Employing the Rules of Weight and Balance in the Workplace

In our line of work, providing ground operations services for our air cargo partners, it is essential to understanding the principles of weight and balance. Without question, we comply with the recommended limits of a particular cargo aircraft – after all, knowing these rules are critical to its structural integrity and flight safety.

What if we had such stringent rules around managing our own “work-life balance.” Well, some of us do. Problem is, many of us don’t. As a result, people in the workplace often find themselves compromising their well-being and performance on the job – without even knowing it.

The idea behind this concept of work-life balance is to achieve an ideal balance between your working life and private life. It is a concept whereby the maximum happiness of an employee acts as the fuel for productive and fulfilling work.

And although there is no rulebook, summer time often presents a prime opportunity to do just that – by unplugging from work. In fact, now that kids are going back to school, we are just coming out of a key period during which we were able to step back and spend quality time with the family, go on a summer vacation, or engage in some form of personal development.

In summers past, because it is a little slower in our industry, I was able to take time out of my busy schedule to spend it with my family. We would alternate between taking the kids to Ecuador to reconnect with their family in Quito; and then over the next summer, we would head north to see their grandparents at a lovely cottage up on Lake Michigan.

One year we drove all the way back from Michigan to Miami, taking offshoots all along the way. We got to see and experience Memphis and New Orleans, and cities people don’t typically visit, like Springfield, Il., Baton Rouge, La., and Tallahassee, Fla. Together, we got a totally new perspective of the American scene.

And in the process, I got to re-energize. Though it wasn’t always easy pulling away from work, it was so important on so many levels.

Because the ability to turn off distractions and enjoy uninterrupted quality time is a great way to relax, rejuvenate, and regenerate. It allows us to get away from the pressures of everyday work life, and come back to the job with a new perspective – and actually be happier and more productive on the job.

That’s important stuff. Having a healthy life-work balance makes us better to work with, better able to serve our customers, and better people in general.

I hope you give some weight to this idea of finding balance in your life.

Prime Group Boosts Presence on European Stage

Prime Group’s sales team chalked up a long list of highly productive meetings and promising leads at last month’s Air Cargo Europe 2019, the world’s leading trade fair held in Munich for the air cargo and logistics industry.

While there, says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes, they made it a point to not only buttress relations with current business partners Atlas Air and Emirates SkyCargo, but also to pursue key introductions with several additional cargo airlines. “Because at end of the day we are sharpening our focus on serving other carriers in untapped markets to and from South America.”

For years, Prime Group has had a significant presence at the major trade shows in North and South America, most notably, at Air Cargo Americas in Miami, because it is right in their back yard.

Comprised of four separate divisions, Prime Group is based in Doral, Fla., bordering Miami International Airport. The companies include Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, Prime Fresh Handling, Prime Fresh Products, and PrimeAir.

“As we continue to put greater emphasis on global expansion, it is vitally important that we make our name known among potential customers all across the world,” said Paredes.

Air Cargo Europe is an international exhibition with an accompanying high-profile conference offering opportunities for prominent industry representatives to discuss the latest trends and topics.

Reflecting the major growth of the cargo industry overall, this year’s show, June 4 to 7, saw a 10 percent increase in exhibitors (to 2,400), as well as a jump in visitors to the show – with more than 64,000 in attendance for 2019.

Top topics included status of the trade war between the USA and China, discussion of the “New Silk Road,” and how artificial intelligence will help the industry in the long term by making logistics chains more transparent and efficient.

Most impressive for the Prime Group team was the sharp increase in the number of Chinese attending the show, as Chinese firms are increasingly looking for cooperation partners in Europe. With Prime Group’s strong and growing presence in Amsterdam and multiple service connections to and from South America, this came as very good news. After all, sparking new growth in capacity between Europe and the Asia market is one of the company’s prime objectives – especially during peak seasons for fresh flowers and other perishables.

Despite the fact that current relations between the governments of the U.S. and China are not conducive at the moment, says Paredes, “We have to be open to options and think in the long term.”

With an exhibition covering 10 halls, the top 10 exhibitor countries after Germany were: Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, France, Poland, China, Austria, Spain, U.K., and the Czech Republic. New exhibitors this year included Fercam, Neutral Air Cargo, Hong Kong COSCO Shipping Lines, China Asia Shipping, and Yuxinou Logistics.

Paredes said there are significant benefits to participation in trade shows – and this show in particular allowed his team to check many boxes. First and foremost:
• The ability to effectively advertise their brand to thousands of vendors, prospective customers, and industry leaders;
• To see familiar faces and build upon existing relationships; and
• To generate high-quality leads and close sales.

“It’s also a great way to display our latest products and services, while keeping an eye on your competitors” he added.

“We’ll definitely be back, as Air Cargo Europe is the perfect networking platform thanks to its massive global appeal.”

Celebrating 18 Years of Prime Group Success

While flipping through some old photo albums in preparation for our company’s 18th anniversary this month, a great rush of nostalgia came over me. It was just so satisfying to look back at the myriad milestones we achieved over the years and the amazing growth we’ve experienced.

