Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New Year’s Resolutions for Improving Your Packing Station

Making the most of your packing station
Want to start the new calendar year with better throughput from your packing station? We assembled a panel of four packaging pros from Better Packages and IPG to share their expertise on making the most of a packaging station.

Michelle Adams, Business Development Manager Omni Channel Fulfillment
Jeff Deacon, Sr. Director, Global Market Development
Rob Hoffman, Senior Vertical Sales Manager
Marc Schaible, Business Development Director, Omnichannel Fulfillment

Here are their suggested New Year’s resolutions for making your 2018 packaging station more efficient, productive and safer.

New Year’s Resolution #1: I will take a good hard look at my packing station to make sure it’s set up right.

Advice from the experts:

✓ “The most important consideration in setting up a packaging station can be summed up in one word: Space. Is there enough space for the pack station?” advises Hoffman.
✓ “You need to ensure that the packer has a safe work environment with minimal risk of injury,” suggests Deacon. Adams adds: “One that safely maximizes throughput.”
✓ Adding to that thought, Schaible counsels” Set up your packing station with workflow in mind.”

New Year’s Resolution #2: I will set up my packing station to avoid the most common mistakes companies make.

Advice from the experts:

✓ “The biggest mistake people make when setting up a packing station is not taking into consideration the space that is required to set to set up a pack station properly,” notes Hoffman.
✓ “People not only make it too small; they make it too inflexible so it can’t grow with their needs,” says Schaible.
✓ “Don’t make the mistake of not accounting for growth in volume and carton size,” says Deacon.
✓ “I’d say the biggest mistakes people make are: a lack of efficient design layout; not having any or enough automation; failing to consider mobile packing station and, building on the others’ comments, failing to consider future growth,” adds Adams.

New Year’s Resolution #3: I will follow the 14 Commandments of efficient, effective and safe packaging station design.

Space Planning – Make sure there is adequate space for the station and the type of product that will be processed.

Power Needs – Ensure there is proper electric service at the pack station, preferably hardwired in conduit and metal outlet boxes.  “Extension cord is a no-no!” advises Hoffman.

Plans For Comfort – Two things make for a more comfortable (and productive) shift: a padded floor and a fan (since most shipping areas are not air conditioned).

Ergonomics For All – Realize the pack station needs to be set up to accommodate all associates.  Shorter associates should not have to strain or step up on something to gain access to boxes or packing materials that are stored on shelves. Conversely, a tall associate should not have to bend down to conduct his or her work.

Packing Station Customization – Determine the workflow, power and connectivity hook-up needs. Have a storage strategy and customize your packing station as needs change.

Work Flow Rules – Design the pack station with work flow in mind to keep the associates’ movement to a minimum.  They should not have to walk very far to pick up a product to be packed or to restock their packaging supplies.

Efficient Layout – Identify proper layout of storage for ease of use of packaging supplies like boxes, bags, envelopes, labels, protective packaging like air pillows and other essential supplies.

Critical Equipment – Identify essential equipment needs to improve automation like scanners, computers, scales, electric or hand-operated water-activated tape dispensers and void fill, such as air pillows.

Mechanical Assistance Availability – Consider the possibility of mechanical assistance like lifts and conveyors if there is a need to ship heavy/bulky packages.

Bottleneck Planning – Identify and plan for potential bottlenecks in the order fulfillment process.

Shipping Options – Provide secondary packaging options that match the products being shipped.  For example there should be cartons on hand for hard goods and polybags for goods like apparel.

Productivity Enhancement – Increase packer productivity by creating exact order process steps to reduce inefficiencies in workflow.

Regular Maintenance – Periodically schedule process reviews and safety training.

Growth Planning – Plan for future growth.

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, produces 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.

Learn more about maximizing your packing station productivity by downloading this guide.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Challenge of Shipping Pharmaceuticals

Shipping pharmaceuticals brings with it a unique set of risks. Shipments must arrive on-time, intact and at the right temperature. When a non-medical shipment goes wrong, a customer can be disappointed. But when a pharmaceutical shipment doesn’t go as planned, it can affect the health of a patient. Yet with all the advances in pharmaceuticals, not much has changed in the last 30 years regarding the way pharmaceuticals are transported. Many are still moved from warehouse to retail stores by small regional carriers.

Lives may depend on packaging that guards the integrity of the drugs from the manufacturer to their destination. Package security is one of the most important keys to making that journey safely. Sealing the corrugated shipping carton with water-activated tape represents a critical packaging element. When combined with other critical packaging capabilities like containment and insulation, it gives shippers the peace of mind that their products will arrive safely and intact. It helps take care of two critical issues: Safeguarding outer packaging security, and maintaining the integrity of the package.

Packaging for Security

Keeping drugs secure during shipment is becoming a more and more complex issue.  “As the industry moves from ‘blockbuster’ products to personalized medicine, especially customized treatments for patients with rare diseases, expensive medications with low volume and high value thefts will become the shipping norm. These shipments present extreme challenges in their intrinsic value,” points out Sue Lee, former global technical portfolio manager for World Courier.  

Pharmaceutical shipments demand secure tertiary packaging to make sure they arrive in-tact. Using water-activated tape, also known as gummed paper tape, provides a layer of security evidence that informs the recipient of possible tampering in transit. Once applied, gummed paper tape bonds to corrugated cartons, creating a tamper-proof seal. A carton sealed with water-activated tape can’t be opened without leaving a broken seal.

