact us and let’s get you set up with everything you need to promote your brand on every box that goes out!

[This post republished from the Better Packages Blog]

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IPG Earns ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award

IPG is honored to be named an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence for 2018. IPG’s accomplishments will be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2018. 

IPG was named an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence for 2018

IPG, an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2009, is being honored for its work to integrate and promote ENERGY STAR tools and resources within its energy management program to help lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Key accomplishments in 2017 include:
  • Reducing energy intensity by one percent over 2016. Since 2009, IPG has saved more than $5 million from energy management.
  • Sharing energy management best practices with ENERGY STAR industrial partners to assist in energy benchmarking and encourage energy management.
  • Integrating three newly acquired manufacturing plants into the corporate energy management program.
  • Promoting ENERGY STAR resources to industry through numerous speaking engagements.
  • Continuing to serve as a voice for energy efficiency and management in the Danville, Virginia community by leading a chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers and hosting training for new energy managers.
  • Achieving the goals of the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry recognition at its Carbondale, Illinois plant three times, including in 2017 for an energy intensity reduction of 31 percent.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Caution! Is Your Water-Activated Tape Dispenser UL Listed?

Bottom line considerations are never more important than the safety of your employees operating the machinery.

A staggering number of packages are shipped by businesses and individuals every year. UPS alone handled 5.1 billion packages and documents in 2017. Regardless of the number your company contributed to that stream, when it comes to your packaging operations, you need equipment that increases both efficiency and effectiveness.

For example, you want water-activated tape (WAT) dispensers that help your team get more cartons sealed faster, and ensures that they are sealed securely with a single strip of Water-activated tape for a professional appearance. These factors contribute to a better bottom line. However, bottom line considerations are never more important than the safety of your employees operating the machinery.

Protecting Packers from Injury

Water-activated tape is more effective than pressure-sensitive tape (PST). But, to achieve that level of effectiveness, the dispenser uses two things that should never meet: water and electricity.
It also has a cutting blade that can potentially pose a danger to a packer. Consequently, it is critical that the equipment your employees use is thoroughly evaluated, tested, and vetted. In other words, equipment should be “UL listed.” 
“It goes without saying that your bottom line is never more important than the safety of the employee operating the machinery.” TWEET THIS

UL Listing: Your Assurance of Product Safety

As the need for uniform product safety testing and certification became apparent in the mid-1890s, Underwriters Laboratories® (UL) was founded for that purpose. Since then, the organization has been the leading authority and the “gold standard” in its field. Independent and not-for-profit, UL gives businesses and consumers the trusted safety information they need to make wise purchases. 
The organization’s detailed and stringent engineering safety standards mean that UL-listed products have been thoroughly evaluated and found to be safe when used as directed. And, UL evaluation and listing is not a one-and-done process. UL field representatives make unannounced visits to manufacturers at least four times each year to ensure that the listing standards are being continuously upheld.

Important Safety Features for a Water-Activated Tape Dispenser

Some of the kinds of water-activated tape dispenser features that UL requires are:
  • ✔ Detachable electrical cord with enough length to provide for operator safety and comfort
  • ✔ Flame-retardant plastic
  • ✔ Steel side frames
  • ✔ Zinc-plated stainless-steel parts
  • ✔ Thermal cutoff that prevents overheating of the motor when the unit is used for long periods
  • ✔ Safety interlock switch that disables the cutting blade when the front cover is open
 These items, along with the use of the latest manufacturing best practices, result in devices that deliver exceptional product safety. 

Protecting Employees Protects Your Business 

Your number one priority when it comes to product safety is, no doubt, protecting your employees. But, there is no denying the impact that accidents have on the company. Injuries cost U.S. employers tens of billions of dollars annually.
From sick days to legal fees, the expenditures related to an injury can add up quickly and have a negative impact on your operations. So, by providing individuals with UL-listed equipment, you are not only reducing their risk of injury, you are helping to ensure the company's financial health.
The Better Pack 555 electric tape dispenser earned UL certification when it was launched in 1959, and the line retains the designation today. With each innovation and upgrade, the equipment is reviewed by UL for assessment. In fact, Better Packages is unique in our industry when it comes to commitment to product safety: Better Packages is the only water-activated tape manufacturer whose products are UL approved and listed.
Looking for a water-activated tape dispenser that combines state-of-the-art features with outstanding safety? To learn more about our advanced, safety-certified product line, contact us today.

