As we head into the end-of-year holidays, the world is far different and our world more uncertain than it was just 22 months ago. Yet, during this season, it’s also an excellent time to remember that it’s the faces of life – our cherished families, good friends, helpful colleagues, and valued customers – that truly matter.
And we’re certainly all yearning for more social contact, right? In fact, according to Mintel’s summer 2021 survey about “COVID-19’s Impact on U.S. Consumers,” 56 percent of people say the pandemic has made them want to spend more time with family, while 41 percent also want to spend more time with friends.
Why? It’s simple. These people can provide a solid foundation for our lives. They make us smile and laugh. They bring the joy of life. They help us cope with ever-changing uncertainties in both our personal and professional worlds.
This year hasn’t been easy on many fronts. From a personal perspective, we’ve seen the rise of new variants in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but we’ve also seen that vaccination rates are climbing, booster shots are now available, and protocols are – in many cases – working to help stem the spread of the virus.
On the business side, uncertainties in logistics this past year have certainly created mind-boggling issues for the Prime Group of companies as well as our customers. Together we’ve weathered the storm, though, as we’ve worked through shortages of containers and air/ocean/truck/train shipping capacity, higher shipping costs, pervasive labor shortages, a shortage of popular manufactured goods, and a litany of other supply chain challenges.
When Life Gives You Lemons
But one of the only constants in worldwide logistics – and in life too – is the need to adapt to changing circumstances. Yes, marketplace ripples and shortages of most goods are certainly being felt by retailers and consumers alike during this traditional gift-giving period. At the end of the day, though, it’s about doing our best, packing an added dose of patience and “going with the flow.”
It’s also about celebrating and living one’s faith, as well as counting one’s blessings. If you’re able, please join me in giving back and assisting the communities in which you live and work. Even if you only have an hour or two of time to contribute, it could mean a lot. Separately, during this holiday period, help your families but also your neighbors or others who are still struggling. So many people this year have lost cherished friends or beloved family members to this terrible virus. Let’s all pull together to assist each other in weathering the storm.
Getting Down to Business
From a business perspective, I’m happy to report that all of the Prime Group business units expanded this past year with new services and new products. Successes through our major expansion of marketing communications efforts are paying off. We’ve grown the presence of each division through “refreshing” corporate Web sites. We’ve unveiled an aggressive, sustained social-mail campaign, and we’ve introduced a robust, e-news program for three divisions.
On the product side, our Prime Planet division, the hot news is we introduced a new Tostones BBQ flavor, and we’re getting ready to roll out a new product (still under wraps!). We also made packaging enhancements so our snack chips stand out better on often-crowded supermarket shelves.
Our Prime Logistics division posted the highest volume ever in company history for kilos of shipped cargo, plus it earned the World Cargo Association’s (WCA) first “Responsible Person” certification in all of North America.
Our PrimeAir division celebrated a first-ever charter flight between South America and Tokyo. Also, after months of work establishing required qualifications, that division’s Bogota station also has been awarded the “CEIV Certification for Pharmaceutical Transport” issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
And even with global logistics capacity restraints, I’m happy to report that in 2021 Prime Fresh Handling at LAX emerged as our fastest growing, largest, and busiest field station throughout our entire global network. All these steps combined across the various divisions helped make 2021 our biggest sales year ever.
Warm-felt Thanks to Our Team
Thanks to all our employees including the new team members who’ve joined us this year. Across all divisions, we increased headcount by 25 percent to accommodate our strong growth. Also, we want to thank our employees’ families too. Without their support during Prime Group’s busiest time of the year, our employee team couldn’t do what’s needed for our customers.
As the year winds down and we all get into the holiday season of gift giving, yes, we may not have the holiday season’s usual full bounty of goods and gifts to purchase. But we’ll have what matters most – the human touch. It’s a great month to give thanks for friends, families, work colleagues and customers and tell them how much they mean in your life.
Most of all, celebrate the concrete steps taken in 2021 by societies across the globe to begin controlling and preventing this challenging virus. We’re doing our part – shipping medical supplies, temperature sensitive vaccines and 50,000 COVID-19 test kits weekly. And hope to continue to do more of these missions going forward.
So, as we trim the Christmas tree, light the Hanukkah menorah, enjoy Kwanzaa, or celebrate other holiday or faith traditions, stay positive. Think good thoughts, and take time to breathe, relax, reflect, and enjoy life.
~ Roger Paredes, CEO