Ultimately, reaching the right answer regarding whether plastic pressure-sensitive tape or paper water-activated tape is right for a company’s purposes starts with asking the right questions. For example:
What is being shipped?
What a company is shipping should be a major factor in its packing tape selection. Organizations that ship low-weight, low-value products may not need a tape that provides superior performance. If that is the case, plastic tape may be the right choice. On the other hand, companies that put heavy or high-value product into the distribution network are wise to invest in shipping materials proven to help ensure safe delivery.
How important is productivity?
For companies that only prepare and ship a handful of cartons each day, packer productivity may not be important. This low volume might be easily handled with pressure-sensitive tape and a tape gun. At higher volumes, however, water-activated tape can provide a competitive advantage. As noted above, independent testing has shown that employees are 21 percent more productive when using water-activated tape. Both in terms of the amount of product that goes out the door each day and how much work a company is getting from its shipping team members, that number is significant.
What environmental conditions will shipped packages encounter?
There are at least three environments a package will encounter on its journey: the packing site, one or more transportation vehicles, and the destination site. Plastic tape does not perform well in cold, dusty, or humid conditions. The longer a package spends in those kinds of environments, the more likely the tape is to fail. Paper tape maintains a secure seal in virtually any environment that a package might find itself in. Hot or cold, damp or dry, the bond formed between the tape and the carton surface remains strong.
Is there value in a “clean” presentation?
Here again, the answer, obviously, is “Yes!” No company wants a recipient to wrinkle their nose at the sight of a package that looks sloppy and carelessly prepared. Unfortunately, the more strips of shipping tape that are required to seal a package, the harder it is to maintain a neat appearance. One strip of gummed paper tape can seal a box and ensure that it arrives at its destination securely closed and with a look that reflects well on the company that sent it.
Is brand awareness important?
It would be rare to find an organization that would say that brand awareness is not important. Even well-known companies with solid reputations need to support their positive image. Plastic pressure-sensitive tape typically is not branded. This means that it does nothing to keep a company top-of-mind with anyone who sees the package. Paper water-activated tape, on the other hand, can be branded in many ways, which provides many benefits. One of the most important is that custom-printed Kraft tape turns the carton into a dynamic “mobile billboard” that can introduce the company or further develop its brand.
The short answers above make a strong case for water-activated tape, and there are many other resources available that elaborate on them.