There we were in dozens of pictures with bright smiling faces accepting corporate awards, rolling out new services in new markets, working major trade shows… Some things never change.

But then again, some things change a lot – and I’m not just referring to how young I looked! As I sat there looking down memory lane, it suddenly hit me that all those faces looking back at me were on glossy color-photo paper pasted into a faux leather-bound book. That’s how we use to do it! Using a “technology” that is now considered totally out of date in today’s digital world.

Who could have foreseen the avalanche of impending advancements that would not only revolutionize how we capture and share images, but in the process, deal a deathblow to major corporate giants like Kodak and Polaroid. I am sure they wish they were better prepared for what was coming.

Lessons Learned
So, lessons learned. But also lessons applied – which is why I can say with great confidence that as we celebrate 18 years in business, I firmly believe Prime Group is extremely well positioned to survive the unknown unknowns. Because we have a strategy in place that keeps our companies open to all possibilities. We are not only nimble, but entirely deliberate in the way we are diversifying our business lines.

Who would have thought 18 years ago we would be here today using cutting-edge communications technology to track and monitor the status of thousands of pounds of fresh fish arriving at LAX and JFK, real-time, for a whole new base of customers. That’s what’s happening right now at Prime Fresh Products.

Who would have thought we’d have created a line of snack-foods, Tostones harvested and packaged in Ecuador for distribution among major retail supermarkets all across the U.S. That’s what is happening now at Prime Fresh Products.

Well Positioned
And all this upon a backdrop of aggressive sales and marketing efforts geared toward boosting awareness of the Prime Group brand in a way that will position us for long-term growth in new and emerging markets around the globe.

They say the only constant in business is change. With that in mind, we are continually monitoring our alignment with defined organizational challenges and objectives. We are also keenly aware that our business can be influenced by:

• Increased diversity and globalization in the workforce, customers, suppliers, and competitors;
• New technologies that have resulted in faster pace and larger scale;
• A more complex communications environment with more channels; and
• Changes in business situations and strategy.

So in 18 years, when I look back at our bright smiling faces, the moments, and milestones – stored on an antiquated USB drive – I will know that right there in the background, there were smart and strategic efforts taking place to ensure the long-term success of our company.

Thank you for being with us on this journey.

More than just another success story

Few things are as important as giving your mother the undivided love and attention she deserves.

That’s why I am so thankful that by the time Mother’s Day actually arrives each year, those of us in the flower industry have pretty much accomplished everything we need to do in advance of this important day, whereby allowing us to be truly present to honor the amazing women in our lives.

As the busiest time of year for PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling, the work we do starts well over a month prior to Mother’s Day – and I must say, the frenetic pace by which our people perform is nothing short of astounding. Night and day, right up to about a week before, they work tirelessly to ensure that your Mother’s Day bouquet makes the journey from farm to florist, fast and fresh, and into mom’s arms by that second Sunday in May.

No complaints though, because we love what we do – and it shows. From a revenue and reliability standpoint, the 2019 season may very well have been our healthiest season ever. Adding up the all the flights from Bogota and Quito we operated on behalf of our air-cargo clients, and the number of kilos we moved across our network, it was a banner year.

What’s more, not surprisingly, the level of satisfaction among our customers is also at an all-time high, as a result of zero problems with shipments, zero reported claims, and zero delays.

What’s it called when news keeps getting better, year after year? It’s called a successful business!

But this year, it’s more than just another good news story. That’s because even as our corporate footprint has significantly expanded over the past year, we were able to exceed expectations in service delivery and reliability even at our newly expanded facilities in Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam.

All across the board, we were well prepared for the high season, fully staffed with experts, and more than ready to manage the shipment of fresh flowers in a smooth, professional, and efficient fashion.

At Prime Group, everything keeps coming up roses!

Prime Group Salutes Quito Airport

I recently came across a quote by Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos that really resonated with me: “You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

With those few words, I realized he was describing the very thing that has forged our own company’s reputation since starting operations in Quito 18 years ago.

Prime Group knows how to do hard things well. Period.

In fact, we’ve mastered the handling of time-sensitive perishables and specialty cargo to such a degree that when someone in logistics thinks “Quito,” they instantly think “Prime Group.”

Our reputation for providing best-in-class service here is also why we’re the go-to GSSA for the biggest names in air cargo, like Atlas Air and Emirates SkyCargo.

And now we’re seeing a clear sign that success breeds success: the combination of top-quality airlines and Prime Group’s unmatched brand of service is playing a significant role in the success of the overall cargo operation at Quito airport.

At this year’s Air Cargo Excellence Awards (ACE), presented by Air Cargo World magazine, Mariscal Sucre International Airport was recognized with the prestigious Diamond Award.

The award considers the performance, facilities, and value delivered – through the eyes of freight forwarders, cargo agents, and third-party logistics providers. In all these areas, Quito has achieved the highest grades for excellence among airports handling under 400,000 tonnes annually.

