Happy Holidays to all, from the Prime Group family

It has been said that feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. With 2019 coming to a close in just a few short weeks, all of us here at Prime Group hope that this holiday season, and the year ahead, hold great things for you and your entire family of friends and loved ones.

The holiday season is a time to spend with the most important people in your life. It is my wish that in the midst of your celebrations, you find a few moments of peace and embrace the spirit of what this time of year is truly about.

There are no hard and fast rules in holiday reflection. The end of one year and the start of another, along with the holiday time off and gatherings, just seems to naturally inspire us to reflect and express gratitude at every turn!

From a business standpoint, the same rings true. ‘This also the season to reflect, be thankful, and eagerly anticipate. Joined by my business partner Omar Zambrano and the entire Prime Group management team, that’s exactly what we’re doing right now. As the year comes to an end, we’re thinking about what was and what will be.

First and foremost, we thank our employees who are the finest group of professionals ever found at one company. They work hard and long – and strive to be better every day. They understand and live our values at work and most likely at home, by espousing “Honesty; Responsibility; Commitment and Integrity.”

We also wish to thank our customers, without whom, everything is irrelevant. We thank them for their loyalty, appreciation, and their receptiveness to our ideas and solutions.

Prime Group had a very good 2019. We grew the business at an astounding rate compared with our peers. And we made tremendous new staff additions and adjustments – all positive moves geared to support our 2019 goal of realigning the business on the commercial side.

In addition, we increased the scope of products and services for our customers, which also allowed us to work with others we previously had not served. In particular, we focused on growing customers in Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam, and succeeded in doing so.

We dedicated much of 2019 to the reinforcement of our corporate values, which is what will guide us into the New Year. We know adherence to our values makes us better. They define what we want to be, how we want to act, and how we want to be perceived.

Therefore, for 2020, we pledge to continue to be an organization that provides quality services, that is recognized for its honesty and professionalism, and that has a keen eye on constant innovation and adaptation.

Having just finished our budgeting and forecasts for 2020, I am confident I’ll have more good news to share in the months ahead. The plan is to continue building upon our successes, create new possibilities and customers in all-new service areas, all the while maintaining our historic high levels of service.

So, whatever your plans are for the New Year, Prime Group wishes you the best in reaching your goals, and striving for a brighter future.

Trade Shows are Excellent Forums for Learning, Networking, and Promoting

Being part of the never-ending trade show circuit comes with flying around the globe multiple times a year, racking up millions of miles, jet lag.

Moscow, Berlin, Singapore … It might sound glamorous, but it’s a lot of hard work. Yet important work, because we understand the value of networking at these shows and conferences. They are a powerful and necessary part of doing business in international logistics.

Face-to-face exposure is essential to ensuring that the key decision makers in our industry continue to have a firm grasp of our products, services, and expertise in “carrying the weight of the world,” if you will.

And sometimes we mean that quite literally, as in our recent success in shipping bodybuilding weights all the way to a Pakistani gym. Now there’s an interesting story to share.

But it goes well beyond just show-and-tell. There’s relationship building, brand exposure, and great leads to be had at these events. So allow me to share with you the nine boxes we like to check in claiming success at an industry trade show or conference:

First and foremost, trade shows provide you with an organized stage to advertise your brand to thousands of vendors, prospective customers, and industry leaders.

Keep an eye on your competitors. Prospering in this increasingly competitive environment requires you to know your competitors’ business practices and sales tactics so that you can stay one step ahead of them.

Display your latest products and services. By showcasing your best selling items, such as our new and improved Tostones, you can grow your base of purchasers and give prospective customers the chance to touch and feel your best sellers.

Meet new and existing clients face to face. Trade shows and conferences provide a welcome forum for you to put faces with the names of the customers who you normally only deal with over the phone or via email.

Generate high quality leads. Because many attendees participate in trade shows for the sole purpose of purchasing products or services, you can enjoy a robust collection of high-quality leads.

Evaluate new products. Trade shows are full of companies exhibiting their latest and most innovative products. So, don’t be afraid to take it all in – and learn from what you see and experience from your competitors on the trade show floor.

Close sales. Key decision makers comprise a sizable portion of trade show attendees. With nearly half of these decision makers placing orders during a trade show, you should come prepared to close sales and process payments.

