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.

A Prime Approach to Teamwork

Prime Group’s enchantment with flowers continues this month. As our intense focus on Valentine’s Day shifts to meeting the high demand for flowers for International Women’s Day, we stand ready!

Last time, I talked about how the transport of delicate roses from South America – the core of our business since 2001 – has helped to create a hard work ethic among the Prime Group team, one that is unmatched in the industry.

After all, if you can achieve great success in handling precious, time-sensitive flowers year after year, you can pretty much handle anything.

So when I say we have a long enchantment with flowers, I mean our entire team does – from our world headquarters staff in Doral, to our traffic agents in Bogota, to our ramp workers in Quito.

 

Back in the Day

It was on the ramp at Mariscal Sucre International Airport where I saw my first box of fresh-cut flowers, Ecuadorian roses, in fact. That was way back when I got my start in this business, as part of the ground-support crew working flights for Challenge Air Cargo. So I guess you could say, from the very beginning, I was pricked by the rose trade.

It was supposed to be a quick summer job, working as a warehouse guy, building pallets and loading trucks. I had never seen the airport from the air cargo side, let alone right out there next to a plane. It was so exciting. But all the while I’m thinking, “wow, I’m actually doing this!”

Now, all these years later, flowers and aircraft are still such a huge part of my life – a summer job that became a life-long career…

So, today, when I talk with my front-line employees, I get a sense that some of them don’t believe their CEO actually got his start in the industry doing exactly what they are doing.

But it’s all good. Because knowing exactly what it’s like to be in their shoes this busy time of year, working back-to-back flights, week after week, allows us to strike an immediate chord of camaraderie.

In fact, it’s a real sight to see when employees suddenly realize I am not just a corporate “suit,” but a seasoned “jumpsuit, too.”

What I also get to see and understand, first-hand, is that our team has amassed an amazing base of knowledge and expertise over time, to the point where they can expertly avert all kinds of issues on their own – very often before a problem even arises.

What this is about is good old solid teamwork. And it makes me proud to be part of this team.

At Prime Group, we’ve had a long affair with flowers, logistics support, and great customer service. I’m glad we’re working together – for you!

Wishing a wonderful and happy Women’s Day.

Stick to Your Resolutions

It’s hard to believe that the New Year is here. I am thankful for a fulfilling 2018 and a joyous holiday season.

In the year ahead – our 18th anniversary year – we will reinforce the positive changes in 2018 that resulted in favorable growth and prosperity among the four divisions of the parent company, Prime Group.

Going forward, I am also committed to reinforcing those activities that have helped me personally to be my best, so I may continue to enjoy the most meaningful things in life – family, satisfying work, and my health and well-being.

It’s good to have goals, or resolutions as we call them this time of year. One of mine for 2019 is to seek more of a balance between my work life and personal life, something we should all consider in order to be at the top of our game.

Getting fit is another one of those basic resolutions, and it’s certainly no cakewalk! I should know, because it was my top resolution last year. And today I’m happy to report not only did I stick with the plan, but I lost 30 pounds in the process. I have greater energy, dexterity, and more confidence in movement – it even helped with my posture.

So this year, I am going to be resolute in eating smart and healthy, which again is pretty basic, but important at the same time.

This idea of paying strict attention to the basics – be it personally or in business – can yield tangible benefits. If you put in the investment, it pays off.

Again, whether it’s your physical plant or a business, people notice when your operation looks good, when you’re well postured, and when you are on track to meet your goals.

Counting your blessings is also a traditional act we engage in this time of year. But more than an act, gratitude has proven benefits to our overall well-being. I recently learned that giving thanks allows us to feel better rested and have higher self-esteem. So, it turns out that intentional appreciation is more than minding our manners – it’s good for our mental health.

So I’m also using this holiday season to renew my commitment to gratitude. And I am happy to start right now by sharing my appreciation for you, our Prime Group customers.

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and from all of us at the Prime Group family of companies, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year.

