A view from the window seat

They say, when you’re 18 years old, everything is possible and tomorrow looks friendly.

Like humans, businesses have lifecycles, too. In 2019, as Prime Group celebrates its 18th year in operation, it is moving from what industry experts call the “Growth and Establishment” phase into “Expansion” – an exciting time indeed.

So, in order get a good view of where Prime Group and its four divisions are going in the year ahead, let’s take a look at where they have come from.

Over the past couple years, as Prime Group has continued to take on new customers, it’s been busy managing increasing levels of revenue, staying ahead of the competition, and expanding its workforce.

More recently, Co-Founders Roger Paredes and Omar Zambrano also took a bold step to start establishing real order and cohesion by mobilizing each divisional team according to clearly defined and communicated goals. This was achieved with the help of internationally renowned London Consulting Group.

“We signed on to work closely with the London consultants to enhance operational efficiencies that will ensure Prime Group is able to adapt to changes precipitated by our anticipated growth,” said Roger Paredes.

After months of studying the company inside and out, a broad range of action steps got underway to restructure and streamline operations. Starting in 2018, they ranged from expanding Prime Group’s space in Miami and at stations all across its system, to instituting new internal processes to make the company more agile and efficient.

New Headquarters

In August 2018, the company pulled up stakes and relocated the international headquarters in Doral. The new and significantly larger office-warehouse complex, within close proximity to MIA, offers a promising platform for continued success.

“We now boast more than 4,000 square feet of office space in the new building and doubled the size of our warehouse to 20,000 sqft,” said Zambrano.

 

A Push for PAOC

Multiple initiatives now being realized also include the start of a commercial push for Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, the freight-forwarding side of the business. Based here in Miami, PAOC’s expanded warehouse and storage facility at the new Doral headquarters will not only fuel its progress, but also position PAOC for greater diversification in 2019.

Says Zambrano, “We are looking forward to a very good year. Brazil in particular will become a more significant player in 2019, along with several other principal countries in South America.”

PrimeAir on the Move

Over the past year, PrimeAir saw an enhancement of business relationships with partners that share the company’s goals – particularly Emirates SkyCargo and Atlas Air.

This summer, the division that serves as an integrated General Sales and Services Agent around the world, was appointed as SkyCargo’s new GSSA in the Colombian market, following Emirate’s launch of international cargo service into Bogota. This supplements an existing separate schedule of daily flights in neighboring Quito.

Speaking of Quito, the company boosted staffing in 2018 to accommodate a shift in focus from a purely PrimeAir office to a fully diversified Prime Group operation, offering entire spectrum of brands under one roof.

Similarly, BOG is following suit, so that the parent company’s multiple divisions are on track to become the top provider of air cargo logistics and services in that region, as well.

Prime Fresh Handling

Prime Fresh Handling is handling its operation well. Over past year, there was a continued emphasis on boosting PFH’s services at both LAX and at JFK , two of the newest and most successful station operations in the Prime Group system.

Amsterdam, too, is emerging as a key player for the company. A primary gateway to the entire European market, the new Schiphol operation is today recognized as a prime location for opportunity – and success.

Ready for Prime Time

This is a real success story: Prime Fresh Products, specializing in working in-country to take perishable, shelf-stable products to market in one integrated path, is taking the snack world by storm – in the form of unique new lines of snacks under the Prime Planet name.

After seeing great success with Prime Planet Tostones – and their 2018 foray into big South Florida supermarkets like Publix – the company realized it was a perfect time to grow this division and will continue to do so through 2019.

In concert with the launch of Prime Planet Parsnip Chips and Cassava Chips, PFP is also set to gain greater exposure in 2019 with the recent launch of its new slogan, “A Natural World of Flavor.”

 

Looking Ahead

The next phase in the business lifecycle is “Expansion.” To get there, Prime Group plans to focus on 2019 as a launch pad to propel the company into 2020 and beyond. Paredes says that stabilizing the ship, so to speak, for a smooth journey ahead is what 2019 will be all about.

