From packaging and shipping to PPE and field hospitals, adhesive tape is the invisible partner playing an integral role in this ongoing crisis event. We sat down with Risa Edelstein, Vice President of Marketing, and Steve Underhill, Senior Marketing Coordinator, to explain how tape is helping those on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.
What’s been the biggest increase in product demand due to COVID-19?
Risa: Definitely tapes used by our corrugators and paper mills who make everything from boxes to toilet paper are surging in demand. Our products are used for core starting, tabbing, and splicing which is part of the manufacturing process for these consumer products. Manufacturers cannot afford to shut down production which would happen if they ran out of tape. This weekend, one of our Account Managers got a call that a mill had no tape left and we managed to get them what they needed on a Saturday! It’s actually this level of service that has kept us in business all of these years.
Steve: With grocery store shelves emptying at an alarming rate, it is even more crucial that our essential customers have the tape they need to keep their manufacturing lines running.
Risa: As more people order online and more boxes are being shipped across the country, this surge means that our customers not only have to meet demands for boxes but also for all of the consumer items that people are stocking at this time, including toilet paper and wipes. Our tape is often used in many of these processes.
What about masks? Is tape being used to make PPE?
Risa: Yes! We are proud to play an essential role in the COVID-19 supply chain serving the front lines, but our products are typically unseen. For example, our splicing tapes are used to manufacture giant rolls of finished non-woven goods, which is then sold to companies who convert these rolls into finished PPE items like gowns and masks. As an essential business, we’re ensuring that our partners have direct access to the tapes they need. So far, we haven’t had a single lag in our shipping or production.
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What about hospitals? How is tape being used there?
Steve: Virtually everywhere. Masking tapes are being used for color coding and floor marking for social distancing and drive-up testing sites. Double-sided mounting tape is securing signs and markings that inform, warn, and designate secured areas. Duct tape is being used to seal bags of contaminated materials.
Risa: VI-N6120, our multi-purpose polyethylene vinyl tape, is a workhorse. It’s being used to hang plastic sheathing for individual containment rooms and clean rooms, and to help orchestrate temporary structures like field hospitals and makeshift warehouses.
Steve: Our masking tapes are great, but we actually recommend VI-N6120 for floor marking. It has the strength and durability to withstand all the foot traffic and still come up from hard floor surfaces, such as finished concrete, with no residue to clean up. Plus, it comes in several colors for coding purposes.
How has COVID-19 affected ECHOtape?
Risa: Like most, our entire business structure has changed. Setting up all of our administrative and office workers at home. Increasing and implementing safety protocols at our production and distribution facilities. All while seeing a rise in product demand. Our team has not only worked harder and faster than ever before, but they’ve done it safely, efficiently, and with great humor. The truth is, without each and every single person, we would not have been able to pivot so quickly. Sure, our products are great, but we are the most proud of our people.
From the very beginning, our management team decided that no matter what, our staff would be our #1 priority. By prioritizing their safety, health, and job stability first, we have been able to meet the needs of our customers during this difficult time. Our people are our secret weapon and while we have always known that, during this pandemic, it is even more obvious. For me, this whole crisis has been a great reminder that businesses will thrive when they put the needs of their people first.