Maintaining the Seal

Shipping pharmaceutical drug products­ can involve long, complex routes. Guarding against packaging breakdowns along the way is crucial, especially since many of these high-value drugs are shipped through local couriers that handle a variety of small packages. 

An inadequate carton seal is one of the most common causes of damaged shipments. Weight, handling and temperature conditions can cause regular plastic packing tape to separate and threaten the integrity of the packaging during transport. Water-activated tape gives pharma shippers the advantage of a strong and securely sealed carton. Reinforced water-activated tape also offers the security of a layer of fiberglass that’s embedded within for additional strength.

Want Carton Security? Request a Free Tape Sample

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping and Shipping Tips

There’s still time to get out those business and personal gifts, but deadlines are looming. To make sure you can still delight your recipients, make sure you pack carefully and ship on time.
shutterstock_last minute-1.jpg
Here are a few tips for last-minute gift-givers:
Shop Where They Cater to Procrastinators:  For those of us who put things off until the last minute, there is help. 
  • ✓ Amazon Prime Members receive receive free, 2-day shipping year-round, including right before the holidays. For those who aren’t members, it's not too late.  You can you sign up for a free one-month trial. That means, as long as you order by December 22, you’re in good shape.
  • ✓ Apple offers free, 2-day shipping on all their products. Just make sure you place your order by the end of the work day on December 22 if you want it there by the 24th.
  • ✓ Bed Bath & Beyond’s online cutoff for standard shipping (48 contiguous states) is December 19. Expedited shipping by 12/21 and express by 12/22. Shipping price varies.
  • ✓ Best Buy offers free, 2-day shipping during the holiday season. Order dates differ among product categories.
  • ✓ Macy’s will deliver free with orders over $99. Order by 12/22 and your items will get there by Christmas.
  • ✓ Target is offering free shipping during the holidays and will deliver by 12/25 if you order by December 20.
You’ll find a list of other retailers who cater to the last-minute shoppers in an article in the magazine Real Simple.
Know the Deadlines for Shipping:  Here are key shipping dates at major shipping carriers:
FedEx Christmas Shipping Deadlines (within the U.S.)
Dec. 15 – Deadline for FedEx Ground shipments
Dec. 18 – Deadline for FedEx Home Delivery shipments
Dec. 19 – Deadline for FedEx Express Saver shipments
Dec. 20 – Deadline for FedEx 2-Day and 2-Day A.M. shipments
Dec. 21 – Deadline for FedEx Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight, First  Overnight shipments
Dec. 25 -  Deadline for all FedEx SameDay shipments

UPS Christmas Shipping Deadlines (within the U.S.)
Dec. 18 – Deadline for UPS 3-Day Select shipments (delivered Dec. 22)
Dec. 20 – Deadline for UPS 2nd Day Air shipments (delivered Dec. 22)
Dec. 22 – Deadline for UPS Next Day Air shipments (delivered Dec. 23)
Dec. 24 & 25 – No pickup or delivery services.  (UPS Express Critical services available)

USPS Christmas Shipping Deadlines (within the U.S.)
Dec. 15 – Deadline for Standard Parcel Post shipments
Dec. 20 – Deadline for First Class Mail and Priority shipments
Dec. 23 – Deadline for Priority Express Mail shipments

Pack it Right. Gifts that are packed incorrectly risk being damaged in shipment or waylaid during transit.  FedEx alone expects to ship over 22 million packages, so you don’t want your package to get lost in the shuffle. 
The biggest packing mistakes people make are:
  •  Not using a new box. Using an old box could mean it won’t be strong enough to withstand the trip.  And if the box still has old shipping labels or bar codes on it, shipping machines might have trouble sending it to the right destination.
  •  Not padding the contents well with air pillows to cushion the journey. The rule of thumb is if a package isn’t bulging slightly when you push it down, it’s not packed securely enough.
  •  Not sealing the package right. Packages sealed with the wrong tape could open during transit. Use water-activated tape to seal packages and apply it in an H-pattern. This will assure you that the package will stay sealed during shipping.
Check out these additional last-minute shopping and shipping tips from NBC News.
Surprise and delight those on your gift list with a present that arrives on-time and looking special by shopping, packaging and shipping with the journey in mind. And Happy Holiday from all of us at Better Packages and the Intertape Polymer Group.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Get Rid of the Garbage!

As we reflect on 2017, we’ve all probably realized that although we may have accomplished a lot, we haven’t achieved all of our goals. Some missed opportunities can be attributed to common everyday garbage… and when I speak of garbage, I mean waste.

Lean Manufacturing
Understanding the waste in our manufacturing workplace can help us get rid of the garbage and make 2018 more successful. So, what are the types of waste we see every day in our business?

  1. Defects. Product errors.
  2. Over-production. Making too much or creating more services than our customers need.
  3. Inventory. Material not in use by our CUSTOMERS is waste.
  4. Over-processing. Too many extra steps in our processes.
  5. Transportation. Waste of moving goods.
  6. Motion. People moving around doesn’t add value. Period.
  7. Waiting. Product sits waiting for something to happen to it. Waste.

We’ve learned of these seven types of waste from Toyota® and many programs have evolved from our attempts to eliminate this “muda” (Japanese word meaning "futility; uselessness; wastefulness").  Eliminating these wastes, though, is the harder thing to do.