[This post republished from the Better Packages Blog]

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Challenges of E-Commerce for Sporting Goods Retailers

Ten billion dollars. That was the aggregate spending on sporting goods online in 2015. For several years, the sporting goods industry has been one of the top industries involved in online purchases, according to US Department of Commerce. And there’s no sign of that slowing down. That means sporting goods retailers will be shipping a lot of athletic footwear, exercise equipment, licensed sports merchandise and athletic apparel in the years to come.
Sporting goods have been among the top online purchases, and there’s no sign of that slowing down

Sporting goods retailers will be sending those goods to some of the most finicky customers there are; the young, tech-savvy, and restless members of Gen Y and Gen Z. These consumers want today’s hottest athletic wear and trendiest sneakers. And they want them now. Hence, the expanding role of e-commerce sales in this sector.

The sporting goods industry is one of the most competitive and dynamic industries. Those involved must keep up with constantly changing models of sports equipment, rising competition and consumers who are both cost-sensitive and tech-savvy enough to shop for the best deals. Not to mention the seasonality of the market.

Shipping such high-priced, theft-worthy and sometimes heavy items requires a secure carton. One that can pass through the supply chain intact. One that can protect against the twin hazards of theft and environmental conditions. That’s where water-activated tape comes in.

Let’s take a look at each of these hazards and ways to cope with them:

Theft Thwarted – The lure of getting their hands-on today’s hottest sneakers may be too much to resist for someone in the supply chain. To make sure that hot pair of sneakers makes it to the customer who ordered them online, shippers will need a theft-resistant box. One that can’t be easily opened without leaving evidence. Water-activated packaging tape is tamper-evident and forms a complete bond with the carton itself, allowing for maximum strength and security. Because the adhesive actually bonds to the carton, once someone tries to remove it there is very visible evidence of their attempts.

Supply Chain Endured – Moving from warehouse to truck and hand-to-hand means a carton filled with baseball caps and baseballs needs to be tough. Water-activated tape can be reinforced with fiberglass fibers. These give extra strength to the seal. So, no matter how high those boxes are stacked in the truck or how many times they are exposed to the environment, the tape’s seal holds. It holds through the cold of winter and the humidity of summer. This means the Red Sox fan will get a cap that looks as good on his head in Fenway Park as it did on the retailer’s website.

Heavy Cartons Sealed – Many sporting good items ordered online are heavy.  Whether it’s a set of kettle bells for someone’s at home workout or 40 hockey sticks for a varsity hockey team, the pressure put on the box can be significant. When testers stressed cartons sealed with water-activated tape, it took 60 pounds of pressure for the cartons to break. By contrast, when the cartons were sealed with pressure–sensitive tape, it took only 16.8 pounds of pressure to open them. Those were the conclusions of an industry-leading testing and verification company, SGS North America. Intertape Polymer Group (IPG) and its brand, Better Packages, commissioned the tests to help customers compare the performance of water-activated tape and pressure-sensitive tape.

And there’s another benefit for shippers. Water-activated tape offers e-commerce shippers a way to support their brand. In a sector as competitive as athletic wear and equipment, your brand is everything. Why shouldn’t the box that brings those yoga pants promote the brand that brought them to the customer? It can. Water-activated tape can be custom-printed to show off your logo, your slogan, seasonal offerings or even messages that encourage your customers’ fitness journeys. It’s a branding opportunity that many online shippers miss.

The growth of e-commerce in the sports and fitness arena shows no sign of slowing. And chances are you’ll be challenged to meet the demands of these increasingly sophisticated customers in new ways in the coming years. Doesn’t it make sense to seal those orders to protect the excitement and happiness you created them to deliver?

Like to learn more about tape performance and shipping? Download this FREE ebook for tape dispensing packaging solutions

Better Packages | Water-Activated Tape Dispensers and Tape

Better Packages offers a complete line of water-activated tape dispensers. Its parent company, Intertape Polymer Group, sells a full line of Central® brand water-activated tape, including reinforced and non-reinforced tape. In addition to providing products for packing stations, the companies help their customers analyze and solve their packing station challenges.

