Prime Group advances digital logistics capabilities with Salesforce

As a global logistics leader, The Prime Group has arrived at a point in its evolution where advanced automation is needed to integrate marketing tactics, determine how efficiently marketing tactics and sales teams work, quantify the level of service customers receive and ultimately hold itself accountable for business growth objectives while maintaining customer focus. For this reason, Prime Group is now deploying Salesforce – creating more effective customer-focused marketing initiatives and increasing sales capabilities.

Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Salesforce’s cloud-based technologies are built to integrate data from the siloed parts of a company that interact with customers, and by giving teams a shared view, help improve response rates and revenues from marketing efforts, including advertising and social media.

To maximize customer support at scale, Prime Group will now leverage improved efficiency and effectiveness at each stage of the sales process – from setting strategy and implementing initiatives to taking action and measuring results. With a goal of improving customer communications and increasing new business opportunities, the custom-designed implementation for Prime Group began June 1.

“Today, we are stepping in a new direction by investing in a major technology upgrade, data-driven sales and marketing, and aggressive prospecting. This will position us extremely well for success in the pandemic period and well beyond,” said Roger Paredes, CEO of Miami-based Prime Group.

“Prime Group is on the cusp of something exciting,” Paredes continued. “At a time when logistics companies worldwide are struggling to get traction due to COVID-19, we’re already moving ahead by reaching outside the box to yield new types of partnerships and businesses that have not historically been part of the Prime Group portfolio.”

Take heart, take care, and stay well

In an effort to be as transparent as possible during these most difficult of times, I’d like to share my thoughts on recent events, and the aftermath that is proving to be heartbreaking for so many, and filling us all with conflict.

It goes without saying that what we witnessed in Minneapolis on video has affected us all deeply.

Firstly, it’s incumbent upon me to say that the Prime Group family counts as a core value the condemnation of injustice and discrimination, and we are united in fighting inequality.

We acknowledge and are in solidarity with the peaceful protesters in the United States, and around the world. And we support local and national organizations that are standing up to social injustice.

In the face of senseless loss, it often seems impossible to find the words to express such deep pain, frustration, and sorrow – but these words I know I must share with you now: Please take heart, take care of each other, and stay well. We will overcome – together.

The Inside Story on Staying Inside

“How are you doing?”

Remember when we used this line as a simple pleasantry to get a conversation started – never really expecting a response. Well, we still say it these days, but we genuinely mean it!

It’s a small but telling example of how so many things have changed in the age of the coronavirus.

One of the biggest changes is not so much how we are conducting business, but where. Right now I am writing these words at my dining room table. Earlier, I “clocked in” at my home office down the hall. And perhaps later on, I’ll pick up and move over to the kitchen island to check my email.

Working from home is not a new concept, but working from home everyday is. And although we were forced to do so to remain safe – and operational – I am not so disappointed to be realizing the everyday benefits of being here.

Number one is commute time. I used to spend hours a week traversing the highways of Miami back and forth, home to work, and out to lunch and back. Now I am at “the office” each morning in 10 seconds flat. And lunch is, well, right over there on the kitchen counter – a few seconds away by foot!

Notice I didn’t say, a few seconds away barefoot. Because while some folks might be doing that, I do wear socks, and a business shirt and slacks so I’m always ready for the next Zoom call. Which brings me to my dry cleaning bill, or rather I should say the lack thereof – and my non-existent gas and mileage expenses, as well …

At-home working brings a whole host of noteworthy cost benefits, some bigger than others, of course. Seriously though, with all this newfound time and built-in efficiencies achieved while working remotely, I’ve been able to check off a lot of the administrative items I’ve wanted to get to over years.

With none of the tedious office distractions to get in the way, I am also taking a serious look at some smart new back-office initiatives that could allow the overall Prime Group team to deliver more value to our customers over the long-term.

I am also busy brushing the dust off several to-do lists outlining possible new marketing initiatives and business growth. In the past, for instance, we only dabbled with the idea of promoting our air-cargo charter abilities. Now, rather than being solely focused on the day-to-day, I am leading the charge at accelerating expansion into this market. And it’s already paying off in the form of an all-new series of high-visibility messaging via social media and other targeted-marketing platforms.

Then there’s our sudden increased reliance on Teams, Zoom, Skype, and the like. Few examples of how COVID-19 has forced us to change the fundamental ways we work is the widespread use of video conferencing. Since instituting a company-wide ban on business travel in early March, meetings via video has become the ultimate solution to connect with our remote workers and customers. Sure it takes away many of the benefits of direct contact with sales prospects and customers – but we’ll live with that!

