Quito Operation Goes With the Flow for International Women’s Day

Although International Women’s Day was founded in the U.S., it has grown in significance in many other countries worldwide – and Prime Group’s operations in Quito continues to play a key role in keeping this annual tradition going strong.

With Ecuador serving as the primary source of flowers for this March 8 holiday each year, the efforts of both PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling in Quito and Amsterdam are crucial to advancing the company’s winning strategies at meeting the demand of its valued customers.

The Ecuadorian flower market supplies 72 countries around the world with floriculture products. But when it comes to Women’s Day, Europe is the number one market.

In order to ensure the fresh and timely delivery of fresh-cut flowers by March 8 – the day people recognize the most important women in their lives – the peak period for handling and shipping actually begins Feb. 16.

According to PrimeAir Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez, in terms of logistics support, every year is different – but this year, there were several unique aspects at play.

“It was a good season for us, no doubt. First, there was notable increase in air cargo capacity, meaning more service than normal was available out of Quito. But to this we must add factors that were outside the control of the industry that also affected the market and production of flowers.”

Suarez was primarily referring to last fall’s situation in Ecuador during which plantations were attacked by the protesters who barricade roads across the country in response to government policies to end diesel and gasoline subsidies. As a result, fuel prices to spiked across the country – as did tempers – which in turn prevented the normal development of the market.

“The protests did negatively affect overall production, because it delayed the cutting of the plants for the Valentine’s Day period. But apparently this helped to make production for Women’s Day season more stable,” he added.

Ultimately, PrimeAir was able to move 1.2 million kilos of flowers over the two week peak period, Feb. 16 to March 1. “Meeting this challenge took a lot of hard work, but for us, hard work is regular work – and it’s what prepares us to continually be attentive to providing the high levels of service and reliability that our customers demand.”

And so it goes working in a market as sensitive to outside pressures as the fresh-cut flowers.

About Women’s Day
For more than 100 years, International Women’s Day has been celebrated annually round the world on the 8th of March. A public holiday in many countries, it is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights that started back to 1910, when the day was first observed across America and Europe. Later, in 1946, feminists in Italy chose the mimosa flower as a symbol of strength, sensibility, and sensitivity for Women’s Day.

Today, although the mimosa flower maintains a special significance, it’s not the only flower given. Other flowers popular flowers to gift on International Women’s Day are lilies, alstroemerias, tulips, orchids, and roses.

In fact, flower shops across Russia sell upwards of 150,000 roses on March 8. And while pink, yellow, and white carnations are also hugely popular, light pink flowers are highly preferable in the U.K.

Elsewhere in Europe, such as in Romanian, purchasers want red and white flowers, and Greek purchasers mostly buy white flowers. Pastel colors are most preferable in the Western European countries while those in the Eastern European countries buy mostly vivid colored-flowers.

For information about PrimeAir, Prime Fresh Handling, and the entire family of Prime Group companies, visit www.primegroup.aero.

Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez may be reached in Quito via email at joseluis.suarez@primeair.aero, via cellphone at (593-9) 9 555-3195, or at (593-2) 281-8055, ext. 1006.

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.