Investing in an Upgrade – and in Prime Group’s Future

They say what often drives someone to make a major move is the notion that the grass is greener on the other side. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter what the color of the grass is – or the flowers, for that matter!

Such is the case leading up to the recent move of Prime Group’s international headquarters in Miami. It just had to be done.

So last month, we pulled up stakes and moved to a new office-warehouse complex just a couple miles away in Doral, Fla., that offers a promising path for continued growth.

Companies commonly cite multiple reasons for moving, but for us, the clear driver was the need to upgrade to a larger space that will facilitate that growth. Business is good, we are expanding services, boosting staff – and simply stated, we outgrew our previous outmoded, undersized facility.

But this action was driven by more than just physical-space limitations. The Miami expansion is part and parcel of an overarching strategy to which company partner Omar Zambrano and I have committed over the past year – to restructure and streamline Prime Group in a way that will ensure its long-term success.

The multiple companies under the Prime Group umbrella presently employ about 40 headquarters staff, assigned to the following functions: Administration, Finance, Operations, Sales, and Marketing.

We now boast more than 4,000 square feet of office space in the new facility, compared with just 2,000 sqft in the previous facility. And the same stands true with our new adjoining warehouse, which is double the size of the former warehouse – now at 20,000 sqft.

We may even find it easier to recruit workers because of the new, more modern and attractive location.

 

Making the Move

Although deciding to move is tough, it’s nothing compared to actually making the move. Psychologists will agree that on a personal level, no move is easy. In fact it ranks as one of life’s toughest transitions whether it’s your home or business. I may actually have grown a few gray hairs in the process.

And it’s not without short-term heartburn, as we had to figure in the cost of business interruption. But this move was expertly planned by our professional staff to be swift and well staged. As a result, we’ll see only a minor dip in business productivity over a period of just a few days. I am certain the investment is well worth it.

In business, you have to look closely at the reasons for moving – which we did. You also have to make sure the chosen spot addresses your needs – which it does.

These smart steps, coupled with a strong willingness and ability to shape our own future, guarantee that the grass truly will be greener at our new location and will prove to be one of the best moves in our company’s history.

We look forward to serving you even better from our new facility and invite you to come by for a visit us at 1301 NW 84th Ave, Suite 127, Doral, Florida 33126.

We Are The Company We Keep

Message from CEO Roger Paredes

We have all heard the saying that birds of a feather flock together, meaning that the company you keep reflects your business acumen, philosophy, and practices. A smart and innovative firm surrounds itself with other smart and innovative companies. And will certainly attract similarly successful business partners along the way.

Whether this happens organically or strategically through hard work, focus, and determination, Prime Group is pleased to share that we are succeeding in our pursuit to not only do the best, but be the best. We are continuing to work with the best possible partners in the business who share our goals internally and externally.

We have been very fortunate during our 17-year history to work with the most prominent and professional air-cargo carriers in the business. This includes our long-term relationship with Atlas Air, for whom we have served as their GHA/GSA since our earliest days starting in Quito.

And most recently, we find ourselves in the enviable position of expanding our relationship with Emirates. Last month, we were appointed as their new GSSA in Colombia, following SkyCargo’s launch of services in the Bogota market, via Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando with connections to Dubai and beyond [see details on this announcement at https://primegroup.aero/2018/07/primeair-expands-with-emirates-at-bog/].

As I have stated, this is very big news for our company and I wish to thank everyone on the Prime Group team for the important roles they have played in this long and arduous process. All of your work over the years – ensuring that achievements of this magnitude are possible – has not gone unnoticed and the fruit has begun to bear.

I cannot underscore enough the inextricable link between brand and reputation – and how this announcement regarding Emirates SkyCargo truly is a feather in our cap. Such news reinforces the fact among our many stakeholders and business prospects that they are making the right decision signing on with our services and sharing in a successful future together.

Get Fit, Stay Fit

CEO’s Message

If there is just one thing I have learned over the years, it’s this simple fact: If you don’t adapt in business, you don’t succeed in business. Clearly, the age-old notion of “survival of the fittest” is alive and well in the world of international logistics.