In 2018, let’s plan to “get rid of the garbage” by developing business practices and strategies that eliminate these wastes. Some simple things we can do include:

  • Improve scheduling. Turn off the tap and not produce too much (or do too much)
  • Link processes together.
  • Invest in smaller more flexible equipment.
  • Outsource product until volume manufacturing makes sense
  • Redesign work stations so people don’t have to walk from one machine to another to another.

Utilize lean processes including 5S, Kanban, Muda walks and Poke Yoke to reduce the waste in your business. 2018 will be more productive and profitable if we start the year off right!

Jeff Coats
Director - Market Development
Intertape Polymer Group

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

4 Ways Water-Activated Tape Performs Better Than Pressure-Sensitive Tape

Shippers that want to seal cartons quicker, more economically, stronger and more securely under a variety of conditions want to use water-activated tape (WAT).  Those were the conclusions of an industry-leading testing and verification company, SGS North America (SGS).  Intertape Polymer Group (IPG) and its brand, Better Packages, commissioned the tests to help customer compare the performance of water-activated tape (WAT) and pressure sensitive tape (PST).
Here are the findings of those studies:
Productivity - This test compared the number of cartons that could be sealed in a six-hour work day using water-activated tape and pressure-sensitive tape.  The results were that carton sealing productivity was 21 percent higher using a water-activated tape dispenser and water-activated tape compared with the use of a hand-held tape gun with pressure-sensitive tape.
Carton Sealing Material Used – This test looked at the relative amount of tape used to seal cartons, comparing water-activated tape with pressure sensitive tape. The results were that the average amount of tape needed to seal a single carton using water-activated tape was eight percent less than using pressure-sensitive tape.
Tape Integrity Testing – The tape integrity test examined how water-activated tape versus pressure-sensitive tape withstood a consistent force under a variety of atmospheric conditions. The researchers sealed cartons with both kinds of tape.  They used an Instron test machine to apply consistent, compressive force measuring how much pressure would be needed to do one of three things: 1) open the carton along the seal (2) tear the tape or (3) break the carton.
When the cartons were sealed with water-activated tape it took 60 pounds of pressure to cause the cartons to break. When the cartons were sealed with pressure–sensitive tape, it took 16.8 pounds of pressure to open the carton.  The testers noted that this force level is easily employed by the average person. They concluded that pressure-sensitive tape “…cannot secure the carton integrity or prevent the package (and its contents) from incursion.”
Adhesion Testing – This test compared how well water-activated tape and pressure-sensitive tape adhere to cartons after setting for five seconds and 24 hours.  The testers sealed four cartons with both types of tape.  In one test they removed the tape by hand after five seconds and noted how much of the carton was pulled off.  In the second test, they measured the adhesion after 24 hours. 
These were pass/fail tests assessing “tackiness” or bonding, which is a key component of carton tamper-evidence and security. 
Researchers concluded: “Water-activated tape has a strong adhesiveness to the cardboard carton surface while pressure-sensitive tape does not.”  Their results are summarized below.
After the testing was completed, the researchers at SGS summarized their findings this way: “These test results are significant and should lead water-activated tape to be the proper, best method in virtually all carton sealing applications.”
For a complete copy of the SGS report click here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Year of Disasters – What Comes Next?

2017 has been a very tough year for the United States with weather-related damage and natural disasters impacting practically the entire nation. Flooding, hurricanes, fire, and tornadoes have impacted more than half the people in the US and its territories. Disasters like these inevitably lead to property damage and even worse–human and animal health problems such as “mold cold,” infections, antibiotic-resistant injuries, meningitis, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) and even PTSD.

Moody’s Analytics estimates that hurricanes Harvey and Irma alone may cost the US economy $150-200 billion in damage and lost productivity, not to mention health-related costs.

Remediation (abatement) and restoration companies are responding to these disasters. They are setting up temporary locations and fortifying existing locations in the areas impacted by the disasters. Response has been tremendous.

Cleaning up and providing adequate safety measures are essential to the response. Items such as polysheeting and tapes are used to help provide safe conditions and limit exposure by helping to contain the harmful toxins such as mold, asbestos (exposed in old building materials that have been damaged) and fungi. Versatile tapes such as duct tape, polyethylene (PE) tape and masking tapes are essential in hanging barriers, sealing containment areas and tying up bags filled with old building material and waste.

To learn more about the appropriate tape solutions to use in disaster clean-up, see IPG’s Remediation & Restoration page.

Jeff Coats
Director - Market Development
Intertape Polymer Group

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Masking Tape Part III: Rolling Out the Next Generation

A 3-part series designed to help you make the right tape choice for your next big project.

Over the past couple months we’ve learned what masking tape is and how it’s made. We also talked about some additives that can be introduced to enhance the tape’s physical properties. In Part three of this series, we will briefly recap what we have already covered and discuss some new technologies that are trending in the industry as we move to the next generation of masking tapes that will help you achieve great results on the jobsite.

In Part one we talked about the composition of masking tape from a fundamental understanding.  “Masking Tape” (a term most often used categorizing paper tapes) comes from the act of protecting or masking an area prior to the application of painting, coating or surface treatment. The composition of masking tape is made up of three layers: Backing, adhesive and release coat. The backing is generally made from a saturated crepe paper. The two types of adhesives used are Acrylic and Rubber (or Synthetic Rubber). The release coat controls the tape’s unwind values, its adhesion to backing values and adhesive consistencies. In other words – the release coat allows the tape to come off the roll easily and not stick to itself.

