Parcel Tape

Everyone loves a bargain. It’s a good feeling when you find a quality product at a great price. Right now, you’ll certainly be looking to make the pounds go farther. But buying purely on price might not necessarily add up to the savings you thought you were getting in the long run. It’s the same for packing tape. What might seem like a cheap option at the time might not end up the bargain you were hoping for. Yes, you want to save money for your business (who doesn’t?) but you do need to make sure a cheap packing tape does not end up costing you double!

So what options are available on packing tape (or parcel tape) right now and which performs best for the money?

Packing tape fit for purpose

The first thing you may need to ask yourself is where you are planning to use your tape? You will see on the table at the end of the article that plastic tapes can have one of three main types of adhesive. The cheapest has its limitations, so it would be wise to test suitability in typical conditions before investing in bulk supplies.

Parcels that become unstuck are unlikely to arrive with all the contents intact and in best condition – even if they arrive at all! If lack of adhesion becomes an issue, then operators will tend to use huge quantities of tape to be on the safe side. A quality tape would have done a quicker, neater job with minimal tape used per parcel. Take time to look at how your parcels appear at point of departure, then imagine how they will present when a customer receives them…remember they won’t improve in transit!

The very cheapest and thinnest of tapes sometimes acquire a bad reputation for tearing and snapping. Operators can then become frustrated if it is hard to find the end when it keeps breaking in use. This can lead to significant wastage of material and time, while the bin fills up with part-used rolls! Will the package need to cope with any unusual conditions or extremes of temperature? It’s no good thinking you’re getting a great deal on a cheap general-purpose tape when you actually need it to work in refrigerated conditions for example. This would just turn out to be a false economy for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the brands you may come across.

Bonus Packing Tape

This tape comes in long 200 metres rolls. Its selling point is based on these longer rolls requiring fewer roll changes. This saves time in the warehouse, speeding up the despatch process. That’s good news all round isn’t it? On the downside, due to the longer roll length, the roll is much heavier to work with.  This can have an impact on the user, especially over time with RSI concerns. In terms of use, it is an all-round tape, fine for general packaging and has its own noise-reducing dispenser. The tape generally sells for about £2 a roll when purchasing a box of 36.

E-tape packing tape

A newer derivative of Bonus Tape is E-tape which has proved to save money and time in the warehouse.  The rolls also have small cores,  2”/50 mm, 3”/75 mm used for 66 meter rolls, yet contains 150 meters per roll whilst using only a fraction more volume. There is an additional saving here with space and storage with 36 rolls of 150 metres is much the same volume as a box of 66m tape. Productivity is increased through reducing down-time spent changing the roll by almost three times compared to 66 meter rolls. Similarly, there are savings because less than half the number of cores are used, along with reduced tape wastage. A variety of types is available to suit most applications (including cold rooms).

Where brand awareness is important to the user, this is a really simple and relatively cost effective way to go with custom printing of logos and messages. Certain standard stock-prints such as ‘Fragile’ printed in red ink on white complete the range. It comes with its own ergonomic noise-reducing dispenser to fit the smaller core.

E-tape is available in a variety of grades and adhesives with different finishes such as white, buff and clear. (Although the range does include a premium PVC tape which has a high-grab solvent rubber adhesive, this is not a cheap option, so is outside of the scope of this article).

E-tape can be purchased for 78p a roll depending on quantity bought.

Envirotape range

One of several copies of E-tape is Envirotape from Kite Packaging, with a similar core size and roll length to E-tape. Again, the long tape length helps to reduce the frequency of roll changes. The range includes acrylic and hot melt adhesives. This is an all-rounder for general packaging use. Price is from 67p a roll depending on quantity bought.

Where are the real savings to be had if cheapest is not cheap in the long run?

 It is important to grasp that the savings gained by using the longer tape rolls are mainly through economies of time and material and particularly the greatly increased productivity.

What does this mean for you? More parcels being processed per operator per day.

What else?

Custom-printed tape provides a simple and cost-effective means for the sender to promote the company brand and helps to visually identify the consignment. E-tape is the only tape in this comparison that can support bespoke printing.

Something else to consider if your operatives need to place 2 strips of tape across the box to seal it. A wider 75 mm wide option will give you an immediate saving by only using one strip of tape!

Bringing it home

Our table below shows you some of the pros and cons of strengths and weaknesses you can expect from your tape choice in a little more detail.

Parcel tape comparison table

So why should all this be important to you? Because it can save you time and money – the most critical elements for any business. If you think of a warehouse full of operatives working inefficiently day in and day out, that adds up over every month, over every year. Yes you might have saved 20p on a roll but what did it cost you?

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