[This post republished from the Better Packages Blog]

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Unique Demands of Shipping Fine Jewelry Purchased Online

Would someone buy a 5 carat diamond online? Or a strand of pearls? Leading companies in the jewelry business like Tiffany, Harry Winston and Mikimoto say yes. And they are already positioning themselves to take advantage of this accelerating trend. Others in the luxury jewelry business are jumping on the bandwagon too, as industry insiders forecast a growing trend towards online luxury jewelry sales.

Industry insiders forecast a growing trend towards online luxury jewelry sales

There’s no question that the fine jewelry market’s acceptance of e-commerce has been slower than other aspects of retail. That’s changing. “Growth in the global jewelry market is being fueled by the shift to e-commerce,” according to a piece in Forbes called “As Fine Jewelry Moves Online, The Market Sparkles.” The article cites statistics from Research and Markets that forecasts that the market for online fine jewelry sales will grow to capture 10 percent of all jewelry sales by 2020. Given that this market was $257 billion in 2017 (and growing at five percent a year), that’s a significant amount. Hence, the interest of industry icons like Tiffany & Co. in getting involved in online sales.

For retailers that want to jump into this market, there are significant challenges especially when it comes to protecting their precious cargo from the dangers of the supply chain. They will need to find ways to insure the security and safety of these expensive shipments as they travel to consumers’ front doors.

Retailers of fine jewelry need to know their customers’ purchases will arrive intact and safely. They need to feel confident that no one will access the carton’s contents during transport and that the integrity of the box is maintained.

Water-activated packaging tape in conjunction with a Better Packages’ electric water-activated packaging tape dispensers is a powerful tool to do that. It provides the security and strength that packages carrying such expensive items deserve and customers expect.

A Barrier Against Theft

Fine jewelry travels in a small package, placing it at high risk for theft. As these packages move through the supply chain, retailers need to know that they won’t be easy targets for theft. Water-activated packaging tape is tamper-evident and forms a complete bond with the carton itself, allowing for maximum strength and security.

A Protector Against the Elements

Water-activated tape is reinforced with crossing fibers and has an adhesive that “welds” to corrugate boxes. Water-activated tape has a starch-based adhesive that aggressively bonds to corrugated cartons, even in dusty or dirty environments. It protects against extremes in cold, heat, light and humidity that the shipment might be exposed to. This gives retailers the assurance that their packages will arrive intact and ready to delight their customers.

Get Ready for Growth in On-Line Jewelry Sales

Up-and-coming segments of consumers are online savvy and expect to get what they want with the swipe of their phones or a click of their mouse. Retailers of online fine jewelry will need to be ready to meet the expectations of this demanding group of consumers. Projections are that online jewelry sales will continue to flourish steadily for the next few years. Retailers who understand the challenges of shipping jewelry safely and securely will be in a position to take advantage of that growth.

Like to give water-activated tape a try? Request a FREE Sample

Better Packages | Water-Activated Tape Dispensers and Tape

Better Packages offers a complete line of water-activated tape dispensers.  Its parent company, Intertape Polymer Group, sells a full line of Central® brand water-activated tape, including reinforced and non-reinforced tape.  In addition to providing products for packing stations, the companies help their customers analyze and solve their packing station challenges.

[This post republished from the Better Packages Blog]

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Latest in Durability and Strength

IPG PE7 Polyethlyene Tape - PE Tape
IPG's PE7 Tape doesn't stretch like other PE Tapes
Polyethylene film tapes usually stretch a lot during application. This stretch is caused by its orientation during manufacturing when cast or blown. Because it has no scrim reinforcement normally found in duct tape (also PE film-based), PE tape will stretch, spreading the adhesive out across the surface of the film thus lowering the adhesion and grip over time. 

Stucco and polyethylene film tapes such as IPG's PE7 are manufactured differently and do not stretch like other PE film tapes. This innovation prevents loss of adhesion and grip – even on UNeven surfaces!

Jeff Coats
Director - Market Development
Intertape Polymer Group