Have I got more time to think these things through and envision new ideas? Absolutely. Am I am appreciative of the opportunity to sharpen my focus on the health and future success of our business. Yes.

But at the same time, please know that I am also deeply concerned with the health and well being of our customers, employees, their families and friends during this time of turmoil.

So when anyone with the Prime Group asks “How are you doing,” we’re not just happy to hear your voice, we truly want to know.

We’re here, we care, and we wish you good health.

Home sweet home – with a bag of Tostones!

If you’re stuck at home right now with a bag of Tostones, you’re not alone.

As the nation struggles due to the spread of the Coronavirus, many companies, including Prime Fresh Products, have dispatched staff to work remotely at home.

While this may present whole new set of “workplace” challenges, the employees here are as committed as ever to being responsive to customers, especially to retailers of Prime Planet Tostones. Because they’re really taking off these days.

It appears homebound consumers are looking for a healthier chip while working or watching the kids all day – and they are finding Tostones irresistible.

With orders for all four varieties on the rise, one might say we are doing our part to help people snack their way through this crisis.

“We have seen an increase of more than 40 percent in orders for April,” says Marie Gonzalez who heads up business development for Prime Fresh Products and the Prime Planet brand.

“This may be due in part to a big spring promotion, and the introduction of our Tostones in Puerto Rico and Orlando, but it is also clear that this COVID-19 situation has nudged end costumers who desire a really good healthy snack.”

Historically, during emergency situations such as hurricanes and major snowstorms, there is a precipitous increase in demand for cookies, basic chips, and other salty snacks due the families remaining at home.

But because consumers are being more health conscious these days, they are looking for alternative, better-for-you snacks. Add to that the fact that Americans are increasingly more multicultural, so they also are open to trying new products.

“Clearly the big selling point is its appeal as an all-natural product,” Gonzalez added. “Not to mention the overall quality and flavor of our crunchier chips when compared among competitors.”

She says the other standout is the wide range of flavors available, with the sweet chili variety being the latest to be introduced. This delicious chip serves to complement the existing lineup of popular flavors that includes Habanero, Lime, and the Original chip.

One last point is that at a time when many people are staying at home and self-isolating, they are looking for products that not only taste great, but also have a long shelf life.

About Prime Fresh Products
Founded in 2016 PFP finds the finest food products from around the world and then import, distributes, and transports them on to the shelf in the U.S. Prime Planet is a brand of PFP that that focuses on the production of ready to eat green plantain chips, called Tostones, for the retail and wholesale industry.

PFP is a division of Prime Group Holdings, located at 1301 NW 84th Ave. Suite 127, Miami, FL 33126 USA. For information, visit www.primefreshproducts.com or contact Marie Gonzalez at 305-592-2044 or via email at bdm@primefreshproducts.com.

Stop Being Afraid of What Could Go Wrong And Think of What Could Go Right

Right before our eyes, the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 is changing the world as we know it – and along with it, the cargo and logistics industry.

As the coronavirus continues to be profoundly disruptive to the global supply chain, few companies have been able to escape its devastating impact, and many may not survive.

Prime Group will not be among them.

On Course
Long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, Prime Group had already charted a course of successful diversification. So although our core business of shipping fresh cut flowers is taking a big hit right now, we’ve been able to trim our sails and swiftly move into supporting the logistics needs of myriad other specialized industries.

And right on time.

As long-time experts in handling perishables, fortunately we’ve been able to stay busy helping to meet the worldwide demand for fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish. After all, people still need access to food supply.

And not to make light, they also have to snack while at home all day self-isolating. So our product line of Tostones is coming in quite handy for that.

But more than anything, because of our agility as a company and our well established ability in handling highly specialized pharmaceuticals and other commodities related to the medical field, this is where we are now putting great emphasis.

Doing Our Part
I know I speak for the entire Prime Group team, when I say we are very proud to be able to play this important role in helping countries across the world get access to the essential goods they need right now.

This pandemic doesn’t look quite like anything we’ve seen in our lifetime. Trying to plan or make predictions in a time of such uncertainty is really hard.

But what I do know is, as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, the people of Prime Group will continue to be there for you, our customers.

Protecting Our Team
In order to maintain the highest levels of service while protecting the health of our team, many of our employees are currently working remotely. A small staff remains in the office, where there is restricted access for all non-essential employees and visitors. Also, as our warehouses are still receiving and dispatching as normal, rest assured, we are in accordance with local health mandates and advisories.