He also notes that in 2019, Prime Group will continue to enhance the portfolio of airlines they work with in order to expand into more markets in South America, Asia, and other U.S. cities and states. “And there’s some promising surprises in store, too.”

Many entrepreneurs agree, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards.

“I agree,” says Paredes, “and with careful planning in 2019 and constant vigilance to the quality of service we provide, Prime Group will be better positioned for success than every before in our history.”

Miami/Doral is home to Prime Air & Ocean Cargo

Tucked in the suburbs just northwest of Miami International Airport, Doral is dubbed the fastest growing big city in Florida and the 11th fastest in the country. This rising young town is also a hotspot for trans-global companies such as Prime Air & Ocean Cargo – a rising division of its Doral-based parent company, Prime Group.

Prime Air & Ocean Cargo (PAOC) has extensive experience and knowledge in getting cargo from point A to B, matching the transportation needs of major industries all over the globe with creative, smart logistics solutions.

And for this long-standing company, Miami/Doral serves as a prime location for growth, opportunity, and successes – now and for years to come.

To get a better perspective on the Miami operation, we caught up with Omar Zambrano, co-founder of Prime Group, who oversees the day-to-day management PAOC.

 

Q:With the continued success of the MIA operation, tell us about your recent move to an all-new facility in Doral.

OZ: After outgrowing our previous home, we moved the company’s operation this summer into an all-new facility of 20,000 sqft, just three miles from the MIA cargo zone. It’s still within the city limits of Doral, because this area serves our needs so well – and the needs of our customers. Here we have 500 positions on rack, which is the right way to keep the cargo in good condition. Also, we now have parking space that accommodates 53-foot trailers.

The much-needed move, actually included relocation of the entire Prime Group portfolio of companies: PAOC, PrimeAir, Prime Fresh Handling, and Prime Fresh Products.

 

Q:What is your strategy with the MIA operation?

OZ: Our strategy for success lies within our team of people. PAOC has been in the enviable position of attracting and retaining extremely qualified professionals with skills and expertise spanning the entire logistics spectrum. PAOC employees are trained to handle general cargo, hazardous material, perishable cargo, and over-size cargo – via air and ocean shipment. In addition, our entire staff is bilingual in English and Spanish.

It’s also important to note, we are always ready to help our customers with any problems, challenges, or questions they may have. It simply doesn’t matter if it’s late at night or over the weekend. Our clients absolutely love our dedication to service – that’s why we have a very high level of customer retention. And in the few instances a customer leaves us for a competitor, it’s just a matter of time until they make their way back to PAOC.

 

Q:How is the market performing for the company?

OZ: PAOC is very well known in the international market. On a weekly basis, for instance, we move more than 50 tons from China in transit to South America. We we keep just keep growing, year after year – and 2018 was certainly no exception.

 

Q: Where are your biggest customers based?

OZ: The majority of PAOC’s customers are out of Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Holland, and Italy.

 

Q: What are the primary products PAOC focuses on with its marketing and shipment efforts?

OZ: The main products we transport include electronics, hospital equipment, ATM-machine parts, fresh-cut flowers, and vaccines. As you can see, that’s a wide-ranging mix of products and material, but honestly, that’s what makes our business so interesting.

 

Q. We’ve heard PAC will see a “commercial push” in 2019. Tell us about that.

OZ: What this means is we are focusing on increased diversification. With the ability to move all kinds of cargo, including perishables, we are extremely well positioned to manage the ups-downs of the market. We are anticipating a very good year in 2019. Brazil in particular will be growing this coming year, as well other principal countries in South America.

Our very good relationships with air carriers and ocean carriers allow PAOC to offer great rates and ample space to all destinations, inclusive of space on passenger flights.

 

Q: What kind of expertise is required to beat the competition?