In Part two we learned about chemical additives that enhance the tape’s physical characteristics, allowing the tape to be used for specific applications. We discussed clean line technology, UV inhibitors and operating temperatures. Clean line technology is an additive applied to the edge of the roll, forming a barrier or blocking agent so paint cannot seep under the tape. UV inhibitors are additives necessary for a tape to properly perform outside or directly on windows exposed to sunlight. Generally speaking, your painter’s masking tape will work at its optimum around +70°F but will do the job properly between +50°F - +100°F.

Paint and all related accessories go hand-in-hand
Next Generation
New technologies will continue to be a priority for tape companies. In recent years you have probably noticed more specialized products designed for very specific applications. Some of these new masking tapes are made for delicate surfaces, textured walls and outdoor use among other things. Some tape has been developed with different kinds of adhesive and non-traditional backings.

The paint industry is constantly evolving and more and more new products will be introduced in the coming years. Paint and all related accessories go hand-in-hand and need to work in conjunction with each other. As Low VOC paints are gaining popularity and more legislation in certain states are requiring their use, painter’s tape needs to be compatible.

The tape aisle at your local big box or hardware store will continue to add new and different masking tapes to their shelves. But don’t stress - in the past few months you’ve learned about masking tape and should be more comfortable walking through the daunting tape aisle and making your purchase decision.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Holiday Shipping Tips

Now is the time to gear up for the holiday shipping rush.

Here are a few stats from Adobe Digital Insights and First Data Corporation to get you in the mood for holiday 2017:
  • E-commerce transactions in 2016 rose 12% compared to 2015
  • Between November 1 and December 31 of last year, US shoppers spent $91.7 billion online
  • During that timeframe, all but four days had over $1 billion in E-commerce sales
Gear up for the holiday shipping rush with these holiday shipping tips

Analysts have every reason to think Holidays 2017 will only top those numbers! Here are a few shipping tips to help you get through the season:

Remember speed matters:

Always ship products as fast as possible. During the holidays, customers have high expectations and low tolerance for delays. The best-case scenario is for you to ship product out the same day the order was placed. To help you get those orders right out the door, keep an up-to-date list of shipping carriers and their pick-up times.

Work with your delivery providers:

Give your logistics partners a heads’ up about the timing and volume you expect during the holiday season well in advance. It will help them plan better to meet your needs (and the needs of your customers).

Use downtime to pre-pack commonly shipped items: 

Now’s the time to pre-pack commonly shipped items. Write the contents and weights on the surface of the box so you’re one step ahead of the rush.

Stock up on packing supplies: 

This is also the time to check your inventory of shipping supplies. Make sure you have a good supply of corrugated boxes in a variety of sizes; water-activated tape and dispensers and air pillows.  You don’t want to be caught short with holiday orders that outrun your ability to pack and ship them fast.

The carton matters: 

Use a new, unused corrugated box that’s the right size and strength for the contents. In their UPS Compass blog the company cautions against reusing boxes: “Reused boxes lose strength, especially at the corners, and are even more vulnerable if they get wet in the rain or snow."

Package products for a safe trip: 

Many holiday gifts are fragile, breakable and at risk of being damaged during transit. Take extra care to properly package products so you won’t have to foot the bill for costly replacements and deal with the social media reviews of unhappy customers. Consider double-boxing fragile items, leaving at least a two-inch void for air pillow cushioning for a safe ride. 

Leave space around what you are shipping. Ideally, packers should aim for at least two inches of space on all sides around the item being shipped so it can be protected with air pillows on all sides.

Pack heavies at the bottom: 

If shipping several items, put the heavier ones on the bottom. You don’t want to stack them on top of lightweight, fragile items.

Use the right packaging tape:

Make sure your tape is safe, secure and tamper- resistant water-activated tape. If it’s a larger carton, apply it in an “H" pattern at the top and bottom. The idea is to make sure your well-packed box stays secure during shipping so the items arrive safely to the destination. 

Bonus Tip: 

When shipping goods for the holidays, slip in a festive item like a candy cane or small, wrapped candy. That unexpected goodie could bring a smile to a harried gift-giver just trying to keep up with her holiday to-dos.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Shipping Wine? Here are a Few Tips

Shipping wine can be a delicate and tricky business. Since a 2005 decision by the Supreme Court, more and more states have allowed out-of-state licensed wineries and wine brokers to ship wine. In fact, only five states (Delaware, Kentucky, Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah) now prohibit the inter-state shipment of wine, according to the Wine Institute, the advocacy group for California’s wineries and affiliated businesses.
Once the legal hurdles of mailing have been overcome, licensed wine shippers have an even more difficult task: safely getting the fruits of their labors into the glasses of those who want to appreciate them.

Here are a few tips for making that happen:

Upright or Flat?

Experts recommend shipping most wines standing up. For older wines that have been aged on their sides, Wickman’s Fine Wine Auctions advises laying them flat. They have this advice: “If you have a collection of premium, good quality wine and you are certain of the purchase and storage history (provenance) and if you know it has been lying flat, undisturbed, then you can confidently ship it lying flat. However, wine that has not been stored in cellar-like conditions or in temperature control should be shipped standing upright as poorly stored bottles are more likely to leak if shipped lying flat.”

