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 Using a “technology” that is now considered totally out of date in today’s digital world.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.

PrimeAir expands with Emirates at BOG

It’s always good to hear when a General Sales and Service Agent lands an agreement with an international cargo carrier – especially in today’s highly competitive environment.

But when a GSSA like PrimeAir gets to announce it is significantly expanding its South American operation due to a new agreement with Emirates SkyCargo, it’s a shout heard around the world.

“This is really big news,” says Roger Paredes, CEO of Miami-based Prime Group, under which PrimeAir operates. “Not just because it is a long and arduous process to be appointed as a GSSA, but because Emirates is so highly respected around the world.”

Emirates is consistently voted one of the world’s best airlines, and its SkyCargo division is ranked the largest cargo airline worldwide, just behind FedEx. Starting in August, the carrier will provide service (via Avianca) between Bogota and both Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando where cargo will connect with an Emirates B777 to Dubai International Airport and beyond. This new service complements Emirates’ existing schedule from neighboring Quito to Amsterdam and beyond.

“They are very selective who they work,” he added. “So when Emirates expanded into Bogota, naturally they went with PrimeAir, one of the best-known names in the Colombian freight-forwarding community.”

Actually, Sky Cargo was already quite familiar with the high caliber service PrimeAir provides. They were appointed as the carrier’s GSSA the day they began flying into Ecuador in 2013. Now, the time-tested relationship with Emirates is expanding here in Colombia.

“Emirates is obviously very pleased with how we’ve been performing,” Paredes continued. As a GSSA, PrimeAir will provide in-country sales, marketing, and accounting for SkyCargo, in addition to airport services such as warehouse supervision, and ULD control.

As a result of the new agreement, PrimeAir now has an opportunity to expand its own overall operation – and presence – at the Bogota station, where they have been serving as Atlas Air’s GSSA for more than two years.

“The airlines clearly see the top quality work we do for them – in fact, a very good job from the cargo sales side, filling up the planes,” noted Paredes. The cargo coming out of Colombia is 99 percent perishables, the majority of which is flowers – which continues to be the primary commodity for PrimeAir in Latin America since its founding in Quito in 2001.

“Being involved in this business for so many years, we have a name. When someone wants a GSSA in Ecuador, they think PrimeAir. And in Colombia, it is a similar story,” says Paredes. “Everyone always thinks of us here.”

But at the end of the day, it is a big feather in the cap of the entire PrimeAir team, to be able to say they represent an international carrier as prestigious as Emirates.

“Emirates is respected all around the world for their on-time performance and reputation as a well organized, professional operation. So to be aligned with such a company actually serves as selling point for us among our freight forwarder customers,” Paredes added.

“After all, as the saying goes, ‘you are judged by the company you keep’.”

PrimeAir serves to make cargo sales, operations, handling, and accounting easy and reliable for airlines operating across the globe. Based in Miami, the company benefits from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated logistics and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide. For information, call 305-592-2044, email info@primeair.aero, or visit www.primeair.aero

Prime Group at Important Crossroads

Miami-based Prime Group finds itself at an exciting crossroads.

The idea that founders Roger Paredes and Omar Zambrano had starting 17 years ago, to provide well-managed solutions in service to the air cargo business, continues to evolve – with a renewed energy and spirit.

Upon completion of an intensive seven-month review and realignment of internal operations, Prime Group is now ready to fly high with a greater sense of agility and efficiency that will help it continue to succeed in the competitive air cargo business.

Known for offering exceptional international cargo and logistics products and services, Prime Group is the umbrella company for several divisions that include PrimeAir, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, Prime Fresh Products, and Prime Fresh Handling.

“Most people will agree that the modern economy is fast and dynamic, and is in a constant state of change,” said CEO Roger Paredes, which is why he believes the greatest challenge facing the industry today is to be able to quickly respond to market change.

“It was becoming more and more evident that, as a company, we had arrived at a point where we had to step up to make strategic and operational changes that will guide us to market leadership,” he added.

So late last year, Prime Group made the decision to invest in its future by selecting London Consulting Group of Monterrey, Mexico. Founded in 1991, and currently operating throughout the America’s and Europe, London Consulting was hired to “free up Prime Group’s potential,” by developing and implementing through the company’s management team major changes and solutions – primarily in the operational areas of the company.

By working with London, Prime Group is ensuring long-term fitness so that it may continue to evolve as a leader in the air cargo and logistics business long into the future.

“They spent seven intensive months onsite with us, reviewing our operations from head to toe,” Paredes continued. “As a result, we are putting into place processes and indicators that give us insights into the warehousing and commercial aspects of our operation all across our system, from Bogota to Los Angeles, to Amsterdam.

With new measurement tools in place, the company is gaining a better perspective – and controls – on everything from yield analysis and aircraft load factors, to efficiently building up jet pallets, and optimization of personnel. They are now able to determine whether work that’s being performed in one particular job group is happening at peak levels of productivity, and then reduce inefficient activities that negatively impact the cost of operations.

The management team also has been coached in prospecting new customers and how to better service existing customers with automated tools that indicate short- and long-term buying trends.

“We are now able to better customize our service because we have better insights into our customer needs,” said Paredes. The side benefit here, internally, is that management may now spend less time with day-to-day tasks, and more time focusing on the strategic side of the business.

“It is of great benefit for an airline to work with a company like ours that has made the investment to put in place such sophisticated tools that allow us discuss trends and to make customized data-based decisions – sometimes with just one click,” he said.

“All of this helps us manage the customer relationships in a much better way,”

So the big question is, was the investment worth it?

“By applying London Group’s methodology, they were able to develop and implement the solutions we needed to achieve greater profitability,” says Paredes. “They promised a sizeable return on investment and we are pleased to report we are seeing permanent results that will allow us to take the Prime Group companies to the next level.

Who Ya Gonna Call…

When the flag carrier of Ecuador suddenly needed to get their hands on a spare $6 million engine, naturally they called Prime Air & Ocean Cargo.

Tame had a pesky AOG situation on their hands – an Embraer 190 sitting idle on the ramp at their base of operations in Quito. Time is money for airlines – big money. They had to get one to get their General Electric CFM34 engines moved from Miami to Mariscal Sucre International Airport swiftly, safely, and the right way.

There’s no margin for error in this business.

Prime Air & Ocean Cargo has been handling parts shipments for the carrier for years, so everything moved smoothly, of course. But whether it’s a single part or a several thousand-pound jet engine, it’s always urgent.

“Time is of the essence, but they know they can depend on us for shipments big and small,” said Prime Group Omar Zambrano.

As soon as they got the green light, the engine was immediately transported from the supplier to Prime Air & Ocean Cargo’s facility just west of MIA via a special air-ride suspension truck to avoid any impact damage. Here, the Prime Air & Ocean Cargo Operations team made sure it was in good condition and ready to ship out with all the proper haz-mat documentation and labeling in place.

“Airlines are going to have maintenance issues from time to time. It’s the nature of the business,” says Zambrano. “But these matters have to be rectified fast, because the ripple effect caused by an AOG or other delays can be crippling to a carrier’s entire operation.

“Everything is urgent, urgent, urgent, but we love the challenge.”