The dedication exhibited by our team, many of whom are also facing immense personal challenges at this difficult time, has been truly remarkable.

I am confident will we make it through this trying time and come out on the other side stronger, healthier, and more resilient than ever.

I believe it was Tony Robbins who once said, “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and think of what could go right.” So, please stay calm, think positively, and be healthy my friends.

The Secret to Handling Uncertainty is to Focus on Progress

As a businessman, a father, and a member of the world community, I’m very concerned, as most of us are. I’ve been closely monitoring news of the progression of coronavirus around the globe – and its impact on the markets and the logistics industry, in particular.

Yet all I can be sure of these days is that there are very few things we can be sure of.

In fact, as I share these words, news just popped up that the global death toll has now passed 3,000, with South Korea and China leading the way in confirmed infections.

Apparently they are calling this thing a “novel” coronavirus, because it’s an all-new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. They know for sure it causes a highly infectious respiratory disease called COVID-19. But beyond that, they are unsure how and when it will be brought under control. Meanwhile, we wash our hands, cover our coughs, and limit exposure to crowded areas.

And we stay tuned. That’s what I have been doing, gathering all the information I can from trusted sources of information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization. I encourage you to so the same.

Impact on Logistics
With regard to the health of the logistics industry, we should likewise keep a close eye on what is happening as the world’s second largest economy, in China, continues to spook global markets and dent growth in all sectors of the worldwide economy.

To say the potential impact of coronavirus on the logistics industry is a fluid situation is an understatement, because, as we all know, we are more interconnected today than ever. Asian markets are closely tied to European markets and to North America and South America.

For those who remember SARS in 2003, this situation is far more complex because back then, the economy worldwide was much more siloed. Today it is all interdependent.

Thus far, however, the impact of this epidemic on Prime Group operations has been minimal – but it’s not clear how much worse this outbreak will yet become and how long it will last. Some experts are now saying perhaps through the summer.

Global Impact
I just read a late February study by the American Chamber of Commerce stating that three-quarters of international businesses around the world expect the COVID-19 outbreak to impact 2020 revenue.

The study further states that the outbreak has affected operations “to a great extent” for 43 percent of logistics companies they surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region, with 57 percent of logistics companies saying operations were “somewhat” impacted. In terms of revenues, the report also indicated that the 86 percent of logistics companies are expecting revenue to be down between 1 and 10 percent.

What’s even more disconcerting is that the fear of what could happen is driving the markets. Yes, few things these days are for sure. But there is certainly always hope.

Let’s Focus on Progress
I think it was author and life coach Tony Robbins who once said, “The secret to handling uncertainty is to focus on progress.”

So as I get back to work this morning, I do know one thing: We are in this together. We will get past this together. If we all stay focused on progress, soon it will be business-as-usual again, I’m sure.

PrimeAir is ready to ‘Go Eastern’

Big news in the airline industry is the resurgence of Eastern Airlines – and it’s big news for the Prime Group, too.

Dedicated to honoring the tradition of Eastern Airlines, the management team overseeing the comeback of this legendary brand has been busy planning for a long time. And now it’s gears up, as they just launched scheduled service between New York and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

During its heyday, Eastern Airlines was one of the original ”big four” domestic U.S. carriers, before folding in 1991. But in January 2002, it returned (again) to the skies, beginning with a route to Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín De Olmedo (GYE) out of New York’s JFK. It is also set to serve Georgetown, Guyana; and Jinan, China, flying extended-range Boeing 767s.

On their website, they state they are committed to getting it right this time, because their attention to detail “is focused on the tiniest mechanical check and even the cobalt blue stitching on Seat 17B.”

Eastern Checks In
Perhaps then it’s no coincidence that, when it came to attaining full-service cargo support on the ground in Guayaquil, the new Eastern checked in first with PrimeAir, Ecuador’s most established GSSA (General Sales & Service Agent).

“This is very good news for us,” says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes. “With our significant presence in New York, this will provide even greater capacity into JFK, allowing us to further expand our business in New York, as well.”

The GSSA agreement with Eastern Airlines was signed in late January in time to begin cargo service on Feb. 1. PrimeAir is one of four Prime Group companies that include Prime Logistics, Prime Fresh Handling, and Prime Fresh Products – all of which operate throughout the U.S., Ecuador, Colombia and Europe.

PrimeAir is looking forward to filling the widebody bellies of Eastern’s once-weekly passenger flights with such specialized cargo as fish from coast of Ecuador, tropical fruits, and of course flowers from Quito and Cuenca.

And with Eastern’s strategy of continuing to open up flights to other underserved markets, it would appear the sky’s the limit for potential new growth – for both companies.

For nearly 20 years, PrimeAir has been providing the GSSA services in Latin America for some of the biggest players in air cargo – such as Atlas Air and Emirates SkyCargo, just to name a few. In fact, Ecuador is PrimeAir’s historic base of operations, where it all started in 2001.

What We Do Best
Closely supervising the action on the ground in Ecuador, PrimeAir’s team there has decades of experience handling perishables that make up a significant portion of the market. They benefit from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide, in making cargo services, operations, handling, and accounting easy and reliable for airlines working across the globe.

Today’s Eastern Airlines is an entirely different company than the Eastern Air Lines of old. It is born out of a charter company called Dynamic Airways based outside of Philadelphia, in Wayne, Pa.

The carrier currently has eight aircraft, all of which are various models of the Boeing 767. The new livery is a unique design inspired by the local colors and geography of the destinations they will serve.

With a new slogan of “Go Eastern,” PrimeAir is ready to go along for the ride!

Prime Group’s Long Affair With Valentine’s Day

If you’re involved in any sector of the fresh-cut flower business and you’re reading this right now – get back to work!

Although we’re just moving out of the peak Valentine’s Day period, January 25 through February 7, there’s still a lot of work to be done. With International Women’s Day around the corner, the clock is ticking and there’s little time to rest.

But all kidding aside, I’m glad you’re here, because it gives me an opportunity to say thanks to all of our freight forwarders with whom we get to work so closely this time of year, and to our shippers and air carriers who so depend on us.

I’m also grateful for the passion for perfection exhibited by our team of dedicated hard-working employees who continue to do what they do best – especially over the past few weeks.

The monstrously high volumes we are presently handling is nearly unimaginable for the typical consumer. But we’re used to it. We’ve been working with perishables for so long, it’s become second nature to expect nothing less – and to provide nothing short of perfection.

So hats off to the dedicated folks in our two divisions that play such an integral role in preparing, shipping, and delivering such delicate and highly time-sensitive product as fresh-cut flowers – PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling. Our customers depend on you and you deliver every day.

This is also the time of year that my business partner Omar Zambrano and I pay homage to the company’s core business of providing top-line logistics support for the flower industry. Since day one, shipping roses and other fresh-cut flowers from South America to the U.S., and now Europe and beyond, has been our main focus.

In fact, flowers are the very reason Prime Group exists today – and continues to succeed. They are the seed that started it all, and that are allowing the company to thrive and strategically expand into other profitable business and product lines.

It’s a busy time. It’s an exciting time. And there’s always time to say thank you.

So thanks! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Change of Name to ‘Prime Logistics’ Affirms Emergence of a Major Global Player

There’s something new in the air, and on the ocean, and in the warehouses, and on the highways, and at the brokerage houses.

When it comes to a corporate name, it’s probably a good idea that it incorporates all that the company does. But in the case of Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, the list got so long it couldn’t even fit across company letterhead!

“New Years is all about new beginnings, so what better time to formally announce the new name of one of our biggest divisions – to Prime Logistics,” says Roger Paredes, CEO of Prime Group Holdings. “And in the process, it effectively affirms our emergence as a major global leader in the worldwide logistics market.”

The transition started slowly late last year, showing up first in email addresses, on stationery, and then in the logo on the company web page. But all along, it’s been business as usual at Miami-based Prime Logistics.

With offices and warehouse facilities in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles, Prime Logistics has a unique ability to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight to and from the U.S. for a wide range of major industries. They do so by capitalizing on long-time relationships with major air carriers and ocean lines, in order to offer competitive rates and ample space to destinations all around the world.

Under it’s new name, Prime Logistics will continue to support the shipping needs of multiple trans-global companies including makers of electronics, hospital equipment, automotive parts, fresh-cut flowers, and even vaccines – just to name a few.

Founded in Ecuador, the company was originally named PrimeAir because it focused solely on GSSA services between Quito and Miami. But soon after setting up shop in Miami in the early 2000s, customers and flower importers here started requesting freight forwarding services to other Latin American destinations.

“Initially we resisted, because it was seemingly outside our area of expertise. But as the requests continued, we recognized it as an opportunity to step up to do what needed to be done and meet the new demand,” said Paredes. “At that point we decided to form a company called PrimeAir Cargo.”