OZ: In one word, it’s know-how. Well, that’s two words, kind of! But the fact is, we know the logistics business up and down, from origin to destination. We have very close relationships with our customers, which allows us to always find solutions. By aligning ourselves with our customers, side-by-side, we always find the best way to move their cargo, based on their needs. Flexibility is also one of our greatest qualities, allowing us to accommodate last-minute requests.

 

Q:What is the composition of your team?

OZ: The Miami PAOC operation consists of the following team members:

  • Igor Vilas Boas – Cargo Manager, Export & Import
  • Brian Rivas – Ocean Operation
  • Roy Paredes – Brazil Operation
  • Kahrenn Leiva – South America Operation
  • Roberth Valdes – South America Operation
  • Francisco Zumarraga – Sales Executive
  • Tatiana Hernandez – Quotes
  • Pamela Espinoza – Pricing
  • And in the warehouse, staff members are Minerva Pedraza, Alain Ciscal, Joshuan Hernandez, and Javier Soza.

 

Q:Tell us a about your history with Prime Group and in the industry.

OZ: I got my start in the airline business in Ecuador in 1997, working for Avianca Cargo; and then Transoceanica were I become deputy manager for cargo with Lufthansa and Lan Chile Cargo. In 2001, I joined up with Roger Paredes to form our own company, Prime Air, which was the GSA for AGI, operating six flights per week to Miami. Our market was Quito-Miami with B747F equipment. By 2004, I moved to Miami to fulfill the dream of expanding our operations beyond Ecuador and diversifying our service portfolio.

In October of that year, I started moving cargo from Miami to Quito with Arrow Air. Many of the contacts I had in Ecuador started contacting me to arrange their export from Miami to Quito, so business was good and continued to expand.  In 2005, we rented a small warehouse of just 2,500 sqft, but by 2008 expanded into a 5,000-sqft warehouse. Growth continued and in 2010 we moved into a to 10,000-sqft warehouse – and then this past year, into the new 20,000 sqft space.

Now PAOC is well known among all the airlines and ocean carriers in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles due to the high volume of cargo we move and the exceptional quality of our services.

For information, contact Prime Group Co-Founder Omar Zambrano at ozambrano@primegroup.aero or by calling 305-592-2044.  Also visit www.primeaircargo.com.

Consumers are finding Prime Planet snacks taste ‘out of this world’

Prime Fresh Products’ line of tropical vegetable snacks is taking off with the introduction of healthy and delicious Prime Planet Parsnip and Cassava Chips.

 

The innovative tropical-packaged food company launched the new product line in September. The new better-for-you chips join the existing – and amazingly popular – Tostones, Maduritos, and Quinoa Cereal presently being produced and distributed by Prime Planet, a division of Prime Fresh Products.

 

Up to this point, the company has primarily been focusing on its flagship product, Prime Planet Tostones, a crunchy green plantain chip that Marcia Tipiana says is the best in the market. Tipiana is Operations Coordinator for Prime Fresh Products, based in Doral, Fla..

 

“We are number one in quality and taste because our Tostones are processed naturally under the highest quality standards, and because they’re a delicious alternative to other typical snack chips in the market,” she says. “Our Tostones are also very popular because they appeal to a growing number of consumers who are nutrition conscious.”

 

With the Tostones serving as an irresistible entree to the healthy-snacking market, Prime Planet is now doubling down by launching chips created from cassava and parsnip, two vegetables that have many health benefits.

 

“We believed we could make parsnip and cassava more appealing to our customers by using the minimum quantity of salt and vegetable oil – and the end result is a unique and new delicious snack option,” said Tipiana.

 

As with the Tostones, vegetable chips are part of growing trend among consumers who want to lead a wellness-oriented lifestyle. Prime Planet products are gluten free, Kosher with no sugars added, and can be part of a balanced healthy diet as well.