The Right Box

The right box for shipping wine is a strong, corrugated cardboard box with dividers designed to protect the bottles. Choose a box with a thick outer shell and sturdy separators if you’re shipping the wine standing upright. Do not use boxes that intended for other purposes. They won’t be able to protect and support the weight of a full box loaded with heavy wine bottles. Shipping this way can lead to wet and disappointed wine customers. “Multiple wine bottles in a box can be heavy and hard to handle, an undesirable combination for fragile items,” points out uShip’s Joseph Ho in a blog post for Grape Thinking. For those concerned with the safety and security of those shipments, we recommend sealing the bottom with water-activated tape. It offers the additional benefit of being reinforced with fiberglass fibers and provides a superior bond with the box.

The Right Protection Inside the Box

Make sure the bottles are tightly corked. This makes sure corks don’t loosen during shipping. A good preventive measure is to secure corks with wire cork cages. This is especially important for sparkling wines.

Wrap the bottles in two to three sheets of paper, rolling the bottle forward. As you roll, mold the top of the paper to the bottle's neck to ensure that it's well-wrapped. Then secure the paper with tape.

Place each wrapped bottle into the cell-divided box and make sure the bottoms of the bottles are well-protected. To ensure the bottles don’t move around in transit, fill the voids with air pillows.

Before fully permanently sealing the box, shake it gently to make sure you don’t hear the bottles clanging together. If the bottles are moving around too much, add extra packing paper or more air pillows to fill the gaps.

Closing it up and sending it on its way

Once you're satisfied that the bottles are secure and stable, tape the box closed with water-activated tape for safety and security. This tape offers the extra protection of being tamper-proof. Add a “fragile” label in addition to the address label.

Be sure to advise the shipper you’re using of the box’s contents and urge them to keep the temperature as low as possible during transport. Ideally, the wine should be kept at 55°F to prevent damage. Some carriers have climate controlled vehicles which is a great option. And one final caution: Do not ship wines during periods of continuous hot weather.

Following these tips offers you the best assurance that the wines the vintner carefully crafted deliver the taste, aroma and experience the consumer wants to savor.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

How the Well-Dressed Box Brings Repeat E-Commerce Customers

Looking for a way to engage e-commerce customers and bring them back for a second time? Make sure that opening the package is an experience they won’t forget. Packages that tell you brand's story can enhance the user experience and bring them back for more.

For e-commerce businesses, the shipped package is the company's billboard and represents the best and most personal customer touch point. But most e-commerce shippers don’t use it well. That’s not to say that strong packaging - corrugated cartons sealed with water-activated tape for strength and security – shouldn’t be an e-commerce shippers’ first priority. But why waste the opportunity to make better packaging part of the excitement of opening an e-commerce “gift?” We all know the thrill of a well-packaged birthday or holiday gift. Why shouldn’t an e-commerce delivery feel the same?

Making your package an experience provides additional value for an e-commerce customer. And they appreciate it. So much so that there’s a whole genre of YouTube videos called “unboxing videos” that glorify and share the joy of opening an e-commerce delivery. Clips of people tearing into packages are among the fastest growing video categories on YouTube, getting an estimated 10 billion views monthly, according to Tubefilter .

Want your packaging to be Unboxing-Video worthy? Here are a few tips:

Distinctive Cartons – When a unique and branded package arrives at a customer’s door, it kicks off the excitement of opening it. “The shipping box represents the biggest opportunity to begin creating that wow experience...” says e-commerce blogger Richard Lazazzera.

Choose a strong, corrugated carton with graphics that kick-start the branding experience. Both LL Bean and Crate & Barrel know this well. Who doesn’t want to rip into a box with rugged LL Bean logos when it shows up on their doorstep? Or look forward to opening the iconic Crate & Barrel package that greets you at the end of the day? We found eight unboxing videos on YouTube for the LL Bean boots alone, some of which had over 2000 views.

Branded Tape – Today’s packaging tapes do more than securely seal the box. They contribute to the look of the package and make it a messenger of the brand. Choose secure, water-activated tape that gives you the option to add a promotional message on the tape itself. This delivers a couple of financial benefits to your company; it saves money because you don't have to pay for the custom printing on the corrugated box, which in turn allows you to buy your cartons on the open market. You also have the flexibility of changing your messaging easily. The largest online seller uses a number of distinctive water-activated tapes with different messages that both enhance the look of the box and promote their latest offerings.

Tissue Paper – Once someone opens the box, you can still make the unboxing experience feel like opening a gift. Consider wrapping your products in tissue paper which packaging blogger Richard Lazazzera says “…adds an extra level of mystery and excitement to the unboxing experience.” The tissues can be custom printed or carry your brand’s colors into the box. Want to make it extra special? Seal the tissue with a logoed sticker that adds an inexpensive, yet elegant touch that enhances the unwrapping experience.

Filler - Traditional filler types are Styrofoam packing peanuts, foam inserts, air pillows or bubble wrap. Here you’re balancing safety, sustainability and experience. We believe the air pillow offers the best balance of both. It protects the contents of the package, gives a clean, uncluttered look to the inside of the package. These air pillows also allow for brand interaction should you choose to customize the message on the air pillow.