Discover the latest industry trends. Trade shows provide the perfect forum for mingling with industry leaders, pioneers, and business big and small that are experimenting with new ways to make logistics products and services better.

Learn about changes in industry regulations. Many trade shows and conferences include seminars and training opportunities that are designed to educate participants about key changes in related laws and regulations.

Clearly, trade shows, and conferences are excellent forums for learning, networking, and promoting the Prime Group companies – and perhaps yours, too. Ramping up your trade show participation is one of the most effective means of expanding your business.

I’m glad we had this opportunity to connect!

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 is 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.

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.

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 Time to Share Thanks

By Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes.

Every Thanksgiving, my family goes around the table to share what we’re thankful for, just before digging into the turkey. Even back when we lived in Quito, my American wife would insist on putting on a huge Thanksgiving dinner each year, complete with all the trimmings, in an effort to keep the stateside tradition going for our young daughters.

 

Close friends and family joining us there really enjoyed the chance to experience this unique American holiday, not just because it was like getting an extra early Christmas turkey meal, but because it focuses on the universal theme of thanks and gratitude.

 

And although this year we plan to take our celebration to the beach here in Miami, the warm and wonderful family tradition of sharing gratitude continues. Be it a beach blanket or formal dining table, it’s really all about being together, breaking bread, and acknowledging those who are most important.

 

Thanksgiving is also a time when we take stock of what we’ve accomplished over the past year and give thanks to all the wonderful people in our lives who have been at our side along the way, like our valued customers.

 

So, I want take a moment to personally let you to know how thankful my business partner Omar Zambrano and I are to be associated with you. Thank you for placing your trust in us and giving us a chance to provide you with our services. Your success is our success – and I am pleased that for so many of you, this has been a banner year.

 

And because much of our company’s good fortune is also tied to our dedicated and talented employees, I want to thank them as well, for the work they do to make our company great. You help us provide top-tier services to our clients every day. Without your commitment, creativity, and high standards, we would not be the thriving company we are. I am very grateful for your efforts.

 

I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with abundance and bright moments.

 

The Inside Scoop on ‘Thinking Outside the Box’

By Roger Paredes, CEO Prime Group.

One of the most well-worn business clichés is “thinking outside the box.” It seems that everyone is obsessed with thinking outside the box – even those of us in air cargo logistics where we spend most of our time thinking about what’s inside the box!

 

But aside from this playful irony, for a business like Prime Group to become a best-in-class company in today’s competitive environment, we must work hard not just on what we do well today, but also on planning what we might do better tomorrow.

 

This requires thinking and performing outside the box.

 

So what’s this term all about? Thinking outside the box is supposed to mean confronting challenges in atypical ways, thinking creatively and freely, and encouraging frequent challenges to the status quo. Sounds like common sense, but this way of thinking is rarer than you might think in corporate America.

 

Not with the Prime Group family. It is evident to our customers that our people work for a company that encourages non-conformity, in an environment that allows them to continually generate new ideas and innovation. Our employees know that the work they do everyday and the ideas they bring to the table can – and do – have a huge impact.

 

The idea to grow a line of imported snacks here in the U.S. is one such move.

 

On the face of it, for a company focused primarily on air cargo logistic to leap into an enterprise that is totally unrelated to its core business is rather unconventional, to say the least.

 

But not the case. After testing the waters by launching our now-popular line of Prime Planet Tostones, we realized it makes great sense to grow this division of Prime Group.

And lo and behold, our outside-the-box thinking brought us right to the parsnip.

 

Yes, the inimitable parsnip chip is now making its way from select producers in Ecuador, via our well-established transportation and distribution network, all the way to grocer’s shelves in North America. They are tasty, unique, and healthy for a mom to give to their kids. And Prime Planet is right at the head of the pack – by thinking outside the bag, in this instance!

 

Prime Group is growing and succeeding because we have successfully cultivated a culture that empowers and inspires our team to approach problems in new, innovative ways; conceptualizing challenges differently; and understanding customer needs in a way perhaps they’d never thought of before.

 

It is important that our customers know this, that the Prime Group imperative is to think inside the box and outside the box – every day.

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