Next came a flood of requests to ship by sea, so the company jumped in to fill that void. In the process, company name had to be changed again, to reflect our expanded scope of operations – and so was born the name Prime Air & Ocean Cargo.

Over the years, the trajectory of service took the company to new heights, by including trucking services within the continental U.S., warehousing, customs brokerage services, and more.

“And so it was time yet again for a name change, presumably for the last time because I believe this final iteration truly reflects all the services we presently offer – and may offer into the future.

“Prime Logistics clearly fits the bill, ” he added, “because in just two words it succinctly and clearly affirms our emergence as a major one-stop-shop in the field of international logistics.”

Today, under it’s new name, Prime Logistics continues to provide logistics and related services for multiple trans-global companies including makers of electronics, hospital equipment, automotive parts, fresh-cut flowers, and even vaccines – just to name a few.

Big or small – whether it’s one box, one pallet, or a company-wide logistics management operation – call Prime Logistics at 305-592-2044 or visit www.primelogisticsgroup.com.

Out With The Old and In With The New

As we join together to celebrate the New Year and the launch of a new decade, allow me to wish you all the best in 2020, and thank you for helping to make 2019 a banner year for the companies of Prime Group Holdings.

Few holidays are celebrated the world over like New Years Day. It’s that one universal moment of bliss and hope where people all across the globe vow to toss aside the old and welcome the new.

It’s also a time when revelers partake in all sorts of traditions, like bolting down a dozen grapes right before midnight, symbolizing great promise in the 12 months ahead.

But mostly it’s about partying, dancing, drinking, and eating, which is also the case in my hometown of Quito. But there’s one big difference, something that no one else in the world does.

For as long as I remember, an essential part of our New Years holiday included celebrating with “Año Viejos effigies. Translated as “Old Years,” it consists of making and displaying artistic paper-Mache dolls – and then setting them on fire at the stroke of midnight!

These Año Viejo dolls typically represent all kinds of figures associated with the past year. Especially popular are cartoon characters, celebrated sports figures, and ridiculed politicians.

Growing up, everyone I knew did this. And it obviously isn’t just about burning brightly colored dolls. It remains a tradition because it signifies the human desire to continually improve, shed past behaviors and actions, and make way for new possibilities. It is essentially our way of joining the world in saying, “Out with the old and in with the new.”

And not to say old is bad. Because looking back and remembering is an important exercise that gives us space to reflect on all the good things that have brought us to this point. And from this point we get to grow, improve, and advance.

That’s precisely what we’re doing at Prime Group. As a company, we are at a point where smart growth and planning is bringing us great success. But I believe we can do even better – and that’s exactly what we plan to do in the year ahead.

Our overarching goal last year was to clear the way for what’s to come, by focusing on re-assessment and planning. Because as you start growing, it is imperative that you get better organized.

How we went about that was by initiating innovative business processes and technologies throughout 2019 to make way for greater efficiencies and new growth in 2020.

One example of this is the anticipated integration of a new system of software across our entire international network, provided through Microsoft Dynamics 365.

It had become nearly impossible – and totally inefficient – to manage with four different accounting systems. We were using one set of business-tracking and accounting software in Ecuador, a totally different set in New York, and another in Miami and in Amsterdam.

So for 2020, we are engaging in a companywide migration to Microsoft Dynamics 365, an all-in-one business management solution that will help us to connect financials, sales, service, and operations to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions, and make better decisions across all Prime Group divisions.

It’s powerful tool that will allow us to better manage our financials, accelerate financial close and reporting, and improve forecast accuracy.

And in the case of our product-focused divisions, it also promises to automate and secure our supply chain by optimizing inventory levels, reducing lost sales and shortages, and maximizing profitability.

Another goal – one that we actually roll out every year – is to continue growing the commercial side of our operation. We will focus on expanding our client base in all divisions: For PrimeAir, add more airlines and new territories; for Prime Logistics (formerly Prime Air & Ocean Cargo ), more importers and new suppliers; for Prime Fresh Products, more supermarket chains and new distributors; and for Prime Fresh Handling, more fish, more produce, and pursue all new lines.

Simply stated, our New Year’s resolution is “new, new, and more new” through constant innovation and adaptation. We will continue building upon our successes, and creating new possibilities and customers in all-new service areas – while maintaining our highest levels of service.

So again, from our Prime Group family to yours, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.