Promotional Material/Business Card – Believe it or not, most unboxing videos include someone holding this item up to the camera and even reading it. So why not add a simple “thank you” card or promotional insert to your next e-commerce shipment? How about a card that offers the recipient (or a friend) a discount on their next order? It’s an inexpensive and personal way of solidifying your relationship with that e-commerce customer.

Gift/Sample - A small gift or sample of another of your products is a great way to enhance the unboxing experience by adding a little wonder. Cosmetics e-commerce vendors like Sephora use these little gifts to surprise and delight their customers. Not surprisingly, they also encourage customer to try something new. E-commerce customers have already decided to buy from you. Why not cross-sell them with something else in the package that they didn’t expect?

The well-dressed package engages your e-commerce customers from the moment it hits their doorstep. Use these tips as an extension of your brand and as a way to involve them with you. When done well, distinctive packaging effectively tells your story and encourages repeat business from your existing customers.

Better Packages | Water-Activated Tape Dispensers and Tape

IPG offers a complete line of water-activated tape and tape dispensers. Central® brand water-activated tape, includes reinforced and non-reinforced tape. IPG has the in-house capability to customize your company's message on the top of every box, adding to the user experience while enhancing your gross profits.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Masking Tape Part II: The Sticky Details

Earlier this year, we learned how acrylic and rubber/synthetic rubber masking tapes are made. This month, we’ll focus on chemical additives that can change or enhance the tape’s physical properties and characteristics. The importance of these minor differences are critical as they give the tape its application qualities. There are many characteristics of tape that can affect your project, but let’s take a look at three important areas: clean line technology, UV inhibitors and operating temperatures.

Clean Line Technology
Edge treatment has been an industry trend for over a decade. Clean line technology is an additive applied to the edge of the roll, forming a barrier or blocking agent so paint cannot seep under the tape. Edge-treated tapes are usually very forgiving and provide a good option when the job requires a perfect line. Look for IPG’s patented Bloc-it™ Clean Line Technology, a proprietary edge treatment that delivers clean, crisp paint lines.

UV Inhibitors
UV inhibitors are additives necessary for a tape to properly perform outside or directly on windows exposed to sunlight. If you’ve ever applied tape to a surface outside on a hot summer day, you might have noticed it falls down in a matter of minutes. When working outside in the sun, make sure your tape has built in UV Inhibitors to help it adhere and work properly.

Operating Temperatures
Extreme heat, cold and humidity can all affect the tape’s adhesion, causing potential failures. It is important to understand your working conditions when purchasing tape. Generally speaking, your painter’s masking tape will work at its optimum around +70°F, but will do the job properly between +50°F - +100°F.

Keep in Mind
There are still some challenges that may arise even when you have the perfect tape for the job. Remember to make sure the surface being taped is free of dust and debris prior to application. When applying any pressure-sensitive masking tape, be sure to press down firmly and use your thumb on the edges. This will ensure thorough adhesion coverage, helping eliminate bleed through.

1. Textured walls – orange peel type walls always present a unique challenge as the tiny bumps and crevices make it difficult for a low-tack masking adhesive to flow through and adhere.
Tip: Use a higher adhesion performance 1-day masking tape if you are planning to finish the job quickly. This will allow the adhesive to move into the crevices of the textured surface and will still pull off cleanly if done within 24 hours.

2. Freshly painted surface – If paint has not fully cured, your tape may not stick to the surface. The chemicals in the tape react with the chemicals in the paint causing the tape to fall off as you apply.
Tip: All paints are different, but the tape should have a better reaction after 24 hours. Low VOC paints present a different challenge and may take longer for the tape to properly react.

3. Pulling off tape– Sometimes, when removing tape from the wall after the paint has dried, you will notice the paint has formed a plastic like coating (mainly latex paints) over the tape. When this happens, achieving a straight line by pulling the tape off is impossible.
Tip: To avoid this, pull the tape right after the painting is complete, even if not fully dry. If it’s too late, score the edge with a blade. This will break the seal and allow for a perfect tape peel off.

I know it can be tedious, time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but take the extra few minutes to properly apply the correct tape and then check out your end result. I guarantee you it will be worth it!

Written By: Brandon Paas, Intertape Polymer Group, Consumer Marketing Manager

Monday, May 8, 2017

How Can Gummed Tape Benefit My Business?

Gummed Tape | Water-Activated Tape - Central Brand Printed Tape
What is your company’s goal when shipping products? It is to make sure the products inside the corrugated cartons are delivered in perfect condition. If you are successful, your customers are satisfied and your company’s costs are reduced.

To keep your products protected, you’ll need a versatile sealing solution so your cartons can withstand the shipping process and your business can run cost-effectively. Sealing solution elements to consider include harsh handling treatment, theft, productivity, and branding. One sealing product, reinforced water-activated tape, also known as gummed tape, is uniquely suitable to stand up to the shipping challenge. This post highlights how gummed tape can benefit your business.

Products Are Safer

As your carton travels to its destination, it is handled many times. Fortunately, reinforced water-activated tape is extremely strong and can withstand the rigors of what can be a rough and tumble shipping process.

Cartons remain tightly sealed and products safe within. When gummed tape is applied to the carton, it literally “Welds” to the corrugate and it’s crossing, reinforced fibers provides a tamper-evident seal. The tape is very difficult to remove without leaving signs of incursion. Thus, your cartons are protected from theft. This adds to the customer experience while ensuring satisfied customers and avoid the added costs of having to replace missing products.