 

“Consumers are more health conscious these days, which is why we intentionally market our products as ‘better-for you’ snacks. With such new options in the marketplace, people don’t have to try to snack less, just better – and Prime Planet is well positioned to help meet this emerging demand,” says Tipiana.

 

One of Prime Planet’s core values is something called, “ethical supply sourcing,” where they are very selective in picking their chip ingredients and product suppliers. And with South America being a major plantain producer, at the moment the company is primarily sourcing its product from there.

 

“Our suppliers must follow certain standards such as having a HACPP program (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points Plan), be Kosher certified, and have other quality controls in place,” said Tipiana.

 

In addition to ensuring top quality, Prime Fresh Products also wants its customers to know they are being truthful every step of the way.

 

For instance, she says they do not label their Tostones as “healthy,” rather, they are described as a better option than traditional snack chips.

 

“Consumers love our honesty and the fact that we do everything we can to make our products as natural as possible. At the same time, our chips taste great, they come in awesome packaging, and they’re looked upon as something different for a change. It’s a win-win for everyone,” she added.

 

So where do consumers find Prime Planet Tropical Vegetable Snacks? Right now, at Publix Supermarkets throughout South Florida. But over the next couple years, Tipiana says the trajectory is for Tostones to be available nationwide.

 

Prime Planet is also getting ready to blast off with a new slogan, “A Natural World of Flavor,” driving home the point that by using simple yet innovative ingredients, snacking can be incorporated in a balanced diet without depriving yourself from the tastiest flavors in our planet.

 

Stay tuned. The Prime Planet journey has only just begun.

 

Operations Coordinator Marcia Tipiana may be reached by calling 786-956-0080 or via opscoordinator@primefreshproducts.com. For general information, visit www.primefreshproducts.com.

Alex Paredes Appointed North America Sales Manager for Prime Fresh Handling

Reflecting the rapid growth of Prime Group and its multiple divisions worldwide, Alex Paredes has been appointed Sales Manager for Prime Fresh Handling in North America.

This newly formed position will oversee PFH sales at the company’s station operations at New York JFK, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Miami International Airport (MIA).

Dedicated to a career in logistics since an early age, Quito-native Paredes graduated from La Salle High School before earning his degree as a Business Administration Technician from German School in 2010.

Alex first served with Transoceanica/Lufthansa Cargo as Booking Agent for three years before being promoted as National Cargo Chief with at Lan Cargo in Ecuador. In 2013, upon introduction of Atlas freighter service between Quito (UIO) and Amsterdam (AMS), Alex joined PrimeAir as Quito Sales Manager. As additional aircraft capacity was introduced at UIO and his responsibilities grew, he was subsequently selected to be an integral part of PrimeAir’s opening of BOG Station.

By 2016, Alex was transferred to JFK where a new challenge awaited him with the expansion of Prime Fresh Handling in the New York market. Here, as Sales Manager of PFH, he oversaw sales operations of this logistics and handling facility focusing on perishables.

With his relocation to JFK, Alex noted, “From a business standpoint, New York, it is truly unbeatable,” due to the fact that it’s the most populated U.S. city per square foot. “You can find always someone trying to sell or buy something here I this amazingly robust market.”

Following the company’s steady growth over the past two years in the New York market, Alex is now ready to take his energy and enthusiasm to a new level. With the recent opening of a PFH operation at LAX, he is now taking over sales management of that facility as well, while focusing on expanding business opportunities in both New York and Los Angeles.

As the North American Sales Manager for PFH, Alex will be responsible for:

  • Identifying opportunities to expand the business through new markets/customers;
  • Analyzing sales, marketing, finance, and other data to gain insights into how to improve company performance;
  • Maintaining a productive relationship with existing clients;
  • Setting and fulfilling company goals and generating analytics.

Based in Miami, Prime Fresh Handling benefits from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide. For general information, visit www.primegroup.aero.

Alex Paredes may be reached at the JFK Office by calling 516-837-9777 or via e-mail at salesjfk@primegroup.aero.

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.