At Prime Group, we’re taking steps right now to ensure we’re able to adapt to rapid changes better than our competitors – not just by expanding our Miami headquarters facility, which I’ll talk about later, but by working with the internationally renowned London Consulting Group to enhance operational efficiencies.

You could say we called them in to help us get our business in better shape – to get fit and stay fit.

This is an investment that my Partner Omar Zambrano and I are very proud of – and something all our customers should be pleased with as well. Because it improves our corporate fitness, it empowers us to better serve our customers, today and well into the future.

History’s leading “change authority” Charles Darwin said it best. Known for his contributions to genetics and evolution, he said something that truly illustrates what the real imperative is for a business today. “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” If ever there was a quote worth framing, this is it!

In the world of logistics, few would argue that we have to keep up with today’s spectacular pace of change – and we should all expect that it will accelerate from here. Darwin drove home that point, showing that those that are able to adapt best to their changing environment have the best chance of surviving.

But like most things in business, rapid change is a double-edged sword – a threat but also an opportunity. By adapting to rapid change better than competitors, we can make great strides; ignoring rapidly changing circumstances, expect to go the way of the dinosaur. Adapting may be difficult, but it is certainly not impossible.

The exciting steps we are taking today – expanding our base of operations and instituting new processes to make us more agile and efficient – will allow us to succeed in putting our customers first. That’s the prime objective – in fact, it’s been our goal every day since we started PrimeAir 17 years ago.

Pride of product, attention to detail, hard work, flexibility, and honesty. It’s in our DNA.

Roger Paredes

CEO, Prime Group

Welcome Aboard!

CEO’s Message

Welcome aboard! As we come out of one of the most successful Mother’s Day seasons ever, I proudly present this very first edition of Prime Group Logistics Insider.

And I do so with a great deal of satisfaction because we were able to successfully meet the enormous demand again this year for expert support of our customers in the flower industry.

The period leading up Mother’s Day is one of the most important times of year for us – and has been since 2001 when my partner Omar Zambrano and I founded Prime Air to provide logistics services for the South American flower industry.

So it seems only natural Mother’s Day would be the focus of our introductory e-newsletter. Future monthly issues will continue to highlight the operations, customers, products, and services offered by the four enterprises under the heading of Prime Group.

My father had a saying he would share with us kids after my mom cooked an amazing meal, or as we were dressed and ushered off to school. Hoping we might appreciate from a young age what deep dedication, care, and commitment looks like, he would slip us these sage words: “A mother’s work is never done.”

And in some ways, as I witness the effort put in this time of year by our team, from sales and operations, in the warehouse and on the ramp, I can’t help but think that the spirit of that saying is alive and well at PrimeAir.

At our core is dedication and a commitment to the mission, and a sense that we never take for granted the end product – our customers. And I have to say, at this time of year, it often seems like our work is never done!

To go from one flight from Bogota per day to four in advance of Mother’s Day is no small feat. We have to basically maintain a 24-hour operation to meet the demand for the transport of fresh flowers in excellent condition, on schedule – and for weeks on end.

You see it in the faces of our employees when a plane is finally loaded and airborne – a great sense of accomplishment through hard work and determination – and then they do it all over again in time for the next flight.

Our team truly embodies the energy and spirit that we instilled in our the company from the very beginning. The very reason our customers believe in PrimeAir is because they know we pride ourselves on attention to detail, hard work, flexibility, and honesty.

Open communications is also a hallmark of our service philosophy. That is why, as we continue to grow, it is so important to maintain good relations with our customer base. Our success is intrinsically linked to your satisfaction and as such, we are grateful for your support and continued business with the Prime Group companies.

We are so pleased to play a part in delivering happiness and joy to so many mothers across the world. Because, after all, the world needs our mothers and we need to do what it takes to show them that we care.

Roger Paredes
CEO, Prime Group