Productivity Is Increased

To use water-activated tape, you’ll need a water-activated tape dispenser. These dispensers are available as manual machines, which do not require electricity and as electric tape dispensers, which do require power.

They are very simple to use; they wet and cut the tape. Using them, in comparison to having packer use a hand-held tape gun with plastic, pressure sensitive tape, improves business productivity while reducing “repetitive action injuries” on your packing line. Studies have shown that using water-activated tape with the dispenser is 21% more productive than using a hand-held tape gun. Click here for study results.

Brand Recognition Is Increased

Corporate and product branding is an important element for business growth. By using gummed paper tape, your company can simply print its logo or a message right on the tape in either color or black and white. This looks professional.

A logo printed on your tape keeps your brand front and center when your carton arrives at your customer’s home or office reminding them of their customer experience and giving your company another chance to delight that customer.

This enhances the first impression your company makes upon your customer. Using printed gummed paper tape sets a positive stage for delighting your customers as they open the corrugated carton and receive your products.

Central Brand Gummed Tape | Water-Activated Tape

IPG offers a full line of water-activated tape, designed to create a superior seal on your corrugated cartons while providing advantages other carton sealing methods do not.

Central brand water-activated tape is offered in a wide range of paper and reinforced gummed tape styles, roll lengths and widths to best fit your carton sealing needs. It is the preferred choice of packaging specialists when quality, strength, security and professional appearance are critical.

Want to see if gummed tape will benefit your business? Receive a free water-activated tape sample >

Friday, March 10, 2017

E-Commerce Packaging Tape Usage

By Ryan Mach, IPG Product Manager, Water-Activated Tape ––  

LxWxH - E-Commerce Packaging Tape Usage
14 inches. This is an important number in e-commerce packaging today. It is the average length of a carton used in e-commerce in North America. The actual number is 14.3 inches (Standard Deviation=6.6).

True, there are organizations that ship nothing but long golf clubs or fishing rods, but you know who you are and you know what size cartons you use. For the rest of us, the answer is neither constant nor clear. Even if you have calculated the average length of your cartons, how do you compare to the industry?

Carton length drives a large number of decisions: corrugate choice, tape consumption, packaging station design, shipping cost, rack sizing, conveyor sizing, label size, etc. Logistics engineers have hundreds of decisions to make in this rapidly growing industry.

How Much Tape Per Carton Is Normal?

14.3 inch tape plus three inch tails (on each side) equals ~20 inch tape for the closure of the top or bottom of a carton. Operators applying pressure-sensitive tape by hand often use two or three strips of tape per top or bottom. Using water-activated tape (gummed tape, Kraft paper tape), you can be sure of single-strip closure. In addition to its efficiency, WAT lends itself well to custom printing/branding, and is considered the most secure way to seal a carton with its tamper-evident seal.

Watch this video comparing pressure-sensitive tape with water-activated tape:

Please feel free to respond with comments or questions below.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Challenges of Appliance Installation

Have you ever purchased a microwave from a major home improvement store, got really excited to bring it home, and opened the box and to see what types of tapes were used to package it???  Well, I do and this happened to me a few weeks ago when I decided to get rid of the 20 plus year old microwave in my kitchen.  

When I got the microwave home and started to inspect the packaging, the outside of the box was sealed with a clear carton sealing tape.  After I opened the box, I saw that a clean-removal MOPP tape was used on the outside and inside of the microwave to secure the door and parts during production and shipment.  I was not surprised to see either of these tapes being used by this particular manufacturer.  

I decided to install the microwave myself and unfortunately for me, I always seem to run into some type of “challenge” when I take on a home improvement project.  The “challenge” that I ran into on this project was a large hole in the wall behind my existing microwave.  My guess is that the previous homeowner tried to vent the microwave through the wall and abandoned that idea and decided to vent it through the top of the kitchen cabinet.  What the previous homeowner didn’t do was cover up the hole that was left in the wall.  So what did I do?  I decided to use a few strips of IPG® Duct Tape to cover this hole and the problem was solved in a matter of minutes.  Every household needs a roll of IPG® Duct Tape.  In fact, maybe our sales force should add duct tape to their product line when they call on an Appliance Manufacturer.  A roll of duct tape could be packaged with the microwave, dishwasher, etc. in case the homeowner runs into the same “challenge” that I ran into.  

So to all you Appliance Manufacturers out there, call your IPG Sales Representative today and order some IPG® Duct Tape!

Written by IPG Corporate Account Manager

Friday, January 27, 2017

3 Packaging Tips When Shipping Electronics

Packaging and Shipping Electronics
Technology is constantly evolving and many people are eager to obtain the latest electronics. Electronics are relatively fragile and often expensive, so it's important to understand how to safely pack and ship these products. Take a look at the following tips to properly package electronics so you can prevent costly damages and returns that can occur when shipping electronic devices.

Properly Secure Batteries For Shipping

Most electronics require batteries or are equipped with detachable batteries for power. Although batteries such as lithium are common in many of today's electronics, these components can be a source of hazardous heat, sparks or fire if improperly packed for shipping. According to UPS, when shipping almost any type of battery, you must safeguard all terminals against short-circuiting. To do so, completely cover them with an insulating, non-conductive material or pack each battery in fully enclosed inner packaging to ensure exposed terminals are protected.

Separate Cords and Accessories

When electronics have several components, it's always good to stay organized by separating the cords and accessories. Separating and bundling the cords significantly helps the user, as well as the retailer, by:

  • Creating more organized space so loose cords are not tangling with other items in the carton
  • Separated items can be labeled to make it easier for the user to identify each piece and know how they connect
  • Providing a better customer experience helps build your business's brand 

Use Effective Shipping Materials 

It’s important to utilize the right shipping materials to ensure that your electronics remain safe and arrive to your customer in pristine condition. The following packing materials are effective in keeping your electronics safe and secure.

Corrugated Cartons 

Corrugated cartons are different from cardboard boxes.  Cardboard boxes are any type of box made from heavy paper pulp.  Typical applications include cereal cartons and game boxes.  Corrugated cartons are comprised of three layers of paper that includes an inside liner, an outside liner, and fluting with a ruffled shape, which runs in between the two. The corrugated fiberboard sheet is created by gluing the 3 sheets together. As a result of their design, corrugated cartons are cost-effective and, depending upon their construction, can hold a wide variety of weights, protect against moisture and are a sustainable choice.  Depending on the amount of protection required, corrugate is available in a wide variety of sizes and thickness.

Void Fill / Air Pillows

Protective packing, or void fill, are important to keep items separated from each other and from the corners, sides, top and bottom of the box. It helps prevent items from moving around in the carton.  Materials available include packing peanuts, and air pillows.  Air pillows are an excellent interior packing material choice.
Air pillows are not only more cost-effective than packing peanuts but also provide a more effective cushion for your products. This will ensure your products make it to the customer safely and without employing polystyrene packing peanuts that many people prefer not to receive.  Air pillows are environmentally friendly. The total volume of filled air pillows is just 1% of the initial size for disposal.

Water-Activated Tape 

It is important to choose water-activated tape for your carton sealing application so you can keep your customers satisfied and maintain your bottom line.  When shipping expensive electronics, you want a tape that will keep your products safe and will be cost-effectiveness.  Water-activated tape provides these advantages because when the adhesive is activated with water, it penetrates the carton material and the tape forms a permanent bond with the carton. As a result, it creates a strong seal that is tamper-evident.  Water-activated tape is available in various widths and thicknesses and may contain strands of fiberglass reinforcement to provide added strength.

IPG's Water-Activated Tape

IPG offers a full line of Better Packages gummed packaging tape dispensers, along with Central brand water-activated tape. Water-activated tape (also known as gummed tape, gum tape, Kraft paper tape, reinforced paper tape) is designed to create a superior seal on corrugated cartons while providing advantages other carton sealing methods do not.

Central brand water-activated carton sealing tape is offered in a wide range of paper and reinforced gummed paper tape styles, roll lengths and widths to best fit your carton sealing needs. It is the preferred choice of packaging specialists when quality, strength, security and professional appearance are critical.

Still wondering if water-activated tape is right for your company? Request a sample and explore the enhanced carton sealing solutions for yourself.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Masking Tape – The Core Basics

Masking Tape: Adhesive, Backing, Release CoatWe have all experienced masking tape problems at some point, whether a weekend project at home or out on the job site. Having experienced issues in the past, we’ve learned that it all comes down to buying the right tape for the job. Easy, right?  Not exactly! I work in the tape industry and I still get confused walking through the tape section of a big box store. I can’t imagine how overwhelming it must be for a DIYer or contractor searching through an entire aisle of different brands, colors, sizes, prices, etc…where to begin?!

Understanding Painter’s Masking Tape

“Masking Tape” (a term most often used categorizing paper tapes) comes from the act of protecting or masking an area prior to the application of painting, coating or surface treatment. But are all masking tapes created equal? Let’s take a closer look.

The composition of masking tape at its most fundamental level is made up of three layers: backing, adhesive and release coat. (See illustration, top of page.) The backing is generally made from a saturated crepe paper. Crepe paper is known for its ability to stretch, allowing the tape to bend and conform around curves. Saturation helps enhance the paper’s physical properties and can also add color if preferred. The paper can be smooth crepe or coarse crepe—smooth crepe is used on high performance products, leaving a clean paint line and no bleed-through. Coarse crepe has a rough finish and is commonly used in general purpose applications where a clean line is not necessarily required.

The two types of adhesives used are acrylic and rubber (or synthetic rubber).  Acrylic adhesives can be water-based or solvent-based and use synthesized polymers to formulate an adhesive structure that is applied to the tape. Acrylics have medium initial adhesion, temperature resistance, solvent resistance, UV resistance and durability.  Rubber adhesives can consist of natural or synthetic rubber. Natural rubber adhesives have a medium to high tack and are used for general purpose applications. Synthetic rubber adhesives are formed by mixing synthetic compounds with rubber.  These are medium tack and intended for indoor and outdoor painting applications. Rubber and synthetic rubber adhesives have medium-high initial adhesion, temperature resistance, UV resistance, and durability.

The release coat controls the tape’s unwind values, its adhesion to backing values and adhesive consistencies. In other words—the release coat allows the tape to come off the roll easily and not stick to itself.  There you have it, lesson one in the books! Learning what masking tape is and how it’s made is key to understanding how it works and why it works (or doesn’t work—we will cover this later). In Part II we will learn about applications—what to use, why to use and how to use—and break down acrylic and rubber masking tapes further, discussing chemical additives that can give the tape new properties and

Written by Brandon Paas, Consumer Marketing Manager, IPG