To me, this affirms the notion that no matter where we operate, Prime Group companies continually excel, improve, and set new standards. Of course there are many factors that play a part in Quito’s excellence, but certainly we have left an indelible and positive mark on the overall operation – and continue to do so every day here.

So on behalf of our dedicated team of flight dispatchers, administrative and accounting agents, operations and traffic supervisors and agents, and sales representatives in Quito, we congratulate Mariscal Sucre International Airport on this well deserved honor.

And we humbly promise to continue to do our part to ensure that together we may celebrate this important honor year after year, long into the future.

Lastly, allow me also to congratulate one of our most important customers, Emirates SkyCargo, for winning the ACE Diamond Award as the top carrier for 2019 in the airline competition.

Well done, team!

Prime Group is on the world stage with WCA membership

As a newly accepted member of the World Cargo Alliance, I am pleased to report Prime Group made its long-awaited debut at the annual WCA Global Conference in Singapore last month, alongside 2,800 other delegates from 100 countries.

With record-breaking attendance, it was our time to be there, to be seen, and to experience first-hand what it means to be a member of this prodigious organization – the most powerful network of independent freight forwarders with over 7,000 members in nearly 200 countries worldwide.

The journey to Singapore has been a long one – and not just because my business partner Omar Zambrano had to endure a 17-hour flight to get there. But because acceptance into this renowned alliance signifies a major step forward in the evolution of Prime Group.

Networking among thousands of contacts under one roof is definitely a big plus. In fact, they say more than 75,000 face-to-face meetings between WCA participants took place at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Center.

But the overarching benefit is the ability for Prime Group to now begin conducting business on behalf of our customers, virtually anywhere in the world on-demand, in partnership with any of the thousands of pre-qualified WCA member companies – and with complete security and peace of mind.

Traditionally, growing a company of our size can be a challenge, due to the difficulty in attracting large-scale customers like Toyota, Mercedes Benz, and Walmart that typically work only with the world’s biggest names in the global logistics.

Being in the WCA, however, immediately enhances our company profile by putting us in a league with these big players in the business. Now we can effectively meet the needs of any major multinational customer with great assurance by tapping into the experience and professional know-how of our fellow WCA members. We are everywhere!

The journey actually started about 18 months ago when we realized that in order to compete for “next-level” customers, we had to get prepared. The big commercial push by PrimeAir and Prime Air & Ocean Cargo in particular, started by conducting a head-to-toe review and realignment of our operations – all geared toward changing the mind-set of the entire company.

The exciting steps we took to get here – expanding our base of operations, increasing warehousing and office facilities, instituting new processes to make us more agile and efficient, and re-addressing staffing levels and responsibilities – are now allowing us to expand our customer base all across the globe.

Improving our corporate fitness has been a massive endeavor to say the least – and now we’re ready to take on the world, so to speak.

Joining WCA is just one outward sign of our long-term commitment to empower Prime Group to better serve our customers today and well into the future.

It’s an exciting time in the evolution of Prime Group. We’re glad to have you with us.

DHL incorporates PrimeAir in plan to improve experience for worldwide customers

As one of the most familiar players in the ever-expanding Latin American air-cargo logistics market, PrimeAir has once again been called on to assist a major international carrier grow its presence here.

On March 11, DHL Aero Expreso (DAE), a division of DHL Aviation, launched a six-day-a-week rotation of service connecting Quito with Lima and the carrier’s hub in Panama, for both exports and imports from around the world.

Operating a B737-400 aircraft with a capacity of more than 20 tons per flight, DHL appointed PrimeAir as its General Handling Agent (GHA) at Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO).

According to Elizabeth Suarez, PrimeAir’s General Manager for Ecuador and Colombia, the company will be responsible for all ground operations for DHL and vendor coordination.

DHL Express, the world leader in logistics with 35 years of experience in the Ecuadorian market and 50 years globally, presents Ecuador with this new flight from Quito to, basically, the rest of the world as part of its expansion plans and continuous investment in international logistics service.

At first, imports to Quito will be handled by DHL from about 25 countries such as the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, and as far away as Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore, to name a few.

Due to the expanded capacity, the advantages of this new flight include: The option of sending pieces up to 300 kilograms, a boost in packet collection scheduling, and greater availability of space and time for preparation for exports.

This new flight, once a day, Mondays through Saturdays, is complemented with the rest of DHL Express Ecuador services, such as special solutions for electronic stores, real-time tracking system, and more.

 

PrimeAir on the Move

Since 2001, PrimeAir has been providing the best GSSA services in Latin America for the biggest players in the air cargo industry such as Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo, and Emirates SkyCargo – making cargo services, operations, handling, and accounting easy and reliable for airlines working across the globe.

In fact, in recent months, PrimeAir has further enhanced its business relationships with Emirates SkyCargo and Atlas Air. During this same time period, in Quito specifically, the company also has boosted staffing to accommodate a shift in focus from a purely PrimeAir office to a fully diversified Prime Group operation, offering an entire spectrum of brands under one roof.

PrimeAir benefits from being part of Miami-based Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide.